Because my 10-year US passport expired less than 2 weeks before my planned trip I had to apply for an emergency passport at the US Embassy. I made sure I arrived on time for my appointment at the Embassy at 8 am Friday morning, by leaving home in Netanya at 6.30 am. Since it was Fri and hardly any traffic at that time, I arrived at 7.15 and found parking at a public underground lot nearby. Imagine my horror when I arrived at the Embassy at 7.30 am to find a queue of about 30 people.
But, not to worry, they were all Israelis applying for visas. I was sent to a separate line for US citizens, where I was the only person at first. You are not allowed to take electronic devices into the Emb. So I had to put my belt back on and collect all my things and go outside and leave my cell phone at a nearby store, for a small fee. I was embarrassed when I returned and they found my tablet inside my case, I forgot that I took it to read something. Had to take that back too. But no problem, except I had nothing to read inside.
After waiting for a while they took my papers and checked them, then said come back at 2 pm. They never mentioned that in the previous e-mails. Rather than drive home and back again, I opted to take Miriam’s advice and took a taxi to the Tel Aviv Museum. But, it was boring, I’d seen it all before. I took a stroll around and then went to the café and ate chocolate cakes and read a book on my tablet for about 2 hrs. Then I took a taxi back and was inside the Embassy again by 1.30 pm. But, I had to wait until 2 pm to get the passport and then I was home by 3 pm. A long day, but worth the wait. The passport is just like a normal one, but a little thinner and valid only for 6 months.
Here is the message I sent to my friends and family: “dust off the plastic flowers, put out the Hanukkah lights, bake a cake, I’m coming.” I’ll be away for about 2 weeks, so there will be a hiatus in my blogs. Some of you will miss my daily missives, but some of you will be pleased to have a break, like me. Hasta la vista, l’hitraot, bye-bye for now.