Passport to Madness: Another Trini Adventure

Passport problems!
Oh God. Today I braved public transportation yet again to go to the embassy to get my visa renewed. The mere thought of not being able to get on a plane at a moment's notice is maddening to me. But even more maddening is the whole process of getting said visa. Sitting for 2 hours, to then have a 1 minute conversation with the lil visa man is not fun. At least I got said visa and avoided the walk of shame. Lord...the walk of shame. When the lil visa man tells you you get the visa, they give you a little chit and you go pay for your self-addressed courier envelope so they can mail back your passport with your new visa. When the lil visa man thinks you may be trying to exploit the system on your non-immigrant visa and refuses you, there is no walk to the post office desk. Instead you head straight to the exit. If you know anything about Trini people is that they are farse and actually stalk each and every individual in that room to see who gets a visa and who does not get a visa. It's like sport! So when you don't get the little chit, and you're forced to make the "shameful" walk to the exit, there are about 40-50 pairs of eyes on you. Walk of shame!

While I will not complain too much about the system, especially since my passport is still in the clutches of said visa giver-outers, I will muse a bit about the resourcefulness of my Trini people.

Now, having not had to go to the embassy in 10 years and having a major case of forgetfulness, mixed with a generous dose of habit, I slipped my mobile phone into my swanky handbag and was on my way. Take note, I was taking the ferry to the capital, being still car-less, and was travelling solo. The problem with this is that you cannot enter the embassy with a mobile phone. I recognise that this rule has to be strictly enforced with Trinis cause even if you tell them switch off the mobile, chances are 9 out of 10 of them will put it back on to BBM, text, surf and ole talk at maximum volume once inside.  But for me, having the almost criminal cell phone on my person was a serious problem because

1. I had no car to run back to in which to store it until I was done
2. I had no travel companion/significant other/friend to hold said phone while waiting for me on the outside.

I contemplated hiding my phone under a road barrier on the street. It's a cheap phone, but it's also my only source of all my local contacts so God forbid if it rained or some vagrant decided they needed a cheap Nokia, I would be out of contact with everyone.

Highway robbery!
The security officer seeing my dilemma then notified me that I could take my phone to the photo studio and ask them to hold it for me, since the security cannot take any errant phones from rule breakers like myself. So off I ran to said photo studio. Imagine my horror to be told by the bright lady in the place that I had to PAY for them to babysit my phone. $15!!! I was like, wtf!! These people are making a killing in Port of Spain. So I told her thanks but no thanks, and thought to myself "yuh could haul yuh..." and solicited the help of a rotund street vendor, who looked motherly, sympathetic and honest.

"Miss, can you hang on to my phone til I come back?"
"Well, the photo place charging $15, so I will have to charge you $8. You getting a good price, babes".

Motherly, sympathetic my ass! 

*grumble grumble* 

I contemplated the road barrier again, seeing a little corner that could have served as a hiding place, cause I thought this was highway robbery. I was just about ready to disassemble this phone and swallow its components and my SIM card and retrieve them later (lol) to avoid this thuggery! I grudgingly handed over my $8...cutting my eye at her grubby hands in the process. When did people stop being helpful just because they can assist their fellow man? I need to set up a little stall near the embassy and make some easy money - phone sitting, queue booking; give discounts to seniors and babies. Work? Who needs to get a job when you can open a racketeering business near the embassy?

All this just to get a visa to go buy cute clothes and walk through Sephora.

8 comments:

  1. dang dread! I will put together a little shack right now the embassy and charge people $5 and sell them some soft drinks too oui. sheesh!

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  2. Oh gorsh, embassy drama. I am so not looking forward to that bacchanal.

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  3. Ok you had me cracking up! Damn phones run our worlds these days. And no, I'm not 80. And yes, I just said "these days" like an 80 year old.

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  4. Oh my gosh! That sounds absolutely maddening!!!

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  5. I can't believe you had to pay someone to babysit your phone! That's crazy!!!

    Also I've missed you :) Nice to come back around and check in on what's going on in your world these days.

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  6. Yuck, way to take advantage of people who make a little mistake or just plain have nowhere to put their phone! If I was one of those folks, I'd just keep a basket or something where people could stash phones and then also give out smiles. And maybe little candies. Because you know that sitting in the visa office is never going to be a good time.

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  7. It's amazing what people will charge money for. And what they can get away with when they have desperate people in their clutches!

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