princess genevieve

mercredi, mai 09, 2007

I went to the Embassy today!

I just needed extra pages added to my passport, and it seemed easier to get it done here than at home, where I'd have to mail it in and wait for it to come back. So I walked to the Embassy at lunch.

When I got close, I noticed the street was blocked off in front of the two buildings that are the US Embassy. There were two police standing there, and a van blocking traffic from entering.

When I got to the police, one of them smiled at me and said, "Hello!"

Wow! English is spoken here.

I said, "I need to get extra pages added to my passport." He asked to see it, and apparently determined that I did in fact warrant the extra pages.

Then the other police officer escorted me as far as the first building. Then I picked up a new escort who took me to the second building and left me in a line.

Sadly, the line was outside and it was raining, and it took about 30 minutes to make it in to the building.

Once I got in, I had to rub my hands on a piece of paper that was then put into some kind of reader. I'm assuming it was to see if I had bomb residue on my hands or something. My phone, camera, and 3 key cards were taken from me and put into a box. (I got them back when I left). I had to go through a metal detector. My wallet was taken out of my bookbag and run through the xray machine separately. (and the officer said, "um. You have a lot of change." It's true, I've got too much change at this point... need to spend it!)

Once I made it into the room, I handed over my passport, filled out a form, and sat down to watch Finding Nemo. I was just getting in to it when my name was called. Super fast!

Now I've got 24 new pages, and only 2 years left on my passport. I think I'll make it!

Libellés :


At 5/09/2007 10:05 PM, Blogger Paisley said...

That reminds me that I should get mine renewed - it still has a couple of years to run but it got wet on a bush-walk in NZ a few years ago and the photo page got wrinkly. I travelled overseas a couple of times with it wrinkly - no problem. Then at immigration control at the airports they changed over to these new-fandangled electronic passport readers which won't read the wrinkly pages. They grudgingly let me out of the country (and surprisingly didn't say anything about it when I came back home) but recommended that I get a new one - "just in case".

That's a lot of security checking to go through. Does it make you feel any safer?

At 5/10/2007 10:31 AM, Blogger Molly said...

That IS a lot of security, is it typical?

I vote you spend your change in the hotel vending machine, does it have one? I inexplicably love to vend!

At 5/11/2007 5:05 AM, Blogger Genevieve said...

Paisley, that happened to my friend Robin too, the wrinkly photo. (although she described it as bubbly over the photo... same idea, I think) She got a new one.

Did it make me feel safer? Not especially. It made me feel a bit um, embarrassed isn't exactly the right word, but odd. Like why does the USA get to block off a street in Brussels? And do all this top secret stuff, when next door the Spanish Embassy does not have all this security?

Molly, I don't actually know if it's typical... the only other time I have been to an Embassy was in 1995 in Paris, and it was not like that. But that was a long time ago. It's not typical of federal buildings in Washington.

I don't know if we have a vending machine! but there for sure are some in metro stations... good idea!


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