No doubt many of you have heard about the new passport policy and how crazily busy passport offices are in the new year."Since January 23, 2007, a new American law requires everyone entering the United States BY AIR to have a valid passport.
Canadians can continue to use such documents as their birth certificates and drivers’ licence to cross the Canada-U.S. border BY LAND AND SEA for at least another year."
So basically you could still drive freely across the border without a Passport (well, somewhat freely anyway), providing that you are a Canadian citizen. Direct flights now require a passport. I've been telling Mr. Bear to get one just in case he decided to come for a visit when I'm gone to IN, but he's been so busy and I have been, too. We have been dragging it on until yesterday.
"Today we will make a day of lining-up and getting your passport done!" I exclaimed, dragging him out of bed at 6:00 in the morning. We went to the office at Richmond, avoiding Downtown, knowing how popular that is with people.
Unfortunately we hadn't predict the worst. By the time we got there, the line-up was already making loops around the building, to the alleyway and out to the street. Late February was still cold for Vancouver- simply a T-shirt and Jacket didn't seem enough. We stood in line trembling in the brittle cold wind, thinking, "Darn it! When will the line ever move??"
Then you look around and see the few smart ones, those who have probably lined up for a Football game or two. Not only were they nicely wrapped in warm blankets, some of them even brought beach chairs and food!
So we waited, and waited and waited. They were only letting less than 50 people into the office at a time due to some fire-escape policy. What's worse, the passport office isn't close to any convenient location at all. The closest mall is about 2/3 blocks away and there is no washroom in the office. Luckily we had two people. Mr. Bear and I took turns running to the nearest washroom.
When I really couldn't take the cold anymore, Mr. Bear opened up his jacket and let me bury my head inside, wrapped up like a bun. >_< When that didn't work, he searched through his bag and brought out poker cards and taught me how to do card tricks. >_< Later we played this game called "24" where you draw out 4 random cards and try to figure out if the numbers could make 24 by either +, -, x, or division. I got so mad because he always beat me. /_\ But that kept us busy for a few hours. Yes. A FEW hours!
Finally, we see the door! The crowd shouted and cheered. I couldn't describe what we were at this point, perhaps hungry barbarians eyeing a roasted pig in the oven. Finally we were being let in, pulled a ticket and waited for another 40 minutes in the office before the bulletin called our number.
So there it is, it's done! In another 40 days we, or Mr. Bear, should have his passport.
*sigh. The total wait time was 6 hours. 6 hours!!
My god. For that we deserve some good food and lots of computer games. -__-