About three weeks ago, on a weekend I went to atlanta to go TRY to get my french visa. I looked on the french consulate website to get all the details of the information that i needed to bring with me (paperwork, etc). WELL,…for the type of visa that I need, it states CLEARLY on the website that you need an APPOINTMENT. SO about three months ago I called to make an appointment. I was told by someone on the phone that I did not NEED an appointment! Then I went back to the website, because it CLEARLY STATES that you need an appointment…
t STILL said two weeks later on the website that you have to make an appointment for a long stay visa…so I call again and cannot get anyone on the phone..I call once more about a week later (now this is three months ago) and still cant get anyone on the phone,…
so I send an email…WAIT-check it…
let me go back a second
now on the website it states, if you have any further questions (based off what is on the website), please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will GLADLY answer your questions………..wait-check it……….but if WE FEEL your question has been answered on the website, WE WILL NOT RESPOND to your email!!!!??????so dont send us anything that you think was even remotely INFERRED on the website because we will ignore your email
so I send them an email and the first (very first) sentence in the email is that “I feel I have a different and special circumstance that is not addressed on the website….” and then I list my TWENTY questions…
I sent an email again about three weeks later…
Then, I thought, maybe they still are reading some of the first questions that could APPEAR as though they were questions already answered (even though if you read the complete question, they are not answered in specific detail onthe website)
So I sent ONE LAST-the THIRD email to them and changed the order of my questions in hopes that they would see the new questionsand see that they are not on the website AT ALL and at least answer those and possibly read to the rest of them…
NO #@!$%!!#@ ANSWER
So Mavis (my friend) and i plan our trip to Atlanta EVEN THOUGH I HAVE A VERY BAD FEELING ABOUT IT and I think it might be for nothing, since the french consulate website STILL SAYS YOU NEED A god-blessed APPOINTMENT for a long stay visa, but we plan and make reservations at teh Residence Inn anyway…
We leave Thursday night..I figure hey, at least if they will just take 10-15 minutes and talk to me, so that I can make sure EVERYTHING I have is ok and the paperwork I DO have is filled out correctly and I can see what I am missing…that would be a constructive trip….no it would not get me my visa but it would at least make the 5 hour trip worth SOMETHING…
So no appointment or not…someone should at LEAST be willing to take 5 minutes to look at my forms….right?
Well we get there-check in and sleep..the very next morning I get up and go to the street where they say the consulate is located and I drive for 15 minutes up and down the street until it finally occurs to me to stop and drive through this 5 level parking deck and just PARK! I figured, hey, I am at LEAST within two buildings of the damn place, so if I just park and WALK, I should be able to ask someone and find it…right?
So I drive into this big dark glass building’s parking deck were it says “paid public parking” and as I am driving in, I see VALET PARKING…
Pause for a moment here and review a few things…..
1. valet parking in the freaking PARKING DECK? only in ATL.
2. Where I come from, public often times means FREE…No? No.
Anyway, i digress…..
I drive in,…park,…get out,…take the elevator to the main floor (no the main floor was NOT the first floor as logic would tell you!) and go to the info desk of this huge building…let me just say that up until this point, I see NO WALL HANGINGS, NO SIGNAGE NO NOTHING that tells me that I am in the XYZ building, the building to heaven or the building to hell…NOTHING….nothing that would let me know the French Consulate is actually in the building. It was like trying to find the 13th floor of a 12 story building.
So I get off the elevator and on to the main floor and go to the info desk…I ask if this building houses the french consulate and the lovely (and only friendly person in the buidling I would find out later) woman smiles and says “yes. 13th floor.”
Second pause of this rant: The fact that the French Consulate was on the 13th floor should have told me ALL I needed to know (go home!) but I dug in and kept going…ok..back to our story…
So I get up to the 13th floor and I expect to see this lovely french flag, with lots of welcoming smiling secretarial faces at desks and people going along with their days busily helping people gain entrance into their lovely foreign country
I saw a tiny little room off to the side of this big ass hallway with a bench and 6 people already in a combintion of stands, leans and uncomfortable sitting positions on the one bench in the increasingly warming room.
At the end of this small room there was a window with slightly tinted blue/green glass and a woman with a serious lisp talking through a two way intercom system to a Latino male about his passport.
