Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The W Part Deux: Las Condes

Dear Passport: how I miss you!

You had me running around like a maniac yesterday, and I think I walked, at least 5 hours in the hot sun--at least.

I woke up around 9:30 a.m. and called the U.S. embassy, who said that they were only open until 11:30 a.m. and that I needed to bring 2 passport sized photos with me to get a new one.

Crap! I raced out of my friend´s house without even brushing my teeth. Time was ticking. It takes about an hour to get anywhere from Nunoa, the neighborhood where my friend lives in Santiago... jumping from bus to metro to metro. I HAD to get this passport application in today. I would eventually need to get out of this country.

10:00 a.m. Ran to a local photo shop.

10:20 a.m. Passport photos: Check!

10:20-10:55 a.m. Waited for a bus FOREVER,

11:10 a.m. Finally got to the metro and made it to my stop

I had 15 minutes to find the U.S. Embassy in Las Condes. But of course the U.S. isn´t going to make it easy for anyone to do anything, right?

11:10-11:15 a.m. desperately ask street vendors and passersby if they know where the Embassy is. NO DICE.

11:15-11:25 a.m. Walk 10 minutes in the wrong direction.

11:25-11:40 a.m. Practically run to the embassy and almost cry to the security guards because I´m 10 minutes late. They take pity on me and let me go in. SWEET!

11:40-12:40 p.m. Wait for my number to be called

12:40 p.m. They lady at the desk tells me my photos are too small and I'll have to come back tomorrow with new, larger photos, which are only used by the U.S. and Canada.

This cannot really be happening right? I almost cry again and the lady takes pity on me. She tells me to go get new photos now and come back at 3 p.m.

1:00 p.m. I walk to the photo place the embassy recommends and IT´S CLOSED. You´ve got to be kidding me.

1:05-2:00 p.m. Walk and walk and walk and walk and walk looking for a place that takes passport photos.

2:00 p.m. FINALLY find one. Get pics taken. Am starving and eat street food.

3:00 p.m. Get back to embassy and get papers and photos in.


On the way home, the metro brakes suddenly and the lights go out. The speaker says in Spanish: "For security reasons, we have had to shut down the metro"

"Security reasons??" Is there a bomb threat? Mini-panic ensues. It´s all over. Would the powers that be really allow this day to have been my final day? Are they sitting up there laughing? My heart is racing.

2 minutes go by. What kind of sick joke.... and then the lights go back on. I am fine.

I am fine. And I am going to keep traveling because things can only get better from here....

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