Monday started out just like every other morning, except this morning I stared down the espresso machine to make sure that no errors appeared. Once I was satisfied that it had no issues I made an Americano, had some yogurt and got ready for our big day. Auntie was going with me to the Embassy, which was nice as I frequently get lost. She printed out a map of the trains and buses we needed to get there. Soon my uncle waved us out the door and took us to catch the bus that took us to the train station.
The bus ride was quick and soon Auntie and I were reading the local paper on the train, London bound. The scenery from Sutton to London was amazing, and a good relaxing start to the day. We soon bounded out of the train station, onto the bus that would take us closer to the embassy. Uncle B had given up his Oyster card for the day so I could get around. After loosing my passport in Spain, I was very matriculates about verifying it's whereabouts often. Once we got onto the Double Decker bus my auntie asked the driver what stop was the embassy. She smiled and told her, then we started looking for the walking directions to the Embassy. Without a doubt we had left the direction on the table were we had been reading them. We smiled at each other knowing what we did, then enjoyed the tour of London. Ten minutes into our tour the bus driver let us know when we had reached our stop, we asked for general directions to the embassy and off we went. As we traveled in the general direction of the embassy we made user of the public workers. We confirmed our direction bu asking a few local construction workers and a maintenance man. The Golden Eagle, American's symbol was a bright site to see.
The women at the embassy looked at our papers and said "Here is a list of what it will cost you to get a new passport. The credit card machines are out of service so you must get cash. You will also need a picture for the passport. If you do not have these things, go down the street to the Pharmacy, they will take your picture there. There is also a ATM machine in the next shop over. Once you are done, come back to me and I will let them know you are here."
"Thank you" aunt Carmen said as she turned and headed down the general direction of the pharmacy.
When we arrived at the pharmacy there were already people in line waiting for their picture to be taken. My aunt waved a man over and I was placed in line to get my photo taken. I was really happy that I had done my makeup that day as my last passport picture was not that great. The gentleman took a few pictures, decided the once he liked then proceeded to print it out. Once this was completed we paid the man for his great service and went to retrieve the money needed to complete the our daily task. Retrieving the cash from the ATM was simple but painful. The trip had taken more of a toll on my financially then I had expected, and I still had to get another flight to Spain. I sucked it up, put the cash in wallet, and headed back up the street to the embassy.
Once we arrived the women let us know it would take about an ninety minutes and that only I could go into the embassy. My aunt decided (after I begged her not to leave) to wait at a local cafe until I was finished. She kissed me on my cheek and I entered the embassy gates. The first thing you notice about the embassy is the guards, they are all handsome/beautiful and heavily armed. I wanted to take a picture, but admit I was to scared. Once though the embassy doors, I walked to the information booth for directions. They gave me a number, then went over the information that the lady outside had already said. Once he was finished with the instructions he pointed me to a door. The door could have doubled as a bank safe vault door and you had to wait for the gentleman to buzz you in. The heavy door opened with ease as I entered the passport agency and found a place to sit until my number was called.
Thirty minutes into my people watching I heard. "P67 at booth # 10 please" I was so excited I jumped up and couldn't wait to hand over my money.
"Hi, how can I help you today?" she said.
"My passport was stolen and I need to get it replaced".
"Have you reported that your passport had been stolen"?
"When do you need to travel again"?
"Tomorrow, I have twins at home and I need to get there at some point"
"I understand, we will get it for you today." I handed her my money and she said "Please have a seat and we will call you as soon the information gets confirmed".
"Thank You!" I said and returned to my seat to wait for my number to be called again.
"Tauna Iseli to Booth 12", came twenty minutes later. This booth was not like the others, it had walls for privacy and a chair.
As I sat down, the embassy employee looked at me deeply. "Can you tell me why you were arrested in Barcelona?"
"Excuse me?" I said in a huff "I was detained in Barcelona but I wasn't arrested." I leaned back in the chair cocky and determined, "When I tell my friends this story what am I going to tell them, was I arrested or detained"?
"That is what we are trying to find out. In their world detained and arrested are equal when it comes to deportation. So why were you detained"?
In my head I wanted to say "What is your security clearance; but alas I said "My passport was stolen on the flight from Gatwick to Barcelona; for this reason I was detained" I said with a smile.
O.K, sorry about that. I do need to let you know that because of this you will have a mark on your passport that tells countries you have been deported from Spain. You will be checked a lot more as you travel for the next five years. I would suggest being more careful as you travel from now on." He handed me back my number and said "Once we get it completed we will call you again", With that I returned to my seat and waited.
After forty five minutes of waiting, the gentleman called my name and presented me with my new temporary passport. I could feel a large weight come off my shoulders as I left the embassy to find auntie. It didn't take more then a second to see her beautiful floral print jacked in the mitts of the bland grey surroundings. When she smiled at me and I knew I was almost out of the woods. Then she stood up, took my hand and we headed to find our bus home, or that's what I thought. It didn't take us long before I found myself in another clothes shop eyeing a beautiful rack. The shoe rack had a shoe for every outfit we had picked out on Saturday. We picked out three pairs of shoes before she put me in the checkout line / queue. I was still looking at shoes when she pulled me out of the store and prodded me onto the bus.
The trip home went smoothly and we arrived home minutes before Uncle B would return from work. That night I purchased another ticket to Barcelona, repacked my suitcases to fit extra shoes, and enjoyed a peaceful list night with the family. Before I went to bed uncle B. went over the plans for the next morning. He told me that the express bus goes to airport faster then he could. The bus stop in town at 6:15 A.M., getting me to the airport by 7:00 A.M. This would give me enough time for my 9:45 A.M. flight to Barcelona.
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