I paid a visit to the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok this morning. I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I’d never been to the Canadian Embassy before. I was pretty sure that it wasn’t going to be a grand building full of wonderful Canadiana. However, part of me hoped for a little bit more than was there on the 15th floor of that building across from Lumphini Park, smack dab in the middle of Bangkok.
The lady who scanned my passport downstairs was clearly not Canadian. Neither was the man at the desk who made me hand in my electronic devices. I spotted a young man who I will assume was Canadian, but he quickly vanished. No mounties. No “Oh Canada” playing softly (or boldly – I would’ve taken either) over the loud speakers. No talk of loonies, two-nies, Tim Hortons or anything truly Canadian. Okay, that’s not entirely true. There was a massive Canadian flag with yellow tassles hanging from the bottom of the flag. I’ve never seen tassles like that on a flag before. Maybe that’s a new addition to Canada since I’ve left. It has been over a year now you know. Oh, and there was a tourist, who’d lost her passport, who I overheard talking back to somebody in Canada in French. Other Canadian sights I appreciated, from my seat while I was waiting, were a French poster, Canadian tax booklets and various pamphlets about travelling abroad (you know, the kind that you’d find at a Passport office in Canada).
The lady at the counter who helped me get the letter that declares my residency in Thailand was also not Canadian. She was helpful though and admired my Thai handwriting.
The strangest part of the whole experience was when I handed in the letter with my information. The kind lady at counter number 7 led me through a formal swearing. I had to solemnly and sincerely swear that everything on that letter was true. What made it funny to me was that we were on opposite sides of the counter window and in order for us to hear each other (because something was broken) we had to dip our heads down and speak into that little trough that is used to slide documents and whatever through. Picture it if you will – heads bobbing up and down like that little glass bird that will continue to ‘drink’ once it’s set in motion. “I, Beth ___ do solemnly and sincerely swear…”