I made the first trip to the Cameron Embassy in Paris today to get the forms we need to fill out for our Visas. I tried calling the phone numbers we had but there was no answer so I thought the worse that could happen would be I would be out a few train tickets. I needed to go in because they did not have a website (at least not one that was listed in any of the search engines). I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived and I read the sign for the Visa that said the embassy was Ouvert (open) to the public! I didn’t even need an appointment. But I only had 45 minutes before the Visa section was closed for the day; they close at 12:30 for questions and delivery of the visa packet and then are open in the afternoon to pick up your passport/visa.
I assessed the situation and decided I would stand in the line closest to the door and ask where I could pick up the forms I needed. There were already 3 people standing in line there so it seemed like a good start. I watched and I saw some people waiting with small children in a waiting room and I saw some other people on the 2nd floor who were waiting in longer lines, it looked like that was the line for people with completed paperwork. As I listened to the conversations going on around me (in French) I decided most of the people were waiting to get forms. The only problem was I had been waiting for almost 20 minutes and there was still nobody at the window where we were all waiting and I was getting close to the time for the Visa section to be closing. So I hopped out of line and went up the stairs and waited in some kind of a line crossed with a huddled group of people in front of the window that said Visas.
When I got to the front and said the very polite well rehearsed in my head the entire way there my request for the paperwork that I needed. He simply said “Là bas” and pointed down to where I was originally waiting. So I walked back down the stairs and I noticed that there was now someone at the window but the line now had about 15 people in it and I was at the end. I then overheard the person that came in behind me in line stop a security guard and asked for a different form, he went into his security office and came back with the form. So I asked the security guard for the forms that I needed and he walked in his office and came back with the forms. Mission Accomplished, at least what I set out to do, get the forms for our visas to Cameroon. Next step gather all the paperwork and take it back to the embassy. I’m very thankful for a kind security guard that went out of his way to help someone today.