Getting Ready

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End Jul 10, 2005

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Friday, January 14, 2005

The trip begins this January morning, five months before departure, when David and I start out to get our passports taken care of. The reason for writing about this will come clear in just a moment - it is one of the Great Truths of traveling. The first stop is Fiesta (big Mexican store) for passport photos. We get there at 9:45 and learn that the part of the store where they do photos will not open until 10:00. A few moments after 10:00 I hear a girl tell another customer that they opened at once por la maņana (eleven in the morning). I walk over to talk with the manager, who points out that now there is someone behind the counter. I walk back over to learn that the camera is broken. We go to a notario down the street and get some photos. But so far, all I have is some photos at the rip-off price of 2/$10. We'll see how the rest of the process goes.

Ahhh, the trip begins - I'm on my 5th trip to Southeast Asia and this is the way it is and the way it will be and I'm lucky it didn't take longer.

So, a couple of days later Dave and I go to one of the post offices listed as accepting passport applications. When we get there we are told they don't do that anymore, but they do give us a list of POs that do. Oops, they are on the list. We call and locate a place that will accept applications, but learn that we need checks and cash - no charge card accepted. We go home to pick up the necessary items and head off to the Dallas County service center that accepts applications. When we get there we discover that they also take photos for the same price as we paid. We could have done it all in less than an hour vs. the four+ hours we spent. Oh well, it is a lot better than wandering around Bangkok trying to get something done.

Besides the time and confusion, I am reminded of how it is dealing with immigration. You need them and they don't need you and they know it and you better know it.

If you've read this far, it looks as if you may read on through further entries. If you do & you take a notion to write, please (1) no business - not that you would be one to bring up something I'm avoiding (2) don't expect a quick answer as we'll be in a lot of places with poor internet access.
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