Passport Renewal

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 @ %I:%M %p | Life

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My passport will be expiring in a number of weeks so time to trek to New York City and the Dutch Consulate to renew it. At first I thought to fly in early Monday morning, visit the consulate and then fly back in the evening. But, on second thought, spending the weekend in Manhattan and then do the passport stuff on Monday seemed much more fun. Plus, a little road trip with the new Dr Frits was also due.

This created a delicious photo taking opportunity and so the tripod came along to take night shots on Saturday and the lens baby to play with street scenes and architecture. Grand Central station was on the list to visit. First, it’s a marvelous piece of architecture and Apple just opened a store on Friday.

On Sunday I basically walked down from 48th Street where I was staying to Battery Park with the obligatory stops for coffee along the way to let the feet rest. In Grand Central station there was a Christmas market, lots of stands with products from local designers and artists. In a park along the way south, Washington Park perhaps, another little market to walk around to find a few presents. At one such stand while I was paying for my purchase, the lady looked at my name on my credit card exclaiming in Dutch: “You’re Dutch!”. And so we chatted for a while in the funny language.

Monday morning it was time for the official business. First, I needed passport photos. These days the requirements are very specific (no smiling, mouth must be closed, ears must be showing, look straight at the camera, etc etc). Near Rockefeller Center, where the consulate is, is a photo store that specializes in these photos. You tell them which country and they know the exact requirements. Then up to the 11th floor at 1 Rockefeller Plaza. There are two desks and each was helping someone. So I was basically next in line. Now, consulates are a bit like post offices the world over. Everything goes at a certain, not particularly hurried, pace. Just like post offices they don’t have competition. You can’t go to someone else to get your passport. Anyways, eventually it is my turn, actually it all goes swimmingly and just a few minutes later it is all done: Fedex should be delivering the new passport in a week or so.

 Lunch, and then picking up the luggage from the hotel, retrieving the car from the parking garage across the street. Time to drive back to Webster, NY. Somewhere in New Jersey before the Delaware Water Gap I’m in the left lane overtaking some traffic going about 75 mph. A large white SUV is catching up behind me. I move to the inner lane after passing and slow down a bit. The SUV comes up next to me and stays next to me. I glance over and see that’s the New Jersey State Police. He’s looking over. I slow down a bit further, he does too. After we get to 60 mph he moves on. Ahead is an open pickup truck. He does the same thing: driving up next to him. They both slow down and so I slow down too. The speed goes down to 40 mph; there is some gesture exchange between the trooper and the pickup driver. Just ahead is the exit for a rest area. The pickup truck indicates right and moves onto the exit, the trooper follows.

A few miles before Binghamton I stop to refuel Dr Frits and me. For Dr Frits a good helping of Exxon, for me a Quarter Pounder with a vanilla milkshake! Thusly refreshed and with the iPhone connected to the car stereo on the Singer/Songwriter genius list we swing back to Webster.

The photographic proceedings can be admired in the gallery.

 

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