Saturday, January 31, 2009

A migrating coconut

It's been a fun few days, meeting friends and downing way too much alcohol for it to be good for me.

My flight leaves in few hours, and since I've only slept some 5 hours and am notoriously incapable of sleeping on trains and planes, by the time I arrive to my destination, I should have discovered brand new levels of zombie-like existence.


Went eating and drinking out last night. Just now I took a look at some of the photos I snapped over the evening and these two made me smile.

Enjoying a nice drink after a heavy meal:

Just don't ask this lady about size, mattering and stuff:

Sorry Anu ;)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Helsinki, leaving in two days

From the point where I first heard about the chance to go to NZ for 6 months to the point where I'm actually about to go: 11 months.

When I applied for the visa:

And when I finally received it:

Oh yeah, and now, after the bureaucratic hell machine finally produced the said permit, Surprise! I had yet another delay show up and bite me in the ass, literally.

A tennis elbow, only in my tailbone.

A week of antibiotics took care of it, but while it lasted, it looked like I had grown a third buttock. Sitting down and lying on my back were a bit on the impossible side, so some 30 hours of hopping around the planet in tourist class wasn't exactly something I was willing to try. One week of sick leave, one week of glorious postponement.

But now I'm ready to go, yet again!

Spending a couple of days in Helsinki before leaving (flight departs on Saturday afternoon and arrives to Christchurch, New Zealand on Monday afternoon. 11 time zones, 28 hours in the air and 6 in random airports, longest stretch being a 22-hour Jumbo Jet ride from London to Sydney). Today I shall eat out and celebrate with some friends in a civilized fashion. Tomorrow I shall eat out and celebrate with some other friends in a bit less civilized fashion. Hopefully this time around I won't end up passing out on the floor of some random women's toilet.


Sunday, January 11, 2009


I have received the visa. There is much rejoicing.

It was epic and it went something like this:

In the beginning of November 2008 I find out that I should apply for a special "Working Holiday Visa" that I could get online without too big a hassle and be on my way in a couple of weeks. It sounds good enough. I don't have to send my passport anywhere and it is free (When I applied for my visa to go to China earlier, they wanted me to send them money in an envelope).


Uh-oh, you were in China last year? Naughty boy! Naughty, naughty boy! It gets a chest x-ray to prove it didn't get tuberculosis or it gets the hose again.

Right, not a problem. The hospital doesn't even ask any questions before radiating the shit out of me five minutes after I walk in, just suggesting that I wear a fancy lead bikini bottom to protect my privates (missed my chance for a free vasectomy there :( ).

"So, when do I come back to get the report?" I ask the radiologist after being microwaved something proper. I had brought the radiologist questionnaire form from the visa application website with me and given it to the nurses before my dose of cancer rays.
"Oh, we will fill it up and send it for you. You won't even see them yourself," the radiologist answers happily. "We do these things every day. It's covered by the fee you paid us."

So, a month passes. That's more than two weeks, I think. Sometime in December I finally get an answer from the NZ end to my inquiry on the status of my visa application. They haven't received the x-ray report. I reach for my phone.

"Hello? Hospital X, radiology department."
"Hello doctor Goodnsexy, what happened to my x-ray report?"
"I don't know, sir, let me put you through to some random person."
"I had an x-ray taken there for a visa application a month ago, but I just heard that the embassy people never received the report. Know anything about it?"
"Wait a minute, sir." I can hear her lowering the phone and talking to someone else in the room. "Yea, so I still have a week or so of holiday left, but I'd really like to make them last over Christmas, so maybe I just need a sick leave or something, haha."
"Are you still there, sir? Oh, okay. Let me put you through to someone else."
"Third time's the charm."
"Whatever you say, sir."
I listen to the you-are-now-waiting-in-line-muzak for about a minute.
"My x-ray?"
"Oh that, it's right over there, by the door. When are you going to come get it?"
"I'll come right away, if you don't mind. I'll also bring my gun, if you don't mind."
"Come sometime in the afternoon, between 15:30 and 15:45, I'm having a long lunch today."

By 16:00 I am a proud owner of a huge brown envelope that contains pictures of my more than naked body (which I think I will get framed and put on a wall later) and a sealed envelope, which probably contains the report. I go to the post office and send the smaller envelope to the embassy. I tell -- I pay -- them to use their fastest courier.

3 days later I receive a phone call from Hague.

"Hello sir!" Gosh, she sounds really happy..
"We received some stuff from you. Why'd you send it to us?"
"You are the closest NZ embassy to me, your own website told me to send it to you."
"Oh, okay. We deal with it. Thanks!"
What a nice person, I think, hanging up the phone.

3 days later I receive an email, telling me that the report was incorrectly filled and that I'd have to submit a new one.

Oh good, I was looking for an excuse to re-visit the white corridors of hospital X, lined with old people slowly decomposing on their plastic chairs, some of them probably still waiting to be released from the hospital after being born.

I'm a special person, though, and I don't queue. Instead, when I arrive there, I walk directly into the radiologist's office. There's an open window to the x-ray room there, and I can see some woman in there, topless, putting on a larger version of the lead bikini bottom that I wore for my pictures. No one seems to care that I'm seeing all that. In fact, I don't care that I'm seeing all that. It really isn't all that. I consider nipples that are losing the battle against gravity too lazy to be worthy of my attention. Yea. With breasts like that, I will be looking straight into their eyes when I'm talking to them...

I manage to get the attention of the nurses in the room, explain them stuff, have them laugh and shrug it off and point me to an old doctor sitting in the corner of the room. I give the new blank forms to the doctor and ask him to fill them up. He fills them up, seemingly quite happy to have something to do. After he is done, he gives me the forms and asks:
"Was there something else?"
"Try turning them around, would you?"
"What? The fo--OH! Would you look at that, they are two-sided, aren't they! There's also questions on the back side of these papers, not just on the front side! Must be a really fancy printer, where these came out from!"
"It's a pretty cool printer, yes."
"It saves paper, too! When you print on both sides of the paper!"
"I think it saves about 50% of the paper required for the printing job, doesn't it? That's really efficient!"
"Could you answer those questions, too, then?"
"I wonder if we have a printer like that, here, too..."
"Sure. Sure! What should I write here?"
"How about: 'This guy definitely doesn't have tuberculosis' after that part, where it asks if I have it?"
"Would they belive it?"
"They might be more suspicious, if you just leave it blank. Again."
"Yea... You might be right. They are foreigners, aren't they?"
"Not like Finnish, foreigners..."
"You are writing it in Finnish, doc."
"What? Finn--oh, right!" A pause. "Isn't that good..?"

Ten minutes later I walk out with the new report, having triple-checked it just to be sure-ish. I mail it out and go have a beer before heading back to my office. It's less than two weeks to Christmas.

I finally receive the visa on 5th of January, 2009.

Happy new year. :)