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Got veg sausages?: British tourist’s query in Delhi stumps high commission

Britons have passionate views on whether their embassies and high commissions abroad are helpful or not, but the unnamed citizen on a visit to New Delhi was most likely not amused at the response, given the rarity of the dish, if it exists at all.

world Updated: Dec 30, 2018 16:24 IST
veg sausages,british high commission,odd requests
(Representative image)

A ‘vegetarian sausage’ may seem a contradiction in terms to many, but not so for a Briton on holiday in India: he called up the British high commission in New Delhi to ask when the counter opens so that he could buy the ‘delicacy’.

Nearly a million British nationals visit India every year for holiday and other purposes, but during 2018, the diplomatic mission in Chanakyapuri received what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office termed one of the “oddest inquiries.”

Britons have passionate views on whether their embassies and high commissions abroad are helpful or not, but the unnamed citizen on a visit to New Delhi was most likely not amused at the response, given the rarity of the dish, if it exists at all.

Since it’s the time of the year to compile lists, the Foreign Office released one comprising 10 most unusual inquiries its posts received from Britons abroad. And the request for ‘vegetarian sausages’ that the Briton had heard the mission in India purportedly sold is right up there.

A Foreign Office spokesperson took time off year-end revelries to say: “I can regretfully confirm that the Foreign Office isn’t able to offer advice on vampires or rogue stray cats. And our capacity to deploy veggie sausages remains sadly lacking”.

“But in all seriousness, getting into trouble abroad can be daunting and upsetting. If you find yourself in an emergency in another country, contact the nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate and our consular staff will do everything they can to help.”

Among the ‘oddest inquiries’ Britons asked their missions abroad were:

- A man requesting that British diplomats speak to a massage parlour in Bangkok on his behalf, as he fell asleep during a massage and felt he shouldn’t have to pay for it.

- A man asking where he should send a 5-foot piece of wood that he’d found on a beach that he thought may be from a British warship from the 1700s.

- A person in Italy asking the embassy to help arrange their wedding, recommend a florist and get them tickets to see the Pope.

- A caller in the Canary Islands requesting that diplomats persuade his hotel to give him a different room as a stray cat had ‘broken into’ his existing one and peed on his bed.

- A man inquiring if there were vampires in Poland because a woman he met online asked what blood type he was before they met for their first date.

- A man in Kuwait asking if any of the diplomatic staff wanted to adopt his puppies.

- A caller asking if diplomats could provide a list of women in Argentina who he might be able to marry.

During 2018, the spokesperson added that more than 330,000 calls were received from British people abroad who needed help, including over 3,400 people who had been hospitalised and 4,900 who had been arrested; 29,600 emergency travel documents were issued to those who lost their passports.

First Published: Dec 30, 2018 14:54 IST