As you may know, I was nervous about the fullness of my passport, and my fears where confirmed with one heartless stamp at the Italian border. So, upon return from Italy, I had less than three weeks to get my business visa for India, which meant getting a new passport or at least new pages so there would be someplace to put it.
The bad news is, there is unprecedented (and apparently unexpected or unprepared-for) demand for passports due to recent rule changes for US citizens travelling to Mexico and Canada, causing massive backlogs and delays.
The good news is, if you live in a city with a passport agency and have time and money to spend on the project, you can get what you need without that much fuss. Just make sure you bring a large novel. Next time, I'm going to read Midnight's Children.
After a few calls around and some web surfing, I had a plan: go to the Tip O'Neill building and get more pages, then immediately FedEx passport to the expediter who would deal with the India Consulate and ship it back.
Visa photos: $20
Passport rush fee: $60
FedEx to expediter: $22
Consular fee: $95
Expeditor's fee: $95
Copay for polio and tetanus vaccinations: $10
Copay for anti-malarial prescription: $10
Time spent waiting in line looking at photos and paintings of Tip O'Neill: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Work time missed running all these errands: 1 day
I haven't even left town and I've already spent over $300 on this trip. Let that be a lesson to all of you about planning ahead.
So here it is, my old 24-page (1-24) passport augmented with 24 brand-new, slightly off-center pages (A-X). The new pages are not quite the same size as the old ones, and they stick out a bit, but they should keep me going for a good long time. The purple thing sticking out on the right is the India visa, good for multiple entries over one year.