Indian visas and Hamley’s

It was a mixed day. Most of our stay in London is intended to be used for getting stuff done like getting visas for India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Vietnam. Also more important stuff like the Apple store and Hamleys.

Well, after much effort and lots of money spent on passport pictures, we found out today that we’re probably not going to get our visas for India in London. The Indian Embassy has outsourced all of the visa processing to a contracted company. Not to be trite, but the outsourced service is extremely inept, cumbersome, and lengthy. Much more difficult than the old process of showing up and waiting all day. At least back then, you could leave the office with a visa in hand. Now, you have to wait a few days and in our case 10-15 days. Instead of spending another 10-15 days in London waiting for our visas to process we’re going to try to do it in Rome where it has not yet been outsourced. We tried to do this in the US, which has also been outsourced, but it was too close to our departure and we did not want to risk anything getting delayed and not getting our passports back.

So if you need an Indian visa, do it well ahead of time and in your own country if possible. Things seem to get much more complicated when you are not in your home country.

We’ll try Kenya tomorrow to see if that works out or not.

The Apple store was also a mixed experience. The store was phenomenal. It had an elevator in the middle that was made completely of glass, including the ceiling of the elevator car.

I’m trying to figure out how to not have a laptop. The first step was to figure out how to get pictures from our camera to the iPad mini. This should be easy with the new SD card reader I just bought. However, we’ll quickly run out of storage on the mini so how do we get the pictures from there to the external USB hard drive? Well, according to the folks at the Apple store, it is not possible. I googled it and it appears that it can be done but not easily unless you have one of the new wireless external drives. Doesn’t that seem dumb that you can’t do this? You basically still need a laptop or computer with an iPad or iPad mini. Has anyone replaced their computer or laptop with an iPad? If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Hamley’s was amazing. 5 floors of heaven. Cool toys I’ve never seen anywhere else. They also guarantee everything for a year, even internationally. So if the helicopter drone I , I mean WE, just bought breaks, we just send it back and they will fix it or send a new one and refund the postage. Avinash and I only wanted to buy 5 items, but Meeta wanted us to make some very difficult choices of what we really needed. Instead, we came up with the solution that we would each buy 2 of them and that would not be bad if we spread the purchase out between the 3 of us. Brilliant!

We’ve completely figured out the tube (subway) and are coming and going and transferring without thinking about it. The tube is actually a VERY nice way to get around. Every city should have one. It makes getting around so easy. No parking to worry about, very efficient, and fast.


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