You know you're traveling somewhere fun when you need to dig up your passport and your yellow fever certificate, when you need visas and a packing list, emergency contacts, batteries, a Z-pak, a handwritten phrase book.
And passport photos.
I get mine done at a sweaty little copy shop on the Ave. It smells of chemicals and an overheating fan. The smiling dark-eyed clerk, Max, speaks a half-dozen languages, including Russian and Farsi. He always remembers to greet me in German: ah, Elise, es freut mich.
Yesterday he told me all about a Russian cartoon show.
And he took my picture.