One small step…

Our first trip abroad almost didn’t happen and yes, that would have been my fault. This fault stemmed from 2 things. A faith in our local postal service Australia Post, and a complete lack of understanding when it comes to the terms, diplomatic bureaucracy.

This first trip, an Asian Odyssey as I’d dubbed it, was to attend the wedding of Erin & Lachlan and, as I saw it, an opportunity to wet my travel feet in Thailand and its beautiful neighbour, Laos.

For the virgin Australian tourist, Thailand presents few difficulties, present a passport on arrival and receive a 30 day stay, no problem. The Lao Peoples Democratic Republic however (yes, they’re Communists) requires a Visa, which I figured we’d be best served getting in advance. Sarah then asked the question, do we use a travel agent and their hefty courier fee to send our passports & Visa applications, or… do we express post them ourselves and save us some cash.

We had over a week, express post will get there the next day, no problem, right? Well, a few days before our flight we thought we’d check the tracking number, and see how far off this Visa was and how clever I’d been to save us $80.00. Odd, nothing showing up for our return envelope. No problem, we’ll check our first tracking number… Still not received in Canberra!! WTF!

As panic set in, I re-assessed where we were at. No Laos Visa. No Passports. No idea where they were! Flight in 3 days…

We thrashed out a few plans, one even included putting Sarah’s mum on a plane to collect them from Canberra in person. To help matters, the Lao PDR Canberra embassy (at this time) had the helpful operational hours of 11am-1pm. We called, left messages, then called again. Nobody would answer. Finally on the Thursday, Sarah got through to a very amused Lao representative. “Yes, we receive your passport. They sent back to you Monday (2 days ago)” Then a small chuckle on the other end of the line “Perhaps next time you not leave it so late!”

As you may have guessed, we got the Passports, we got the Visas and our travels began!Lao-Visa-Form-3

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