Friday, July 3, 2009

Extra passport pages and meeting Chris from Art of Noncomformity

When we're not playing elaborate six degrees of separation games in Santiago, where the number six is replaced with the number two, expats are giving each other travel ideas and tips for the weary and passport-pageless. The sewing in of extra passport pages is a thrill, to be sure, though they won't sew anything else, those discriminatrices.

Here's the story. In Chile, go to the consulate, which is at the embassy. You wait, you go in to the little hut, you surrender your electronics (including any bikelights and electric toothbrushes you may have with you, not because you're crazy but because you're going to the dentist in a few minutes). Get one chip with your cubby-hole number on it (to get back your electronics) and one chip for the order in which you will be seen at the consulate desk. Head over to the consulate, being sure to say hello to the guards, because one of them is an old co-worker of mine, and they like that. Also, roses along the walk. Smell them!

You bring in your completed DS-4085 which you cleverly filled out online and printed (one sided, black ink on white paper) here, or you fill out a form that they'll have there for you at the consulate, talk to the nice lady (or man) behind the counter when they call your number, and surrender your passport. You can come back in two days (usually) or have them messenge it to you for a small fee using Chile Express.

You then have story upon story to tell, at least until someone like Chris shows up in your town, and takes out his thunker of a passport with extra pages sewn in until the cover retracts like a book that fell under your bed and stayed there for a month (what? just me?!). And then all your lookitme stories pale, but actually they don't, because he's an all-around nice guy and is so well positioned to play the "one-upmanship" game that he doesn't need to, not in the least.

And hey, in case you were wondering about other travel forget-me-nots, check out this new article I wrote for Bootsnall. Because what's a little plugging among friends. Thumbs up it if you like (now without registering!)


Emily said...

My favorite part about this post is that you said that they can "messenge" my passport back to me :) I always get so confused because I think it should be a word, and then I can't figure out how to say what I mean when I realize that I have in fact made it up. The person is a messenger, therefore he or she messenges, right? Sadly, the English language disagrees with us.

Fun to see you last night!

Jeff Jung said...

Hey Eileen. Will they still do it even if the passport is not completely full? I have some big travel coming up and am a little worried that I need to get some more pages (passport is already the supersized size) and they won´t do it until it´s completely stamped. Any thoughts?

Eileen said...

Hey Emily, thanks again for setting up the tweetup, and I totally think messenge should be a verb. I mean, messenger it to you? that's the person! Messenge it is. I hereby nominate it as a word. Who's the authority on such things? Surely not me!

Hey Jeff,

It says on the gov't website that you should come in to get more pages when you have 2-4 empty pages left in your "passport book" (who knew, I thought it was called a passport), but I can't imagine they'd reject you for having too much empty space before getting extra pages. Also, Chris has a "duplicate passport" which is so that he can travel and seek visas (which requires him to send his passport to distant lands while he is in some other corner of the world). I don't know if this is an option that is open to just anyone, but it might be worth a look if they won't sew extra pages in. hth!

Fly Girl said...

Ohh, the red tape that travel inspires! It's almost enough to make you stay in one place! Your BootsnAll article was great,right on point about surprise visa and departure tax requirements. Wish you had written it before I went to Brazil, it would have saved me lots of stress!

Sara said...

I need to do the passport page thing. Maybe now I can that I'm sort of unemployed. Long story. I should explain later. I love your comment about the 2 degrees of separation between expats. It's so true. It's a rather large community but it seems like everyone really does know everyone.

Jeff Jung said...

FYI. Just got back today from the embassy in Bogota. I have to say the process was way easier than I expected. i just handed in my passport at 9Amish with the requisite form and it was ready on the same day at 3PM. I even had more than the 2-4 pages left unstamped. But, because I have some heavy travel coming up, including through South Africa which is apparently strict about have 2 clean pages when you enter, I decided to get it done now.

Hope everyone has a similar experience. All the best!