In September, we finally got a concrete quote for transporting the dogs, and it was fairly exorbitant (I think on the order of $7-8k), so I started looking for other alternatives.  A couple weeks before they gave me the quote, I saw that Lufthansa would be starting flights direct from FRA to TFS, so I let them know that, in the hopes that would bring the cost down.  I was a bit surprised they weren’t aware of that flight, particularly since we were looking for that routing and they were already looking at Lufthansa because of its famous cargo animal lounge (video below).  This didn’t give me a whole lot of confidence in their skill, and when combined with the high price, I wondered if I needed to find something else.

On 9 September, after we’d received Crystal’s background check, I went up to Los Angeles to get an apostille for both of our background checks, plus our marriage certificate.  An apostille is somewhat analogous to a notary stamp, and indicates to government officials in another jurisdiction that a document is authentic and is what it purports to be.  Thinking about it, how would the government of, say, Mozambique, have any idea that a marriage certificate from a town hall in Uruguay was official and not just forged?  So anyway, an apostille takes care of that.

Getting an apostille is a very regimented process under any circumstances, but in 2020 there were extra layers added on.  The opening hours were limited, so I drove up to LA to be there right when they opened.  The freeways were way less crowded than normal, so COVID had one “benefit.”  This was my first time going out in public, besides the travel I’d done to Hawaii, where I saw people only in the airport, and, after two weeks of quarantine, at the drive through and the stores when getting supplies.  [If you’re wondering how I got through two weeks of quarantine, I bought food and supplies just before leaving the time before, so I had them to get by for two weeks when I showed up the next time.  Canned soup and spaghetti and canned sauce gets old in a hurry, in case you want to know.]

Inside the building in downtown Los Angeles, even right at the opening bell, there was a long line of people, everyone with numbers.  Watching from the back of the line, it looked and sounded a bit like a “soup nazi” procedure, so I watched everything repeatedly and checked that I had all the materials the man at the front of the line was requesting.  I had to wait for quite a while, so during that time I did what many people might do, which was to check the news.  Bad idea, really bad idea.  It turns out this was the day that the snippets from the Bob Woodward book came out where we all found out that 45 knew COVID was airborne, but didn’t tell any of us, so as to not screw up the stock market.  I was beyond livid, but what was I going to do?  Leave the country?  I was literally standing in line to do exactly that.  Anyway, once I got past the guy at the front of the line and went up the elevator into the small office with the people doing the apostille, it was very laid back and relaxed, and the process up there took only 10 minutes.  I left with my now super-duper official documents and drove back down the empty highway to San Diego.

The next day, 10 September, now with all of the necessary documents, I got back in contact with David Ruiz to get everything translated.  The apostille process had to precede the translations, which is why I hadn’t sent him the stuff before.  I scanned everything and put it into a shared Dropbox folder for him, and he told me it would be a week or two to get them translated.  Also in mid-September I got the insurance contracts signed and paid for.  Since the finished contracts were provided to us in both English and Spanish, I was able to do this in parallel with everything else being translated by David, because he wouldn't need to translate anything.  So now all I needed to do is wait for the verified translations to arrive via DHL. In late September, whilst waiting for everything to arrive, we took a road trip around the American Southwest.

Previous Entry
Next Entry