Saturday, April 7, 2007

Gas $3.19; Room $102; Beer $5.25; Visa...Priceless

The French Consulate in San Francisco, ironically enough, is on Bush Street. I'm pretty sure there is no linkage between the current Bush family and the naming of this street, but even having to say it must make some stomachs sour. We wondered if there was a movement to rename portions or all of the street to something more neutral until such a time that normalcy returns.

The French Consulate employees in person are kinder, gentler than the "letter of the law" persona conveyed over the phone. Or, maybe it was just that we had dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's just so. My greatest fear, the letter from the insurance company swearing that they would cover us in case of medical emergency---ONLY AS LONG AS WE CONTINUED TO MAKE OUR PAYMENTS---passed muster. No questions asked. In fact, our only stumbling block was getting through the entrance door. The guard was not an overly friendly sort and insisted that I was wearing too much metal, so an additional trip past the detector was necessary. (I thought it funny that the guard, an old Chinese gentleman, perhaps a retired SF policeman, was speaking to the French staff in English, which seemed to be the second language for both of them.)

As we were sitting in the straightback chairs waiting to be called to go up to the glass wall with the speaking hole at the bottom, I did overhear a few people who were having some paperwork snafus. One woman was blaming her lack of proper paperwork on her computer printer and was hoping this new "the dog ate my homework" excuse would be accepted---wrong! She left perhaps not to return. A man was attempting to fineagle a few additional visas since he was planning several additional satellite trips. I'm not sure how that worked out.

When all is said and done, we drove nearly 2000 miles across some of the most desolate countryside, spent a mere 18 hours in one of the most beautiful US cities, and paid $262 for the right to remain in France an additional few months. And, if we want to stay more than 90 days again next year..........we will be allowed to repeat the process again! But, ooo la la, they are good looking.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy & Doug

We're back! Arrived Saturday, skied Sunday, Monday and today, and if the
weather holds, tomorrow too. Have you heard the good news of Bill & Sally?
They've lost the current house but have got another, even better one, with
twice the land. It's in Aigues Vives (just by the end of the road to Leran
and still walking distance to the bar!)

We had a shopping trip to Pamier today to buy some curtains for the 2 back
bedrooms. Eileen managed to negotiate the whole thing in French with me
chipping in with a few incomprehensibles (they humoured me!) I was proud of
her and more than a little impressed! How come it's me that spends all the
time with the French course and it's Eileen that gets it all right - not a
fair world!

Our skiing has been boosted because Bill & Sally have their grandson,
Michael, staying with them. He hadn't skied before but was mad keen to
learn, so he's been with us every day and picked it up so easily. He's a
natural, and made me wish I had younger knees!

Still enjoying reading your blog.

Bye for now

Alan & Eileen

Ps All that was last Tuesday and we couldn’t get the e-mail to work! Thought I’d try posting this on the Blog instead. It’s now Easter Sunday and the weather is beautiful. Just finished lunch on the terrace and now off to the Mirepoix Jazz Festival.

Nancy said...

Alan & Eileen:
This is great news (I think) about Billy and Sally), tho I'm not certain about walking home from the bar. Maybe we'll be there in time to help them move in.

Wish we could have tipped a glass with you on the terrace this Easter Sunday in Leran. We'll be there soon enough we keep telling ourselves. Sounds like you're staying busy enough to stay out of too much trouble otherwise, eh?

More later..........nancy