Last week, on “The Time The German’s Thought I Was A “T” Word”, the German polizei had just destroyed poor Tourmama’s passport and accused her of being a fraud and a terrorist because they were unable to verify that her passport was real after tearing it apart. After getting no help from the moron at the consulate, she was now in the custody of her friend B, awaiting her fate now just over 24 hours before her flight back to America, with no identification.
And now, whether you want it or not, here is Part II of the story. If you missed Part I, please check it out here . Again, the following text is untouched from the original writing on my MySpace page, except for name changing or name deletions.
May 7, 2006
So where was I…
Ahhhh, yes… bottle of vodka, numbed the pain, back to B’s.. pass out.
The police are supposed to be taking my passport to an expert to validify its authenticity. The passport expert shop opens at 8am, which means they were going to call me at 9am with the info. 9am rolls around, so does 10am. By 10:30am, I’m freaking out because, remember, I still have to get back down to Dortmund by train (a 5 hour train ride) re-pack, and get on an 11am flight to Philly the next day to start the next tour.
B decided to call the woman police officer on the cell phone number she had given her. Great news! It seems the passport expert also couldn’t prove that my passport was real and she was now on her way to a second passport expert. C’mon folks… again.. 5’3″, 110 lbs., hair to my ass and tatted and pierced like a spraypainted tackle box.. I glow in the dark because my skin is so pale… soooo obviously terrorist material. Also, monkeys are flying out of my butt as I write this…
1pm: chick cop calls up B. They still can’t prove that my passport is real, but they believe me, so they’re going to let me go. We have to go down to the police station and collect my destroyed passport, all of my ID and get my 350 EURO bond back. When we get there, I ask the cops to write me something saying that they ruined my passport and that I’m left off the hook, no arrest, no marks, blah blah. They oblige, saying that they now realize that I wouldn’t have gone through all of the trouble trying to prove my identity if I was trying to hide anything. Thanks!
So now, while at the station, I call the consulate. My buddy Uncle Sam, you may remember from part 1, who was so extremey helpful the first time around. I tell him that the police still couldn’t prove that my passport was real, but were letting me go. I inform him that I need a new passport immediately to fly the next morning. He goes on to inform me that their office will be closing at 3pm, and when they do, all of the computers shut down. ALL OF THE COMPUTERS SHUT DOWN IN THE US CONSULATE AT 3PM. Excuse me?? Can you not make an exception? I’m an American citizen with an emergency.. surely you can arrange something? “Nope.. No, we can’t.” So he tells me to hurry up and hop on a train to get there.. all well and good, but I’m in Stuttgart and need to get to Frankfurt, which is a 4 hour train ride.. a physical impossibility, at 2pm. No.. really.. I checked. He tells me that maybe I should just re-book my flight for the following day. I explain that’s not possible, because of A) my work, and B) the additional 500 EUROS it’ll cost to do so. He tells me… are ya ready? “Well, I guess you’re screwed!” He actually said that. He concludes our conversation by telling me to inform the police that he’s sending over a copy of my birth certificate that my mom faxed him last night along with a paper stating that between the years of 1996-1998 (my passport was issued in1996) in Philadelphia (where mine was issued), passports were double laminated, with first lamination under the photo and then again over the photo and considered completely valid. He said it was important that I tell them that he was sending this over now so they’re sure to get it.
So to re-cap.. Uncle Sammy boy had a copy of my birth certificate since last night, as well as a notice from the government issued in 1998 confirming the validity of my double laminated passport (this is in 2002), that would have completely got me off the hook last night, LATEST early this morning. I asked him why he didn’t fax it over sooner and he said, “I thought you were already in their custody and I was going to send the papers over with our representitive next week when he came to collect you. Have a great weekend!” Click.
So.. what to do.. I’m screwed. I figure there must be a consulate in Dusseldorf, where I’m flying from, and even if they spoke Russian to me on the phone, it would be more helpful than what I just went through. I get the number and call… ring…. ring…. a friendly sounding English gentleman picks up the phone. I’ve lost all control at this point. I quickly explain the situation, very clearly close to tears, being sure to tell him what a prick the guy in Frankfurt was and he starts cracking up on the other end. He calms me down, and tells me that they will open the office 30 minutes early for me the following morning, but the computers won’t be working until they officially open at 9am. He continued to explain, that if I come early, fill out the paperwork and pay the fee, that once the computers are switched on, it’ll only take minutes to process everything and get me out of there in time to catch my flight. Beautiful… so now we were getting somewhere, finally.
Just a note… does anyone else find it odd that the computers in the embassy and consulates seem to all be running on the same power source and there’s no way around it?
So B takes me to the station, I hop on my train and I’m on my way back to Dortmund to continue prepping for the 4 week tour ahead. Now remember, I was asked to tour manage this just days prior and have basically, ZERO information. I figure I’ll just work through the night and get on the train at 7am, to get to the consulate, get the passport, hop on the train back to the airport, check in, and be on my way… I have 7 hours to sleep on the plane.
While on the train, a fellow crew member buddy, D, calls me up and asks if he can crash at my place because he’s starting a tour from Dortmund the next morning and wants to be there early. So now I have 10 hours from the time I get home to prep for a tour, entertain a houseguest, re-pack, get new passport photos, etc. etc.
Arrive into Dortmund, D meets me there as his train arrived at the same time. I decide before I go home, I need a pint of Guinness at the local Irish Pub..it’s been a helluva past 24 hours. One turns to 2, turns to 3… get back to my place at midnight. I attempt to get some work done, but I am just thoroughly exhausted and pass out. Luckily, D’s already gone by the time I wake up at 6am. Hop in the shower.. no time to re-pack, call a cab, and I’m on my way.
I get to the consulate at 8:30am sharp. They’re expecting me so they let me in. Everything’s going great. My bag is in the locker at the main train station.. all I have to do is sort this out, hop the 10 minute train ride to the airport and I’m on my way.
Did you really think it would be that simple??????? Think again….
Still want more my eager readers??????
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Ready to go right to Part III? Click the link here.