Unfortunately the official who processed our paperwork was the grouchiest guy in the room (even the usually nasty Englishman at the front desk — click here if you need to be introduced — was more pleasant). Our guy, who appeared to be the most senior person there, never cracked a smile. He never even made eye contact. He snapped orders — at us, at his colleagues, and at people hovering around the desks waiting to be served.
His facial expression changed momentarily. I think he might have been trying to smile. But it seemed to bring pain to his face and didn't last long. I clearly wasn't going to break the ice with this guy.
I dubbed him "Generalísimo Snorkel," because his expression reminded me of Sarge Snorkel from the American cartoon "Beetle Bailey." Well... except that Sarge Snorkel can actually smile sometimes.
So, what should have been a pleasant and very brief exchange was not pleasant — only (thankfully) brief. At least this stage of our "Second Renewals" is complete. We go back in 30 days to pick up our new cards and then we shouldn't have to see the usually nasty Englishman or Generalísimo Snorkel for another two years. Maybe they'll retire.
Anyway, the walk home through the beautifully blooming city restored our moods. We stopped for coffee along the way and laughed when we talked about the generalísimo.
See below what we saw on the walk home. You'll understand why our sour moods recovered so quickly. The city must have planted these gorgeous flowers to compensate for the usually nasty Englshman and the Generalísimo. It worked. (Click any image to see only beauty.)
Then listen to the song at the end, especially if you didn't know about Beetle Bailey. (The Kid Brother still makes me sing him the theme song.)
So, hibiscus for the Dowager Duchess and the Beetle Bailey theme song (below) for the Kid Brother. I hope you find something to enjoy here, as well.