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Traveling Is Fun…Not…. September 27, 2012

Posted by Aman.... in Random Stuff.
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Traveling is one big part of the work that I do and I do a LOT of travel, both domestic and international. People ask me that isn’t it not exhausting and the answer to that is, it surely is but its a lot of fun too-at least most of the times. Some times, the fun part changes to pain and tension and this time, I experienced the tension side of the travel.

I am at the moment at Phnom Penh and this is my second visit to the place. Last trip proved to started of on a bumpy note with my luggage hung at the Bangkok airport itself. If you are a regular, you might have read about it already. If not, you can read about it all from here. The good thing was, the tour, overall proved to be a good one and also the place and people are very nice. Yes, food can be(is) a problem if you are a vegetarian but that’s also not a big issue as there are plenty of Indian food joints which you can visit. Anyways, all things said and done, I got back from the tour and finally, had a big sigh of relief when it was all over. I didn’t think that I was going back to the same place soon enough. But it seemed that I was and this time also, the trip wasn’t going to be get started on a smooth note at all. Actually, this time, it became  worse.

The session was supposed to start on Monday as like always which means that I should had reached the place on Sunday. So I started of from my home on Saturday night and reached the airport right on time. I was not expecting any thing to happen this time but back in my head, somewhere this feeling was there that something may still happen. Can’t say it was a intuition but was more of the fear from the last experience. Anyways, I was hoping that all would go fine and with that hope, I went ahead for the check-in. The staff on the counter was friendly. He asked the usual questions i.e. where I am heading to and so on and gave me my boarding passes. Just when I was about to leave, he asked me to show the visa one more time. No problem, I said to him and handed over my passport. Now, before the next part, I must mention that I got my passport with the visa stamped just the same very night on the way when I left from my home to Delhi. So I also had not seen the visa before. I gave it a glance in the morning while waiting for the boarding to start and it looked fine to me. Now, what this guy spotted(wrongly and I shall tell later on why) that the expiry date is wrong. The date mentioned was of the month  Feb apparently to him while it should had been Dec. Now, this confusion did arise because the way “1” was written, yes written as Cambodia embassy doesn’t print the visa stickers but manually writes the details over the visa sticker. I told him that this is not possible at all but he wasn’t ready to accept. He asked me return back the boarding passes and went to his supervisor. She didn’t say anything else but also the same that the visa is wrong and mentioned that I can’t travel. What! You are kidding me right! I told the lady that how its possible that a visa issued in Sep would be marked for expiry in Feb. We are not talking about just any document but one that’s issued by a country’s embassy for heaven’s sake! And I did tell them that I have already travelled to the same very place before too just about 2 months before. But they all just had deaf ears and mentioned that the airline can’t let me fly today in any case. Wow! So what I am supposed to do, I asked them and the answer came that send this visa to the embassy tomorrow and get it corrected. I was asked to change my ticket’s departure date (which was paid) and come back again once the visa is “corrected” . So after spending a complete night traveling very uncomfortably , with no sleep , now  I was supposed to wait for the correction to happen before I could fly again.

The visa was sent to the embassy the next day but for the safer side, the travel agent and me decided to not to make the booking for Monday again for travel as we were not sure that when the embassy would hand over the passport back. So we made it for Tuesday. The sales team was informed already about the incident and they took the approval from the customer to start the session from Wednesday. So from that side, it was all okay. Now, I must had to wait for the passport to come back to me, which did come but not with just a minor correction.

The issue that the airline had with the number “1” was that it was appearing like a “0” because it wasn’t a straight line drawn as it is normally done for 1 but it was  having a little gap inside. Now, what the embassy did, they removed a little of the gap and now, the “1” was looking more like “1”. Yep, that’s about it! And when I looked back at the last visa stamp, that also was the same but I didn’t notice it at that time on the airport when this whole discussion was happening between me and the ground staff. Anyways, I had the corrected visa with me so on Tuesday, I went back to the airport after spending two days in Delhi. As expected, this time it was all fine. I shared the experience with the new ground staff who was at the counter on that day and you know what she said, oh my god, that was so horrible on the part of the staff. They should had let you go to the immigration which could check it out that is there anything wrong with the visa or not. Yeah, they could but only when the airline did let me to go to them which it didn’t. Anyways, finally, all the formalities were done and I was ready to travel one more time to Cambodia.

I was scheduled for two sessions here , just like the last time but unlike the last time, both were completely new sessions for me. I hadn’t delivered them before ever. There was a long(and boring) 3 day weekend I had here in which I did prepare really hard and yesterday, finished one session with a very good rating. The new session started of from today and is for two days only which means tomorrow would be the last day for it. Let’s see how it goes. Hope it goes well and after that, my travel also goes well and I am really not interested to experience any more adventures at least in this tour. Hope god would be kind over me. Its time to order dinner and then getting back to study.

A Tough Week Came To A Happy End…. September 7, 2012

Posted by Aman.... in Random Stuff.
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At times, its just so tough to finish a job, even when you have done the same job many many times before. There could be many reasons for the job to be tough but the end result still comes out to be that you end up feeling like dead after getting done with the day. The same happened with me in this week when I entered in the session of mine. The delegates didn’t want to listen to just the course contents but also wanted something “extra”-a demand which is very hard to meet!

I always wonder when delegates enter into the session and mention that the course for which they have come, is not a good course and they want to know more than what the book is talking about. From an end-user point of view, I can imagine and to a certain extent, I can even be agreed to the sentiment but from a practical point of view and from my side, its not possible always to meet such demand-especially when you didn’t know about it before(which also didn’t have helped much). There can be a lot that can be asked but when it comes to provide it, there can be numerous issues which could arise. Being on the other side of the podium is a completely different thing and you can’t feel it as long as you haven’t faced it!

Anyways, I am done with the session now (just finished it) and I believe, with whatever little I know, I was able to convince the delegates and also could answer their questions as well-at least most of them! Besides the demand of “extra”, there were many discussions that did happen in the entire week.Few were really good and few, well let’s call them good only for the sake of calling. The guys did leave with a smile on their face and quite a few did mention that it was a very good experience and session. So I believe, I was able to do an okay job-if not too good! And I believe that’s the saying too that all is well when it ends well!

I shall be at leaving for home in the morning. Its going to be a long journey back to home and also I have to start very early. It would be long, it would be tiring but as I am going to home, its completely worth it :=).