Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Passports

Our passports are full. I have only about 6 places for stamps and Trinda has 10. Some countries will not let you enter if you do not have at least 4 pages (16 places for stamps). Our passports are good for another year and a half. But, it cost the same to get a new passport with 52 pages as it does to add 24 pages.

So we took the bus to Kuala Lumpour, to the US Embassy, and applied for new ones. You have to submit 2 photos, so these are the pictures we took to make the photos from.

It was a long trip. The nice folks on Chew Jetty insisted on picking us up from our boat so as not to leave the dinghy at the jetty while we were gone. Then we took the ferry to Butterworth, walked to the National bus terminal and bought tickets for KL. This started at 10pM. Bus left at 11:30PM. We were the last on the bus, so we had lousy seats.

Arrived tired in downtown KL a little after 4AM and hungry. There was a Kofe Shop or small restaurant there so we had breakfast of local coffee and roti canai (fluffy tortilla to dip in curry). By 6 a taxi driver talked us into a scenic ride to the embassy. It only took 20 minutes so we rested on the benches in front till 9AM.

By 10 we had finished the application and were told our passports would be ready July 3 and only one of us need come back to get them. We met an American living in KL who also was applyig for his new passport. He said "Come, I'll take you to the bus station." I naturally assumed he had a car. Notice how I put that? He said is was a short walk up the street, by McDonald's. So off we walked. When we finnaly got to McDonald's and turned into the subway station I asked him about the car. NO car! He intends to escort us to the bus via the subway. He had been living in KL more than 6 years, and I knew how to get around better than he!

We had planned to take the taxi back, cause it was only about 3 bucks. We wound up walking about 2 miles. Trinda's knee was starting to swell and she was grouchy by the time we found the right bus. Much better seats this time. The bus ids the size of a Greyhound, but only has 3 seats across, 1 on one side of the isle, 2 the other. But no toilet. About 5 hours later the bus stops at the wrong end of Penang island and announces the "end of the line"! I had argued a couple minutes with the ticket sales guy about where I wanted to go. He insisted this was the right bus. We had to get a taxi back to Chew Jetty, then a ride back out to the boat about 6PM.

A long 20 hours! RM35 for bus 330 kilometer to KL, RM15 taxi in KL, RM38 bus back, RM40 taxi 5 kilometer wrong bus terminal to Chew Jetty. Irritating, but at RM3=$1 not really much.

I got an e-mail in only 4 days saying our passports are in and ready to be picked up any time. I plan to wait until we get to Port Klang in a few days and take the bus from there to get the passports.

The actual passport photos were cropped from these.