I just renewed my passport at the Bangkok US Consulate. Being naive I figured that since I had an appointment I would be in and out quickly. Only the civil service could mess up something so simple. First you go through security. I have been in maximum security prisons that are easier to get into.
I have just had knee surgery and standing still is difficult. You go into a room that is like a walk-in closet and is packed with people. You have to stand in line to go to the one window to start the process.
At a bank or a butcher’s shop have you take a number, then you relax and wait for your number to come up. Not at the US Consulate. Here they want you to stand in line like you are in the army. Then when you finally get to the window to start the process they want you to go to another window to pay. After you pay you have to go back to the small room and wait for your number to be called again. Then you have to go outside and get a Thai Post envelope and come back again and wait. We call that the “civil service shuffle”.
They tell you that you can do this by mail, but you have to get two bank money orders and trust the mail system to get them there and back .The baht-to-US dollar exchange rate is not favourable to US expats. I am glad that I don’t have to do this again for 10 years.