One of the tasks I did yesterday, was to go to the American Embassy and have pages added to my passport. This is basically a whole day job.
The embassy is open from 8:00 am until noon to receive passports. Then you have to return in the afternoon at 4:30 PM to pick them up. You have to be past the guard entry before 4:30 PM, since that is closing time.
The morning run went without a hitch. I caught a cab and the taxi driver knew the location of the embassy in Clayton. It was about a 15 minute ride. There was a huge line of people waiting to enter. They were non-Americans needing to get visas to visit the US. I was able to bypass this line, since I was American and only needing passport services.
I had printed out the request for pages from the Internet, which sped up the process. My time in the embassy, must have been about 10-15 minutes.
At this time of day, there were plenty of cabs, so I didn’t have to wait long to return to the city.
The afternoon run, to the embassy, was a different story. The taxi driver said he knew the location of the US Embassy. He then proceeded to take me through some parts of the city I would just as soon, not visit. I told him this didn’t look like the direction to Clayton. He went by a building that he thought was the embassy, but if it was, it must have been in the 50’s.
I gave him the address in Clayton and we continued. We eventually got to Albrook and he had to ask for directions. That got him a little farther, before he had to ask for directions again. On the 4th set of directions, we found the embassy. Total time for this excursion was 45 minutes.
Both of my morning taxis charged $5.50 for the one way trip. He asked for $12, I told him both other taxis fare and he said, “Ok, $8.00”. I was at the front of the embassy, so I got out, reached in my pocket, and paid him $5.50.
He took it and saw it was $5.50 and started to argue. I told him, I was not going to pay extra, because he was lost and didn’t know the way. He looked at the officials at the embassy and drove off.
I was at the embassy about 3:45 PM. Exactly at 4:30 PM, the window opened and I got my passport. At this time of day, there are fewer taxis in that area.I had to wait about 15 minutes to catch a taxi back to the city. This ride was more pleasant than the one that brought me and it was another $5.50. While getting pages added to the passport is free, cabs cost me $22.