An expat Californian building a new life via the tango in Buenos Aires since 2003, including information on learning the tango and where to dance it in Buenos Aires.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Waiting Southern Style

Imagine the DMV line from Hell!

I was a freezing, hurting, nervous wreck standing in the long line yesterday outside of the Federal Police building. The Argentines were patient, as usual. But I was exhausted standing there in the super-cold (4 degrees C.) without moving for more than two hours.

What was I doing there? I was trying to pick up my police report for purposes of my long-term visa application. I had applied weeks ago (waiting in several long lines, but at least they were inside the building), given a number to call when my paper was supposed to be ready. Nobody ever answered that number! So I went back a little after the designated time and waited in a long line to find out that my paper wasn't ready yet. This week for sure it had to be ready.

When the line finally turned left into the building, we jammed the doorway and there was no way people leaving with their documents could exit without shoving, pushing, and many "con permisos." Ahead of me I saw several people, who had waited just as long and uncomfortably as I, whose documents weren't ready yet. Instead of screaming and yelling, inciting riots, they, beaten down by the cold waiting hours, numbly said, "gracias," and left the window, clutching their scraps of paper they would have to bring back on another day.

My flimsy document testifying that I'm not wanted in Argentina by the Federal Police was ready, and I ran joyfully into the main hall (FREEZING) to find Ruben who was applying for his passport. He was the one who noticed there was an expiration date of next week.

Normally there is a 30 day expiration period, but because I didn't/couldn't get my document sooner, now I have just a few days to present it to Imigracion.

So yesterday Ruben ran me over there. But it closed at 1:00 p.m. and we arrived at 1:10. He sweet-talked the guard into letting us enter the hall, but I was rejected from presenting any papers. "Come back tomorrow between 7:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m."

But next Monday I'm having minor surgery (a biopsy), and so the rest of this week is full of pre-op tests, etc., plus teaching students here for the Campeonato. There's a magazine that wants to interview me because I was the only foreigner last year in the Campeonato Finals and it's timely. God, I need to get to the hairdresser.

In the States, this legal document stuff is all done by mail. Imagine that!

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