Passport pages and catching up on news

Trip Start Feb 13, 2011
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Trip End Mar 14, 2011


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Where I stayed
Gold Crest Hotel

Flag of Mauritius  , Plaines Wilhems,
Friday, March 4, 2011

I slept very well last night and slept in until 7:00. After breakfast I caught up on some office work and then drove down into Port Louis, the capital to see if I could get some pages sewn in my passport. I parked at the Caudan waterfront parking lot by the main port of Mauritius. This area which used to be military in nature has been nicely redone as a hotel complex and luxury shopping area with museums and a casino.

I walked across the street to the building housing the US embassy and took the elevator up. Leaving the elevator I was met by security guards who asked my business, phoned in, and then had me put my shoulder bag though a metal detector and turn off my cell phone.

A Mauritian officer of the embassy ask me through thick glass how she could help and I explained my need. She asked to see my passport and thumbed through it. "You already have had pages sewn in twice" she said, “that's the limit.” I asked if she would mind checking to make sure, and she agreed helpfully. I went back out to the waiting area where there were a few chairs. A few minutes later she returned and said they could put more pages in, but the officer in charge of such things was in a meeting. Would I mind waiting 10 minutes? I sat back down. About a quarter of an hour later an American officer talked to me, ask for the passport and the form I had filled out, and for 82 dollars. It used to be free to have more pages sewn in, but not anymore!

I handed over a hundred dollar bill. The Mauritius woman came back few minutes later and asked if I had exact change. I said I did not. She told me they couldn’t make change and that I should go to the lobby where there was a forex bureau and have them break it for me.

Down I went. Unfortunately the forex bureau, although willing to help, didn’t have change either. So I exchanged the dollars to Mauritian Rupees and went back up to pay in the local currency which was acceptable. I waited a while longer and finally received my not-quite four-year-old passport with new pages sewn in for the last time. It now had 94 visa pages in it, including 22 new ones. It should be good for one more year. It's pretty thick now. Even before the new pages were put in, a little while back I saw one immigration official shake my passport when I handed it to him. When I asked him if I could help, he said in all seriousness "you have two passports here, I"m trying to separate them...."

Before leaving Port Louis, I had a quick walk through the colorful market area just across the street fromt the port. There are shops and stalls selling food, clothing, electronics, hardware, household products, just about everything one could want to purchase. Heading back to the car, I strolled briefly around the waterfront., This is a very beautiful area and a pleasant place to spend any amount of time.

From Port Louis, I drove down to Flic en Flac, the site we’ve used for the FOT for the last few years. It’s not far from Quatre Bornes, and has a nice inexpensive Italian restaurant across the road from the beach.

After lunch I came back to my room and continued working on the weekly member letter I write in French. Jocelyn Prodigue called and asked if he and his wife could come by to chat, and I was happy to agree. They came by around 6:30 in the evening and we got caught up on our news of family and friends and the local situation in Mauritius. Jocelyn said there would be many questions from members tomorrow. They have been deluged with communication, particularly unflattering to me. I told them I understood and that I would appreciate the chance to answer what had been said.

Our church service will be at 10:30 tomorrow morning, we’ll have lunch and then the Q&A session in the afternoon. It will be a pleasure to see the members here again.  The Prodigues left at 19:30. I walked them down to the door and then walked down the street to the Happy Raja again for dinner. I’m not sure about the Raja, but I was happy. I eat lots of Indian food when I’m in Mauritius; it’s of generally excellent quality and less expensive than it would be at home.

I talked to my wife on Skype after dinner. It’s wonderful to be able to talk to her for free. We used to have to count the number of minutes we could talk because telephone calls are so expensive at this distance, but now through the Internet, we can talk as long as we like without cost. It was a very nice way to end the day.

Tomorrow will be a full day.
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Comments

Margaret Villaescusa on

Wishing you a happy Sabbath. I look forward to reading your blog each day.
Will continue to keep you in my prayers.

Tommie Briley on

Happy to read that you had such a relatively happy and pleasant day, and praying that the Q & A session with the brethren there will go well. Praying, too, for your continued health and safety, and that your presence will be an encouragement to all of our brothers and sisters.

Judy Dane on

Wishing you a peaceful and Godly sabbath. Praying that God's protection be on you and all the members of His family.

jpvernaud
jpvernaud on

Achetez une petite valise à roulettes pour mettre votre passeport, il sera moins lourd à porter. Nous vous souhaitons à tous un très bon Sabbat et espérons que les discussions que vous aurez seront fructueuses.
Salutations fraternelles à tous.
Famille Vernaud

maryhendren
maryhendren on

Hi Joel,
What lovely pictures of Mauritius--so peaceful, and the beach scene seems almost millennial. What a blessing to keep the Sabbath in a lovely environment. We trust that God will be with you and the brethren there as you work through the questions and concerns. Your fat passport is an historical document, the ground work for an interesting book?

Regards,
Mary

Rosie Seltzer on

So happy to see that you had such a pleasant place to stay. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Praying for your safety every day and that you will be a blessing to all the brethren you will be fellowshipping with.

larrysalyer
larrysalyer on

Hi Joel,

Well, I almost caught up with you today, but decided to leave you while you are happy with Indian food from the Happy Raja. As always, Judy and I appreciate the complete word picture you provide, complemented by the photos. We pray that you have good success for the rest of the trip.

Larry

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