Yesterday, we took our first trip to the U.S. Consulate in Naples (http://naples.usconsulate.gov/index.html). We needed to renew Russell’s passport. I think my “bar” has been lowered from dealing with Italian bureaucracy because it was actually a pleasant experience. The passport renewal instructions on the internet are clear and detailed so we arrived prepared; the appointment was made online; we found the building easily and there was even parking nearby. A polite Italian and jolly American guy took of the paperwork and we were on our way. So what’s the message….Americans, for all its faults you should appreciate your government. You have no idea how good we have it!

After that we took a drive over to the Navy Support Site. I wanted to check out their commissary (grocery store) and buy some items that are difficult or impossible to find at Italian grocery stores. For an avid baker, it was bad news when I discovered that brown sugar does not exist here. I searched for a substitute and discovered you can make it with white sugar and molasses. Too bad you can’t buy molasses either! In the end, I bought molasses up at Aviano AFB last summer. You can make a lot of brown sugar with one jar of molasses.

You may be amused by what we bought:

Normal size chocolate chips (they only sell wimpy miniature ones locally)

Butterscotch chips

Cape Cod potato chips (woo hoo!)

Can of baking powder (sold in annoying little packets here)

Vanilla extract

Flour tortillas

Bagels

Two ribeye steaks

Hamburger buns

Bacon

Maple syrup

Transformer fruit flavor snacks

Super Mario Bros fruit flavor snacks

Perhaps not the healthiest selection but it sure will taste good! We topped off our American experience by eating lunch at A&W in the food court. Loved the rootbeer! The burger and fries…..not so much. Overall, it was a nice mini-trip to the U.S.

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