Tag Archives: Travel

Renewing my passport and a bit of rant

6 Jan

I haven’t finished blogging about our Japan trip yet and we’re already booked for our next holiday. My husband procrastinates like hell for doing chores but when he sees a promo he grabs it like the last pack of pasta in the supermarket. That’s how he rolls.

In the middle of looking at cities we can visit, he turns to me and says “When does your passport expire?” And I calmly reply that it’s not expiring until October.

Then he tells me to count the months from the last day of our planned trip.
We leave April 8 and my passport expires October 1. I lack 7 days for my current passport to be valid. Gros panic.

I immediately check out the Philippine Embassy’s website and download the application form. According to them these are what I’ll need:

    – Personal appearance for the EPassport’s photo and biometrics
    – Original + photocopy of my passport and pages 1, 2, 3, the page where the Schengen visa is, and the last page
    – Original + photocopy of the residence card
    – Original + photocopy of marriage certificate from the NSO and certified by the DFA (red ribbon)

Good that they don’t need you to bring passport sized photos anymore. That’s one good thing with the EPassport.

Another good thing about renewing it here is that there are no lines. I arrived at the embassy at 9:30 am and I only had to wait for like 5 mins. Record breaking dealing time with the DFA.

The bad thing though is the price. I can’t believe how expensive it is to get a passport here. It was 86 freaking €s! That’s like 4400 pesosesoses.

Also, the embassy person didn’t even check my documents. My gosh, I stressed out for nothing for that authenticated marriage certificate. I thought that those documents only had a limited validity time, like 6 months at the most. So I asked my mom to order from the NSO, get it to the DFA and send it to me. Then one of my mom’s friends told me that I can use the old one. I emailed the embassy and they confirmed that I do need an authenticated marriage certificate but that once I have one like that, the issuance date is irrelevant. So in short, what I already have will be valid forever.

And when I got there to apply, they didn’t even take a look at the marriage certificate nor take the photocopies. They didn’t even take the copies of the residence card. Hello! Then why were they asking for them in the first place? Added stress for nothing. He could have at least pretended to look.

Then when I was paying for the passport, the first thing the cashier tells me is that I should have the exact amount because I was the first payer of the day and that she didn’t have change. Okay ka lang? Parang nasa Pilipinas ka lang no? Baka gusto mong suklian ako ng candy?

Good thing I was in a good mood that morning and I let it go. I told her that I’ll get my change when I come back to claim my passport.

So that was my experience in renewing my passport. Easy but exasperating at the same time. But it had to be done or else I will miss our first major holiday of the year and that will suck more than having to deal with the embassy people.

What about you? Is it time for you to renew?

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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5 weeks out

15 Apr

So many stories, so many things happened. Sometimes it felt like we have been on holiday for a year and sometimes for only a week.

I was very happy during the entire trip despite the schedule changes and maybe 2 days of depression after the cancellation of our Japan trip. The big one that got away. Overall it was an awesome 5 weeks off. Just what the doctor ordered.

But I am glad to be back in Paris too. So glad that I even got excited doing the dishes – first time in 5 weeks. I look forward to doing the laundry myself tonight as well.

It’s funny that living in the Philippines is soooo different from living here but I like them both.

Or I just need to take a break from each lifestyle every once in a while to really appreciate them both.

Pictures and more stories to come soon. Watch for it.

How to get a Japan visa

9 Feb

I don’t know how it is in the Philippines but I was surprised at how easy it was for me to get a Japan visa in France. I was a bit stressed when preparing the documents for the application because I didn’t read the requirements all the way through. On the website, I saw the following sentence in red and I just stopped there.

les fichiers électroniques/duplicata/ fax/ imprimés depuis des automates ne sont pas acceptés sauf si certifiés par un cachet original de l’établissement émetteur.

You see, all our bills are electronic so we don’t actually receive any original copies by mail. Whenever we need those, we just print them out. But the Japan embassy does not accept printed out copies. So I nagged and nagged and nagged the husband to call EDF to get them to send us a copy of our electricity bill. To those not in France, the EDF bill is considered as proof of residence and is needed in all transactions with the government and even in buying a phone line.

Plus I have to renew my titre de sejour soon after my planned trip to the embassy for the visa and I need my passport for that one.

The copy arrived a month later. It was just then that I read the list of actual requirements.

The EDF document was not in the list of requirements. Toink! The rest of the requirements were basic visa application documents (bank statements, passports, itinerary, etc).

