It turns out that the University was closed this week. Went on Tuesday, eager to get back to the math world after a month of lazing around in Paris, but realised this week is still part of the winter break. Walked up to the math office, saw it locked and couldn't see a soul in sight except for one security guard, who looked at me suspiciously. He told me to come back next week.
For the last month, I'd blissfully switched off from thinking about visa and passport formalities. My position (which somehow doesn't seem like it'll ever start) gets over on March 1st and my French visa expires a few days after that. After March 1st, my plan is to head off to South America for 3-4 months. The cricket world cup is in the Caribbean from the middle of March to April, and I want to go watch it till India gets knocked out - I'm not too optimistic about our chances.
I want to fly to Venezuela around March 1st, stay with some friends and travel around for 2 weeks and then take a boat to Trinidad. That's where the Indian team is based for the first round and it's less than an hour by boat from Venezuela. Once I'm there , I'll have to figure out a way to travel between different Caribbean islands following the Indian team till sometime in April. After that I want to head down to the Venezueal rainforests and into the Brazillian jungle and somehow reach Rio by sometime in the second half of May. From there, my plans depend on a lot of things - money, job situation and visas. I'm toying with the idea of applying for a short term position at IMPA in Rio or I might go all the way down to Argentina, travel around for a month and then head back to Europe. With an Indian passport, there are lots of visas which need to be worked out. To make things harder, my passport only has one page left. So I also need to renew my passport.
Since I was sitting at home for the last few days, I started calling up various consulates to figure out what to do. There's a single Caricom visa for all the Caribbean countries for the world cup, but is issued only in London (or a few other places outside Europe). I have to head to London next week to meet some friends and explore possibilities of defecting to the dark side. So, I've got an appointment scheduled for that time. They said it'll take about 2 weeks to issue the visa but agreed to return my passport after the appointment and I'll have to head back there to get it stamped on my passport. The Venezuelan consulate didn't answer the phone, so I'll have to go there in person sometime next week to see what obstacles they'll put up.
Called the Indian consulate and they want some kind of residency permit to renew my passport or get a new booklet. Didn't realise my own consulate would make things harder for me. Till I get a new booklet or a new passport, I can't apply for any new visas. Have to figure out a way to get either a residency permit here (which doesn't seem too likely) or sweet talk them into renewing my passport - or lie.
Sigh....the problems of trying to travel around the world with an Indian passport.