About nine days ago, the team and I realized I didn't have a visa and would not be able to race in Brazil this weekend unless I got one in a hurry. As I write this I am on my way to Brazil and how I got here is nothing short of a miracle.
Living in France made traveling to Paris the only option for getting this mission accomplished. To get a Visa usually takes 10 days if you are lucky, at this point I had only 7 and you must leave your passport at the consulate office while it is being processed, which means you cannot leave the country. Luckily the schedule accommodated this plan.
After the GP in Czech, I hopped on a plane and headed for Paris only we didn't land in Paris since there was too much fog to land, instead we landed in Czech and were bussed over 6 hours to a location outside of Paris where my team had a limo waiting for me. I found myself sharing this ride with two guys from my own backyard,Temecula! When I asked if they were brothers, they let me know they were not but instead said proudly that they were together...alrighty then. haha. I was dropped off at the American-Brazilian consulate office and because of the 8 hour delay I missed my window of opportunity and decided to spend the night and try again in the morning. Now this mission had to be done in 6 days of less.
There I was walking around Paris pulling my suitcase looking for a place to stay in this high-end part of town. What to do? I called Mom who got on her computer and guided me through the streets to a cheap hotel only to find a naked lady waving at me through the window and rocks thrown into the falling hotel sign. This was only a couple blocks away and it was ghetto-style. Mom talked me into spending more money and being safe by staying closer to the consulate office so I could get a jump on the day in the morning, she also talked me into getting a massage, which we joked about.
After I settled in I had an awesome dinner, listened to musicians under the Eiffel Tower, treated myself to a Nutella crepe, and yes I did get a killer massage at the hotel and then slept a good 8 hours. When I got back to the consulate office an hour early, I was 8th in line and found out they only take in 20 applicants and I watched them send over 100 people away that day. When I met with my representative, she did not speak a word of English and I was not sure if I was even in the right place after all I had been through. After some sign language, pointing to calendars, and laughing till my side hurt, I left my passport with this lady hoping that when I came back on Monday (2 days ago!!! ) I would have a Visa. I think she was trying to tell me that I would have to wait until today...I pleaded and showed her the calendar again and pointed to the 17th and said a prayer as I left.
After The French Championship I got a ride with the video crew to Paris. It was a 6 hour hair ball ride including e-brake corners around cliffs and some serious speed, these guys were insane. I arrived in Paris at 4 am and only got about 3 hours sleep before getting back in line at the consulate's office. I was first in line, the doors opened at 9:30 and I didn't know what to expect. The team's plan payed off as only an hour later I was headed to the airport with a Visa in hand. After waiting 6 hours at the airport I was on my way to my home away from home, Hossegor, France. Basically, ate dinner, washed gear, packed and at 2:00 am headed to the airport and on my way to Brazil looking forward to a good weekend of racing.
All in all things are working out for me. The Rockstar Energy Bud Racing team continues to support me, my trainer Jacky believes I have what it takes, and my family, friends, and girl Haley are all there in my corner. As I write this my "Big Brother" Scottie Simon is waiting for me in Brazil to cheer me on this weekend and I am psyched to see him for sure.