Wednesday, 2 February 2005

French Consulate

I went to the French Consulate this morning. I needed to renew my passport that has less than six month validity left because I am going to go to the USA for a week or so very soon, for work. I got there before opening time and there was already a queue round the bloc, although not as long as the queue for the visa section. All in all, I spent 2 hours waiting in order to do 5 minutes worth of paperwork. I can then come back tomorrow morning to pick up my brand new passport. It did feel like a real waste of time. I could have booked an appointment on the web site to avoid the queue, I must admit, except that there were no slot free for another week or so and the booking system doesn't work in Firefox, they must be using Internet Explorer specific JavaScript code.

the good thing though is that I'll now have a brand new passport so going through customs in the US should be easier than last time. Last time I went, they didn't fail to ask why I had so many Middle Eastern stamps in my passport, namely Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt. I had been there for work, as I told the officers, which seemed to satisfy them. They gave me dark looks though. Good thing I didn't get my passport stamped when I went to Cuba. I'd have had to explain that I had been to Cuba because it is a beautiful place with great people and fantastic beaches.

The new passport should also be valid 10 years rather than 5 like my old one so I might have a chance to fill it up before it expires.

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