Let me back up a second. On my way towards the tiny tiny room where I was corraled into, there was this gargantuous older man in a security guard’s uniform sitting at this tiny tiny elementary school sized desk with a lot of papers on it….he was so tall that his legs extended another desk’s length past the actualy desk in which he was sitting. He looks up at me over his glasses and mumbles….”Mo’nin, take a number and go inside the door ma’am. If there is no room to sit, take a number and go downstairs and I will call you up when they call your number, but you must be inside the door.”
PLEASE pay attention to what he said because his instructions will self destruct in 15 seconds, (and become quite useful later on in the story).
So I go in, take a number and find a place on the bench…..its early Friday morning…about 9am and everyone seems like me, kinda sleepy, kinda excited, kinda tired of waiting already (the office is only open from 8:45am-noon) and kinda ready for someone to call your 60’s something ticket number even though the red sign where the numbers are displayed looks stopped at numer 38.
So we wait, and wait and wait and wait…..as I sat there waiting I found out the stories of some of the other characters in the room:
Trackgirl: I was sitting beside some 20-something black female that was a professional track and field athlete and she was trying to get a transit visa
WorldCupGuy: The Latino guy that I was talking about a few minutes ago? Well he is from MExico and he had two tickets to see the world cup that weekend and got all the way to Atlanta and some genius at the travel agency where he organized his trip forgot to put in his application for a transit visa to go along with his airline tickets so that as he made his way to Germany, his trip through other countries and a layover would be covered by his transit visa. So he was stuck here in the US (atlanta no less) and he had less than 10 hours to get to GErmany or his $1K plus tickets would be worthless….
WorldTravelLady: woman from Jamacia …”going to Prague for pleasure…” (she said this with the biggest grin I have seen in years)
…..and a plethora of students looking for a student visa-all young, chipper and unaware that they were in for a long long day of walking back and forth from the post office to the French consulate IF their pictures were not legal passport size, (the pictures that have to accompany your visa application).
so after waiting in the line for over TWO AND A HALF HOURS and enduring increasing warmth inthe room, and the random person that was downstairs being called upstairs OUT OF ORDER…
(the reason what there were the random numbers was because by the time they call someone’s number – the overflow of the room that had gone downstairsand had to come back up-are like 10 numbers ahead so when the light says 60 and the person with number 45 sashays up-you get HEATED…….
[11:17] eldebedesign: so my number is finally called-no well not really but I was the only person IN THE ROOM sitting there waiting in line to JUST have answers to questions…so I convinced the two people two numbers in front of me to let me just walk up to the counter and try to get someone to talk to me outside the office (and maybe in an office in the ACTUAL consulate). Yes. I finally saw the doors to the actual consulate office….it is inviting, it is grande and YES…the secretairal workers were there-working! 🙂
[11:17] eldebedesign: but that is NOT where I ended up so forget it
[11:19] eldebedesign: I get to the window and basically-VERY LONG story going downhill fast and bad…
[11:20] eldebedesign: I get to the window just to find out that to get a long stay visa,…to get anyone to even answer my questions, look at my paperwork – EVEN THOUGH I WAS NOT TRYING TO GIVE THEM MY WHOLE VISA APPLICATION!, even though I just needed 10 minutes of some ones time, even though I knew I did not have all my info together for a complete package….I NEEDED AN APPOINTMENT!
[11:20] eldebedesign: I NEEDED AN APPOINTMENT FOLKS!
[11:21] eldebedesign: DID I NOT CALL THREE TIMES, SEND THREE EMAILS AND THEN!!! THEN!!! send one last email the Thursday we left just to make sure I did not need an appointment!
[11:22] eldebedesign: So….needless to say that at this point, I go slam, completely, unforgettably, utterly and ghetto fabulously OFF. I go completely COLORED on the woman at the window behind the glass. Sidebar: now I see WHY they are behind glass…
[11:22] eldebedesign: because I almost caught a case Friday, June 23rd, 2006.
[11:23] eldebedesign: SO after yelling at her for about 5 minutes (and getting the rest of the waiting crowd COMPLTELY behind me)
[11:24] eldebedesign: the woman behind the glass finally tells me that she cannot help me and all she can do is make an appointment for me to come back and talk to someone-that she is sorry I drove 6 1/2 hours down there just to realize that I needed an appointment but she could not do anything else for me but make the appointment and tell me to come back…
[11:24] eldebedesign: so finally after having all that go on-I am in complete crockadile (sp???) tears and trying very hard to hold back a complete nervous break down….
