Miracles happen! Especially when you’re dealing with the French Consulate in Johannesburg. Remember yesterday?
Backstory: Richard applied mid-December for a new passport since his was on the verge of expiring. Why wait so late? Well, with Sunshine Tour golf tournaments all over the show in our summer months and his last trip abroad being in October, there just hadn’t been much opportunity to deal with admin… And besides, my last passport renewal took less than a week.
So we arranged this ski holiday with Club Med and figured 4 weeks / 15 business days would be sufficient to get a passport renewed. And then another 3-4 days for a French visa and… voilà?
Not so much.
I won’t bore you with the tedious details, but his passport seemed to have been delivered to Randburg Home Affairs on Wednesday at 11:30 already – which would’ve left us plenty of time for 48hr visa period before departure. Only no one could tell us who signed for it and where the passport went (at one point it was even suggested it was in Pretoria somewhere!) until the head of the Randburg office, Mr Lekalakala managed to find the passport somewhere in their office, on Thursday at 10. This after we spent 4 hours of Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning at Home Affairs looking for answers.
We rushed off to Capago in Sandton immediately and with the helpful facilitation of Club Med was received personally by one of the senior staff members there and had our applications marked urgent with bright red letters.
Credit to Minister Gigaba for responding to me, however.
Bottom line: Capago and the French Consulate has been incredibly lenient and has done in one day what usually takes 2 – without charging us extra or expecting us to even wait in a queue. Their service, in contrast with Home Affairs, has been swift, they’ve been immensely understanding and their dedication to their job (to get you on a plane and to France in time) serves as testimony of their country’s dedication to it’s tourism sector.
A special thank you also to Stuart & Lesego from Club Med, who have been amazingly understanding, helpful & supportive through all of this.
So, since the French Consulate just told us that our visa’s have been processed and will be ready for collection at 14:00, I can finally say that tomorrow, we’ll get on a plane to go do some of this:
At Club Med Val Thorens Sensations, which looks like this:
Does it really look as amazing as it does in the pictures? I’ll go find out!
We’ll be do our best to take you along for the ride and give you an inside look into a holiday we’ve wanted to go on for years!
Why Club Med?
Their resorts are all-inclusive.
Drinks, food, skiing (in this case, but of course they don’t only offer ski resorts!) and even the apres-ski, evening entertainment, flights, transfers – down to boot & ski rental – is included.
Why Val Thorens Sensations?
It’s the highest resort in Europe, at 2300m, situated in the French Alps but offering a completely breathtaking 360 degrees view over the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. The resort is also brand new, state of the art and opened just a few weeks ago.
Oh, and did I mention that Val Thorens was awarded the “World’s Best Ski Resort” award in 2014, for the 2nd consecutive year!
Why should I care, I’m not going to France?
Oh, but you could! Club Med South Africa has chosen me to be their ambassador for 2015. *happy dance!* And as Bonang did last year (she was the 2014 ambassador) I’ll be giving away a trip for 2 to a Club Med resort. More details on exactly how this will work and which destination we’ll be exploring next, will follow very soon!
For now: AU REVOIR!