Dec 20 2013

Most expensive passports ever!

The last time I renewed my German passport (almost 10 years ago), I sent it and support documentation to the General Consulate in Houston, paid my fee and a few weeks later I had a new passport delivered.

Things have changed since then and made yesterday’s renewal the most expensive ever.

Germany adjusted the rules in the past years and now requires citizens to travel to the Consulate in order to renew passports. So I packed Pia on Wednesday evening and went with her to Albuquerque to stay at a hotel for the night. We didn’t want to miss too much of school/work and decided to do a one-day trip to Houston. That required taking a really early flight out to make the appointment at the Consulate and be able to fly back home to Albuquerque the same day.

Our day started at 4:50am when the alarm rang. I was awake way before, because of the insomnia of the guy above us at the hotel: he was trampling around most of the night and his weight combined with the less-than-sound-absorbing ceiling told me whenever he was doing his rounds. We got changed and left the hotel just after 5:30am. Our flight to Houston at 6:30am was on time and uneventful. At Hobby airport we grabbed a taxi and drove about 25 mins to the Consulate.

My passport appointment was set for 10:45am and we were there some 20 mins before.

Thanks to detailed preparation work, it was all smooth sailing and within less than 15 mins my renewal was done. I was asked to pay the renewal fee ($130) in cash, because the Consulate had recently issues with credit card payments. After checking how much Pia’s renewal would cost ($80), I left my daughter alone at the Consulate (she’s a big girl now and the woman helping us was really nice) and went down to an ATM to pick up enough cash. Just 20 mins later, Pia’s renewal was also done and we left a bit over an hour after we arrived at the Consulate – not bad at all!

We had a few hours to kill before our return trip and walked 15 mins to “The Galleria” in the heart of Houston. The Galleria is a huge shopping center and I mean really huge. We knew about it, because the taxi driver had mentioned it and he had dropped the magical keyword “ice skating rink”. Since the temps were in the 80s and we were both dressed for Santa Fe’s 30s it was only logical to venture there to cool down. Pia skated for almost an hour and afterwards we had a snack and walked around for a while.

At 2pm local time we took another cab back to the airport and waited for our return flight, which, of course, had to experience technical difficulties and was delayed for 1.5 hrs. After a quick stop in Dallas and exchanging passengers there we arrived back home a little bit over an hour late.

Come 8:30pm Pia was in her own bed and it was quiet soon after.

If I sum up all the costs for plane tickets, passport fees, hotel, food, taxi, etc. our passport renewals clock in at $1300!!!

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