Kaleidoscope

Toronto: Consulates & CN Tower

Posted on: Jueves 22 junio 2006

The time had come, once more, to go visit the Consulate of France in Toronto. They had sent me an email to inform that I had 3 months to go pick up my National Identity card (carte nationale d’identité), otherwise it would be distroyed (they don’t want to send it via snail mail: not trusworthy!). Since I had to ask for a day off anyway, D and I figured we might as well visit the Consulate of Italy for him: he needs to renew his Italian passport in case we go to Europe one day soon

D and I browsed through internet to see which documents he needed to present at the consulate. Unfortunatly, the website we found was out of service, down, not working. So, D tried to phone them to ask his questions. After 3 tries ringing in the empty space, he finally got someone to answer.
“I need to renew my passport, what do I need to bring? Do I have to take an appointment?”
“No need to take an appointment, just show up during our public hours with your old italian passport and a proof of your canadian citizenship” (uh?). Ok.

Early Tuesday morning we woke up, the bus we took, and a little before 10 o’clock in the morning we were walking in the street of the big city. Not much to tell about my visit in French soil (aka the Consulate of France, at the 22nd floor of a nice modern building), the french bureaucracy is complicated, but at least the job gets done.

Now we had to take the subway, we hurried a little because we were approaching 11 o’clock and the only information we had from the Italian Consulate is that they are open from 9 to 12 mornings only. The consulate is an old building in Chinatown. Nothing against the Asians or Italians, but let’s only say that it’s contrasting. Or maybe not, if we get to talk about chaos…

First, when we arrive at the front door, there was a line… (reminded me of Argentina)
Sono chiusi?” (is it closed?) we asked.
No, si entra solo uno a la volta” (no, we only enter one at a time).
There was a security man searching every each person as we entered, like in airports. I understand that Italy is part of the European Union, that a consulate is a official building, etc. , but why was there no checking before entering the Consulat de France? Anyway, after about 10 minutes (or 20?) of waiting in line, we finally get speak to the lady at the front desk (in Italian since she doesn’t speak English), who after asking D why he was here, said “did you bring your pictures?”…

There were at least two dozen people waiting like us. We were all sitting in a large room with no air conditioning, nobody knew for how long. After at least two hours a voice started calling names… I could see many confused faces that seemed to be wondering where to go (there were many doors to choose from).

At least, the World Cup was on a big screen TV (how could italians not watch soccer, il calcio!?) and I got the chance to watch the match Costa-Rica vs. Poland.🙂

After much waiting, at least seeing someone, but having almost nothing done… We finally got time for acting like tourists!!

The weather was fabulous, in fact just ideal to go up the CN Tower (D had never been there before).

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The entrance ticket were overpriced, but oh well, the view of the lake Ontario was nice, and all Toronto was at our feet!

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