This is a pile of bathing suits I’ve collected and one big floppy hat! 

I spent weeks preparing to see the french consulate with all my paperwork in order, but when I arrived they rejected me and sent me home. The woman told me I needed proof of residency in California and my bank statements were inadequate. So I’m homeless and poor. That’s the reality of my life, but it shouldn’t mean that I can’t hang out in a French territory for a few months. Come on. I’m self sufficient. I still buy lots of food, music, sundresses, and wine. 

Yesterday I got in the car at 6 am to drive to DC for my 11am appointment. It’s only 100 miles but I was super anxious and nervous about traffic which was predictably terrible. I put 1000 quarters into the parking meter. I hadn’t filled out the part of the form about “employer” yet. I needed a black pen and only had blue ones. I found somebody with a black pen. Then I misplaced one copy of the most important application form (I had made at least 4 of everything as required by the website). I was amazingly lucky that the first person I asked where a copy machine was offered to take it in his office to copy it. Later I was shocked and upset to find that the office only ended up accepting two copies.

When I entered the visa office, the frenchman was curt to everyone. I was obviously an anxious wreck. The frenchman says, “whoa, don’t hurt yourself!” when he called me up. Before I even arrived fully at the window, “I need you to prove you have money, the more money the better.” So that was a great start. 

The website clearly states to include a notarized letter from a financial sponsor and bank records. I had both. The frenchman asked me who this person was. I asserted that it was my sponsor. The frenchman became frustrated and told me that it was not me. So why would I bother with this. He took my bank statements with my $10,000 line of credit and scolded me that it was a line of credit, not actual money in my account. He took one single copy anyway.

I had repaid for extra sets of passport photos because the website said I needed five and I only had two. So I got them retaken with my hairline showing. He only took two. He only took two, and sometimes only one of each of my forms in the entire paperwork packet. Some forms he didn’t accept at all, even though they were clearly requested on the DC French consulate website for the long term visa I was applying for. There was at least 4 documents he requested that I had never heard of before. I wrote a letter or memorandum of intent and itinerary on the spot which I guess they request from all people upon arrival because of this sign posted that says that if you don’t have one to grab a white sheet of paper and a pen…..when they could just UPDATE their frigging website. He requested a pay stub from me. I told him I do not have one of those. He said just to send one in from anytime in the past 90 days and he moved on to asking me something else absurd.

He asked me for documentation of the boats parking. A) The boat will not be docked B) even if or when it is anchored for short periods of time, there is no document for that.  C) even if there is, there is no way to obtain it 2 months before the boat even comes close to a Polynesian island. It would be drafted upon boat registration, which can only occur once the boat is there. When I asked how it’s possible to obtain such documentation, he retorted something sarcastic to the effect of, “well, you must park the boat somewhere.” That’s real good information coming from a man who probably hasn’t seen a sunset over the ocean since he started working in the bureaucratic traffic congested hell of Washington DC.

He took my passport and didn’t provide me with any receipt that he was stealing it. I was prepared for this. I had a self-addressed, USPS envelope covered in so much postage (just to be sure) to include in my file so they could send me my passport back without me needing to make another trip to the consulate. The Frenchmen spit. He showed me a special, USPS express mail overnight envelope and asserted that it was the only acceptable envelope. If I didn’t want to drive back to DC to pick up my passport, then I must leave the embassy, go to a United States Post Office (NOT ups or fedex), and obtain this $20 overnight prepaid envelope. He gave me a shitty map. 

I may or may not have bumped a Cadillac SUV when I got stuck in the ice outside the post office. 

I put another 500 quarters into another parking meter. I re-enterend the embassy. I gave him the USPS envelope. He looked at me as though he was wondering why I was still standing there. He basically told me to leave. I did, and then I returned. I asked him to please accept these forms (the boat form and my police clearance) to add to my file, and he reluctantly did.

It makes me feel like they completely do not care. It is my understanding that they will simply be mailing my file to the French consulate in French Polynesia so I’m very apprehensive that the file will arrive incomplete somehow and it will be ME the bureaucrats will blame for not turning in all the required forms when it is the DC Embassy that fucked it up. Another thing- it is un accepted to file for a visa any earlier than 3 WEEKS before departure for your trip, but they make you sign a form acknowledging that it takes up to 3 MONTHS to process the visa application. That’s right, my PASSPORT could be in their hands until MAY. 

The whole thing is so frustrating. I will sail the boat to French Polynesia regardless. I will have to, but I needed to try to make things legit sooner rather than later. 

I didn’t make it home until 6:30 making it a whole 7.5 hours I laid to waste in traffic listening to the freaking radio. Marijuana became legal in DC as of midnight, so as much as I feel sorry for the folks who live and work in that hellish way, I’m happy for them that at least now, they can semi-legally do it stoned.