[11:25] eldebedesign: she says that I need to speak with the supervisor….a tall thin french black man that is standing in the hall….
[11:25] reelniceaggie: LOL
[11:25] eldebedesign: so I go into the hallway to speak to him…he was speaking to someone at the time and looks up at me over his glasses and says, “May I help you?”
ME: I would like to speak to you for just a minute when you are done sir, please.
[11:26] eldebedesign: HIM: Ok but I am talking with someone right now and you need to go back into the office and not stand in the hall….
[11:27] eldebedesign: ME (thinking): wait….arent YOU in the hall???? talking???? but OKAY!
ME(out loud): Okay, thank you sir
[11:27] reelniceaggie: lol
[11:28] eldebedesign: So I go back towards the door…but by this time, everyone has realized that people are being allowed to roll back up and get in front of them just because their number was called 15 minutes ago! so people are shoulder to shoulder in the hot ass room waiting and the line is tightly spilling out of the door…so when I go back to get in the room….I had to stop at the frame of the door..
[11:28] eldebedesign: I could not go any further into the room….so there I stand…
[11:28] eldebedesign: stand-wait-stand-wait
[11:30] eldebedesign: the French man talking to the white girl and her father about her visa (he is smiling and grinning with them) stops what he is doing and what he is talking about, asks for the pair to excuse him for a second and WALKS OVER TO LOOK INTO THE ROOM TO MAKE SURE I AM NOT JUST STANDING **AT** THE DOOR waiting for him!!
[11:30] reelniceaggie: lol
[11:30] eldebedesign: This got me literally one inch from screaming because if he came over to the door and even thought I could get further into the room, he was going to actually open his mouth to say something!
[11:31] eldebedesign: I was like “I will be DAMNED!? This man is going to amp out on me over standing in the door frame!!!”
[11:31] reelniceaggie: LOL
[11:31] eldebedesign: So I saw already that people of MY pursuasion were NOT going to get the smiley smile smile from him today..
[11:32] eldebedesign: so after the girl and her father leave, he rudely waves me over to talk to him stating “Common! Common!” and I walk over to him and begin to explain my situation….
[11:34] eldebedesign: he basically calls me a liar, tells me that I did not speak to anyone at the consualte about an appointment and they told me no, but he could not say a WORD about the FOUR EMAILS I SENT…then he paused and told me to wait a second as he walks back into the lush consualte offices (I think it was to check for an email that I told him I sent on Thursday) when he came back out he was STILL rude but had a “I cant dispute the emails” look on his face…and threw out his scarecrow’d hand and said “Give it to me-let me see what you have…”
[11:35] reelniceaggie: wow..really?
[11:35] eldebedesign: he snatches my paperwork out of my hand and I am still explaining to him what I have and why I needed someone to look at my paperwork and he constantly interrupts me to tell me what I have and dont have and how unprepared I was (did the negro NOT hear me say I KNEW I could not turn in my applcation and I just wanted answers today?)
[11:35] reelniceaggie: that guy would have gotten thumped on his ear lobe
[11:36] eldebedesign: then at some point he gives me an underhanded thump on the head for moving to France with NOT ONLY a white man but a man that is JUST my boyfriend and not my husband…
[11:36] reelniceaggie: what?
[11:36] eldebedesign: but finally I am at the end of his tyrade and he hands me two sheets of paper and a check list…NONE OF WHICH I HAD NOR CAN IT BE FOUND ON THE WEBSITE to fill out before I come bakc and to hand in with my application
[11:37] eldebedesign: SEE!! I KNEW THERE WAS A REASON I NEEDED TO COME
[11:37] reelniceaggie: lol
[11:37] eldebedesign: so basically….even after going off on glass window woman, if I had not gotten a chance to corner him in the hall…I still would not have had two of the things that i needed to complete my app before I came back
[11:38] eldebedesign: I leave, sniffing, tired, with a headache and three new sheets of paper in french
[11:38] reelniceaggie: lol…they were in french?
[11:38] reelniceaggie: now that is classic
[11:38] eldebedesign: yeah