Judy Kay-Wolff

THE UPS AND DOWNS OF AIR TRAVEL

Many years ago, as a joke, my best friend presented me with a 5" x 9" notepad which was captioned "Bitchalittle".   I had forgotten all about it until I accidently came upon it the other day      If that stationery isn’t an expressive way to list your grievances,  I don’t know what is.  Speaking of grievances, I had been busy  between the blackjack, buffets, blogging and bridge (seems to be an alliteration of "b’s’)  and eventually settled down to arrange for our visas  and boy, did “Bitchalittle” rise to the occasion.

In the old days, passports were all you needed (plus your airline ticket).  No wonder WBF ‘foreigners’ recently were so much against holding an event in the U.S., because there was such carrying on.  Maybe it has to do with terrorism and all the new security measures.   Nothing like the ease of navigating in your own country.   I tried by following the USBF instructions,  but Bobby’s teammate, John Solodar, suggested doing it the lazy way and using an "agent" who specializes in such tedious exercises as Visas. He suggested one who seemed quite capable.  I made the call and this is what I was instructed to send:

1.   Current Passports (not lapsed) that had two free pages side by side.   Bobby barely made it the space qualification, but I had enough for a dozen adventures.

2.   A passport picture (2X2) and not a replica or other photograph of each of us — piece of cake (except their camera wasn’t working perfectly).   Half an hour for two
pictures.

3.  A copy of our driver’s licenses (easy).

4.  A copy of our entire airline travel tickets (thank god for computerized ticket replicas).

5.  A two-page VISA APPLICATION form (must be signed in blue) (?) which asks for everything from your mother’s maiden name, to the telephone number of the Brazilian
hotel (which I didn’t have). 

6.  A money order or cashier’s check made out to the travel service (for both of us including overnight return of the documents- but excluding our overnight cost) totaled $417.     About $427.50 total (and we haven’t even begun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

But wait – here’s the rub to bitchalittle more! 

When I presented my Master Card which I have always used for stamps, packages, etc., at the P.O., it wouldn’t accept it and a musical bell would sound each time I inserted it.    We did it five or six times and I thought the people in line were going to start dancing.  Finally, the brain surgeon who waited on me, asked "That is a debit card, isn’t?    "No, I only have a credit card."  SO …………….. I drove home (eight miles round trip) hit Bobby up for $417 CASH (putting up the other $10.75 for overnight service and acknowledgement of receipt for the the "whole megilla" ).    I was there so long, we are on a first-name basis.   I  had full entitlement to bitchalot for spending one day’s preparation to complete the task and rush it off.   It will be interesting to compare notes with others.   All the women will have their own stories, unless they were smart enough to turn the chore over to their husbands!  

There are several other issues to ponder regarding the world championships, but we’ll save it for another time.


6 Comments

Robert E. HarrisJuly 25th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

We went through some of this last fall, as we were going on a cruise that stopped in 5 Brazilian ports. The cruise organizers gave us very good advice on how to deal with this. We were going through the Chicago consulate, so we had a different agent to deal with, but the cost was the same. They were very quick and got our passports back in jig time in spite of not being paid for express service at all. I hope you have as good luck.

I wish I could go to Sao Paulo again. We spent part of a day there, and we loved it. The art museum has a nice collection of impressionist and post impressionist painting.

PegJuly 25th, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Kinda makes me glad I am DRIVING to OMAHA for my next bridge tournament when I get back from DC! No visas, no airport inspectors, no lost luggage, etc. Hope that the logistical nightmare is over soon, Judy – and that you & Bobby have fun and DO WELL!

xoxoxox

Almost Cindarella

JUDY KAY-WOLFFJuly 26th, 2009 at 11:50 am

Dear Robert:

If you have travel lust (and why not?) liviing in a city with a consulate on site makes travel so much easier as far as documentation. Unfortunately, with Las Vegas’s other great attractions, they couldn’t find room for a consulate. Guess the reisdents are content just where they are.

Happy it is behind me and will take you advice if time permits, to visit that art museum.

Thanks for writing.

Judy

JUDY KAY-WOLFFJuly 26th, 2009 at 11:55 am

Dear Cinderella:

Though you know how close I am with David and Larry (and sad for them), I am still marveling and savoring your victory. That’s a once in a lifetime, but with your talent, determination and

fearless spirit, nothing would surprise me. Will be checking you out on the computer the rest of the tournament. Keep up the good work.

Love,

Prince(ss) Charming

PegJuly 26th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Princess C; thanks! But – this is one tough tourney! Yesterday we did the KO, ending up in the 2nd bracket. First match, we “pounded” a Blue Team member (DeFalco) along with Jacqui Mitchell, etc., by 2 – then had to face the Egyptian Vanderbilt winners, with IMP champs Nagy Kamel and Greg Hinze. This is the SECOND bracket??! Alas; although up by 4 at the half, our team ran out of gas.

Still – a few events left in D.C. to try to shine. We’ll see what happens!

JUDY KAY-WOLFFJuly 26th, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Hey, Peg:

You’ve already made your mark. People must be talking that this cute little Peggy Kaplan

can not only take pictures but snap some of the superstars’ heads off as well. Quite an achievement. Bet you’ve won a ton of points already. You got a whole week left. Keep

pitching and keep me posted.

Judy

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