U S Passport Renewal

Last week we made our obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca. If you enjoy expatriate living, it is coming to a life near you.  Sing along now: Down the Andes and through the clouds, to the Big Brother’s house we went. Unlike “Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house” in the children’s song, we were greeted by the hired guns of the entirely friendly Ecuadoran guards.

My heart felt a twang of grief as I gazed up at the Stars and Stripes, no longer conveying patriotic  sentiment, but concern for the America of my youth. Secure behind a small moat and floral-topped concrete wall, stood the house of Authority.

Before entering, we emptied our packs, placing everything on a table for inspection. Not as stiff as TSA security and with surprising respect, the rented guards gently glanced at us and allowed entry. Five feet inside, we repeated the procedure. The order, if not the time, of our internet appointment was respected. Our internet-provided forms expedited the process.  So $110 dollars later, we left with perforated old passports and the promise of new ones in a couple of weeks.

Oh, by the way, the staff has been negotiating with the courier service since August with no end in sight. Since they do not trust Ecuadoran mail, we must return to Guayaquil with our old passports to obtain a fresh decade of travel permission. Or send a friend!

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