Here’s the list of requirements in english. You can find more information at the Japan Embassy website (in french).

  • a valid passport (non-biometric ones are accepted, like mine)
  • titre de sejour
  • visa application form
  • 1 ID photo
  • roundtrip plane reservations
  • last 3 bank statements proving you have enough funds to go on the trip
  • proof of revenue (last 3 payslips)
  • hotel reservations for the duration of the stay
  • itinerary

Not a lot of papers really. Just the usual. So imagine the face of the husband when I told him I didn’t need the EDF document after all.

You don’t need an appointment to submit the application form. You just go to the embassy between 9:30am – 12 noon. I arrived at around 9:45 and I was the 2nd one there. No lines, no hassle. It helps that the French don’t need visas to go to Japan.

So the lady gets my papers, tells me to wait for a bit while she sends the documents to her superiors.

5 minutes later, she comes back and calls me. I can claim my passport with my visa after 2 days. The cost: Free.

Cool! Apparently there’s an agreement between the Philippines and Japan that tourist visas for less than 45 days are free.

 

2 days later, I go back for the visa. I was the only one there. No lines, no waiting. I was in and out in 2 minutes. I love how efficient the Japanese are compared to the French. To renew my titre de sejour, I have to go to the prefecture to wait for at least 2 hours to schedule an appointment for renewal in 3 months. How lovely.

Anyway long story short….I’m all set and ready to go!

 

Japan! Japan!

4 Feb

So for my birthday, along with a super surprise party the husband surprised me with…a 10-day trip to Japan!!

He was so cute when he gave me my present. And I was so dumbstruck that it took me 5 minutes before I realized what the heck was happening. I didn’t expect anything from him aside from the gourmet dinner on the night of my birthday and the surprise party. For the party, he went all over Paris with his supermarket caddy just to get me balut, sinigang, and cassava cake. Effort kung effort ito.

But then in front of everyone, he gave me a small bag. And in it was a Lonely Planet Japan book. Okay, so something should have beeped in my brain then but due to excessive alcohol intake, nothing happened. With it was a japanese printout with “Free Kansai trip” on it and xc-san and greg-san characters.

xc: Uhhhhmmm…thanks, I guess. What’s a Kansai?

A map of the Kansai (or Kinki) region.

Image via Wikipedia

Slow much? After the normal 5 minute xc reaction time I finally got it!!

I’m really off to Japan!!!

And now most of the preps are done. We’ve booked the hotels and I have my visa. Awesome!

Now if only I can sit still for 4 more weeks…

ps – I’ll let you know about the visa requirements, etc on a future post.

Back to regular programming

7 Apr

This is it, back to the real world. The whirlwind vacation is over and it’s now time to step back to earth.

Back to work, back to unmade beds, do it yourself breakfasts, piles of laundry, stacks of dirty dishes and everything else that comes with normal life.

I shall try to sort pictures tonight and just chill out. Although I rant about vacation ending, it’s actually nice to be back at one’s own home and not have to see another church or statue or baroque facade. Oh wait, I live in Paris, I do see that everyday. But I know you know what I mean.

A vacation from the vacation.

Although I am in gelato withdrawal. Maybe the cheese can make up for it. I think we still have some brie and camembert at home.

Whirlwind

24 Mar

I am back to the hussle and bustle of Parisian life. The 4-day weekend in Marrakech was exactly what I needed after the harsh winter we had this year.

After the 2nd day it felt like we have been there a week. There were so much to see and more to do. It was weird that the weekend passed slowly and fast all at the same time. We had enough time to walk around the city, visit old palaces, go to a real hammam, go around the souk yet we didn’t have enough time to explore all the small streets of the old medina, eat that superbe tagine G has been raving about, not enough time to actually do all the souks. Well, the souks were selling the same stuff anyway, but still, it was the ambiance that counted.

We partied all night at the riad we had all to ourselves. Consumed so much alcohol that even the pool tasted like rum and champagne at the end of the night.

The interior court of the riad

In one word, it was fabulous!

Our room: the apricot room

And now I am back in nippy Paris. Boo! But only for 3 days. Yay!

On Friday, we fly to Sicily for 10 days of Italian sun…and chaos.

I am dead tired and my head is still spinning from the heat and alcohol but it was well worth it.

I need a vacation from that vacation.

More photos next time…as soon as I get the time to sort out all of them.

Game on!

15 Feb

In your face extended winter!