Saturday, November 20, 2004
More Visa Fun!
Well, yesterday was an exciting day (and not only because I sat in very fresh and wet pee in the back seat of the taxi on the way into town). No, stranger's urine-soaked clothing aside, yesterday was an exciting day because it was time for my passport to go on holiday once again.
It was also, coincidentally, time for Monika's visa to be renewed, as she has now been in the country for three months. Or so she thought. She handed her passport to the nice man at immigration. He took one look at it and told her she was illegal and would have to leave the country. Monika was suitably gobsmacked, until it was explained to her that a little scribble on the stamp she had received at the airport (which she had taken to be a signature) had, in actual fact, read '60'. '60' as in only 60 days visa... not the 90 days that she had been assured repeatedly by the Peruvian embassy in Hungary was automatically granted upon entry. Interestingly, the stamp also normally reads 'DIAS', in miniscule print, in the area where '60' was scralled. That might have been a hint that the illegible scribble on the stamp was actually very important, but on Monika's passport the word 'DIAS' was mysteriously absent.
Anyways, it was eventually agreed, after much umming and ahhing, that Monika's passport could pop up to sunny Ecuador with mine, as long as Monika paid the dollar a day tax for overstaying at the Bank De lLa Nacion first. The bank is a total zoo, but we had no choice. We went in and pressed a button to receive a ticket stating what number in the queue you are. Monika was, no joking, 1203. The electronic board showed that the number 794 was currently being served. And only two of the 12 cashier counters were open. Stomachs rumbling, we resolved to come back after what might be sufficient time for 400 people to part with their hard earned dosh to their mother country. However, as we were leaving Tito suggested, for 2 soles, Monika might like to buy a number from one of the blokes hanging around outside posing as photographers. Monika said that indeed she would like to purchase number 807.
Moral of the day: All problems you may encounter in Peru can be overcome with money, except pee on your skirt.
But at least your bribery schemes are all going to plan.