Thursday, December 27, 2007

Good intentions gone awry

My plan yesterday had been to get out the door by 9 to be at the Chinese visa office by the 10 a.m. opening. We got out the door after 10, arrived shortly after 11 and took #160 in a packed waiting room. They were "serving" #98. We scored some seats about an hour in. At 12:30 the two application windows, the cashier window and the pick-up window shut down. Lunchtime and the whole office stopped with a room full of people waiting. We watched Chinese soap operas subtitled in Chinese. At 1 p.m. the windows opened and they were "serving" #130.

We couldn't use our Diplomatic passports. Even though we're on official travel orders, it's not official enough just to be tourists, so at the window we scratched off all the diplomatic info from our applications and filled in our tourist passport info. My tourist passport, until this summer, was expired for the past 10 or so years. A couple months back when we submitted for new Diplomatic passports I finally did my tourist one as well and yesterday morning we tucked all 6 tourist passports in my bag, just in case.

So the guy behind the window read through each application, didn't say a word to us, took our passports, gave us a receipt to come back on Monday for pick-up and we left. Hello Chinese Embassy? If you're not going to ask a single question, please institute a drop-box option.

Going to the DMV at 2 in the afternoon to sit for another couple hours didn't seem like a fun idea, so we went to Ballston Commons. Rebecca finally has a tennis ornament for this year, as the flute ornament for Katherine was easy enough to find but a decent tennis ornament nigh impossible. The bookstore called to us but B. Dalton is no Borders or even Barnes&Noble. And finally we sat down to eat some lunch around 3. Mmmmm, Panera. French onion soup in a sourdought bread bowl. Mmmmmmm. Ian had cream of broccoli in a bread bowl with a chicken salad sandwich that looked equally Mmmmmm.

A quick stop across the street at Harris Teeter (ah, the old haunts) and we turned ourselves homeward.

I see that Boxing Day doesn't equal much in the way of sales around here aside from Bath&Body Works with their discounted holiday scents and CVS completely sold out on Christmas lights. My dad says January 2 is a better day to find the great holiday deals. Guess we'll find out.

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