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Monday Apr 15 #

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weight:136lbs

I was entertained a few times by our Indian guide Ansar's tales of his problems crossing the border with Bhutan, including once when they weren't going to let him in because, according to them, he was already there. Apparently his previous exit had not been logged onto their computer system. The problem was solved with the transfer of a sufficient amount of currency.

We were on the verge of being entangled in a similar but opposite Catch-22 when we going through passport control Saturday night at the Delhi airport prior to departure. Basically, we might have a problem leaving India because, according to their computers, we weren't there. The main passport control at the Delhi airport didn't seem like the place where some currency would fix the problem. And our fixers of all problems were nowhere to be seen -- Ansar on a train back to his wife and son a few hours to the south and Khan-do, our Bhutanese guide who seemed able to resolve any situation, presumably back home in Trongsa after a long drive through the mountains.

The passport guy disappeared for a while to consult his superior. He returned, apparently none the wiser about how we happened to be standing in front of him when we weren't in India. This time I told the story a little more carefully and slowly. Into Delhi (and India) on the 26th of March, out on the 28th by plane to Paro, Bhutan, back in just this morning crossing from Gelephu, Bhutan, drive to Guwahati, fly to Delhi, and here we are. And then, because I'd been paying attention, I added that the little border outpost on the Indian side at Gelephu wasn't tied into the national computer system, so we weren't logged in there yet. But I'd checked at the time we crossed, yup, we had a little stamp and a date and a signature, hidden among the various visas and other stamps. He examined that for a bit, then put the passport down and reached for the gizmo to give us the stamp we needed.

The rest of the way was relatively easy, 20 hours on the plane with a stop in Vienna for fuel (flying around Pakistan made that necessary) and a drive home from JFK. Though my head is still in some distant time zone.

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