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Too many stamps, Cheap Uber, WDW Marathon, National Championship

January 15, 2015

For this years international trip I am headed to Patagonia via Carnival in a few weeks.  As always I wait until time is short to work out the details which is always a bad idea but I will never learn.  The complexity of each trip is always a fun challenge to sort out so perhaps leaving inadequate time to sort out the details is is part of the fun of planning.  As I was gathering my visa documents for entry to Brazil I spent a few late night hours getting all the details together, only at the very last minute to read the requirements of my passport itself. I had read the check list offered at the Consulate of Brazil website at least 10 times and each time glossed over the sentence following good condition US Passport, where it says “with two blank visa/endorsement pages”.  Being a regular traveler and having immigration people just stamp wherever has left me without this requirement despite my passport being only halfway through its useful life.  In my opinion only having 20 pages for stamps/visas/endorsements does not seem adequate for a 10 year passport, if mine does not make it what about people who travel often?

Learning you have a passport problem when you are less than a month from departure is a bit terrifying knowing everything in the government is deeply bureaucratic and any urgency is ridiculously expensive. After some research and a few phone calls it was comforting to hear that there is a passport office in Dallas, granted you cannot call them directly or schedule an appointment while speaking to a person so they pass you off to the automated system.  So far things are looking positive, appointment the next day and not too excessive in the way of fees to have pages added to my passport, but guess I will see how it all works out in the morning.  To get normal processing for my Brazil visa via an expedited service, everything will have to come together tomorrow, this contingency is causing my blood pressure to rise since I have already committed to much of the trip via flights and lodging.  The last time I had to get some visa’a in short order, the people at AA Passports here in Dallas did a pretty good job so I am hoping for the same again this time and am not really considering driving to Houston on a work day as an alternative but guess thats better than losing the reservations. So in short I am really hoping for extra pages for more stamps, sort of like the mortgage lenders, pray for low rates which seems to be occurring now, so perhaps I can be as lucky as mortgage originators.

To shift to US travel thoughts, I have been a Uber user for about 3 years now and have never had a problem and after this weekend in Orlando am a bigger believer than ever.  In Orlando this weekend we stayed off the resort and so since I decided to run the marathon bandit had to figure out a way to get to the start line on time, which as it turns out at the Walt Disney Marathon is 5:30 am.  To assure I would arrive on time I scheduled a taxi pickup for the 7 mile trip.  This was just in case there was no Uber available when ready to leave the hotel at 3:30 in the morning.  Taxi: on time, $44 dollars one way.  After the marathon I figured I would either cab it or find an Uber, tried the Uber, no waiting and the trip cost was less than $13.00.  I am not sure how the union cab drivers in Florida can possibly get away with charging such an inflated rate.  Even with 26,000 runners the available transportation was quick and painless so if the cab drivers get themselves sorted out in the next year I would hope the consumer shows their might and just stops using cabs all together unless they come way down in price to align with Uber.

Some pics from Cape Canaveral, Walt Disney Marathon and the first NCAA Football National Championship


IMG_7728 IMG_7712 IMG_7710 IMG_7687 IMG_7683 IMG_7682 IMG_7677 IMG_7676 IMG_7811 IMG_7799 IMG_7875 IMG_7867 IMG_7772 IMG_7849 IMG_7843 IMG_7771 IMG_7770 IMG_7812 IMG_7762 IMG_7757 IMG_7895IMG_7736



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