14 April, 2011 was a day to remember. I got the an e-mail saying the following:
I had registered on Smirnoff Facebook page with no high hopes… The competition was open to several countries:
It was an unbelievable feeling! In the meantime, I was preparing for my trip to India. I provided them with the needed information promptly, the very next day. All I needed now, was a few papers from their behalf in order to apply for the visa. (Invitation letter, hotel reservation & ticket reservation) whereas I got my share of the papers filled and ready with the application. All I had to do was to wait.
BUT wait! If you visit the website of the Canadian Embassy in Lebanon you will see this about the Average Processing Times:
And on another website, it is said to need 21 days…
So 12 days minimum were required should all the documents be ready. The last one of these documents was delivered on 20 April, 2011. I paid the visa fees to the bank on 21 April, 2011 and the appointment was set for 26 April, 2011 at 8 AM since the Embassy was closed for Good Friday & Easter Monday. I was praying for a miracle.
When I explained the situation there, the lady did not go forward with my papers: “We need a MINIMUM of 12 working days for processing, the company should have been aware of that and there is nothing we can do.”
Heartbroken, I woke back to my car and sent an email from my phone to inform the Smirnoff team:
I was supposed to fly to Canada on 3 May, 2011. Unfortunately, I will not BE THERE. The miracle did not happen. Hoping to get the visa in 3 days was asking for the impossible.
I do not mean any harm to anyone. I love Smirnoff (My favorite is Smirnoff Black, by the way). I have no doubt that the staff pulled arms and legs and did whatever they could. I acknowledge the right of the Embassy to take all the time needed to process an application. I did not lose any money or anything but I was seriously disappointed and shocked.
I missed the trip of a lifetime because I was provided with the necessary documents too late.
On my way back, everyone looked at me confused. They were asking: “How could an international worldwide highly respected organization not be aware of the processing times required for a person coming from the countries it had itself chosen and specified to participate in such an event?” Honestly, I do not have an answer. May this never happen to anyone.
The sad thing is that if I had all the documents ready and applied for the visa on the first week of April (and the sooner, the safer), I would have been packing right now…
Update 1: Smirnoff contacted me and decided to make it up for me be inviting me to be part of the Want To Be There event by attending the Sensations party at The O2 in London, England in August! I can’t wait to really BE THERE this time! BUT it did not work out! 🙁
Update 2: Smirnoff made one last attempt for me to enjoy my prize and invited me to New York Nightlife Exchange Project. It worked!!! I’m flying to the USA!!!