This post will be a bit of a rant so I apologize ahead of time. I think I have finally been to a place more painful than the DMV–the Brazilian consulate in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
We have been in BA for about a week in a beautiful apartment in Recoleta–one of the nicest areas of the city. We decided to put down some roots after so many months of travel and work on a game plan for leaving South America.
I have spent so many hours on the computer lately I feel like I’m back to working in IT. We finally purchased a “round the world” airpass for the remainder of the journey. We had China on the list of places to go, but scratched it due to the Olympic crush and the extreme difficulties in getting a visa we have heard about.
I have always seen Rio de Janeiro as the finish line for South America. I hope to spend about a month training my favorite martial art and soaking up this amazing city. WD is not to hip on the idea of Brazil, thinking she will be mugged as soon as she arrives. I know she will enjoy it once she sees it, but first we have to get there. I already have a visa having been here a few years ago, so we just needed to get one for WD. I had no trouble getting a visa and expected no different for WD, so we booked our RTW ticket to start in Rio.
I always try to be super nice to anyone in a consulate or at a border crossing because these people can make your life a living hell if they choose to… and unfortunately they chose to here. The woman at the window asked for our paperwork. We handed over a bank statement first. I have no doubt they want to see a bank statement as proof you have spending money in the country and aren’t going to disappear and work in Brazil. She took one look at the bank statment, told use she needed one dated today, and that we needed copies of our credit cards as well. Fair enough but…
She then circled Dawn’s profession and told us she needed a letter from her employer stating she has permission for 60 days of vacation. Dawn tried several times to explain that she is the owner of the business and she could write the letter herself–no, it has to be from her employer. Has the concept of business ownership and freedom to do what you want without “permission from your employer” ever entered this dimwit’s head?
We cabbed all over town collecting the information we definitely needed and raced back to the consulate before they closed at 1pm (what a job huh?) Everything was going smoothly with another representative until the dragon-lady spotted us and butted straight into the conversation–again, demanding a letter from Dawn’s employer. We attempted to show her everything we had–a ridiculous amount of personal info I think, but she insisted on a signed letter from the “employer”–I assumed she meant god himself.
I pointed out that this is not in the list of requirements on the website and she smugly handed over a printout and circled:
The consulate may request additional information and/or documentation deemed necessary.
Then said “Here–can you read?” Translation: We reserve to right to fuck with anyone we want for no reason and make your life a living hell. Careful, or we may asked you to bring in your cat in for a blood sample too.
It took every ounce of self restraint not to lay into this smug, ignorant, sad little paper pusher with mall-guard syndrom. I calmly explained that she told us she was not the one who would review or deny the application asked her to please submit the application and we would take our chances with the information provided.
That pressed her button! I expected a “Fine, but it doesn’t look to good for you” or some similar bullshit–instead I almost got a security escort out and told I was making things very hard for WD… they were easy until now? I can imagine what China is like.
The thing that sucks is this visa would be approved in a second if we could just get this lunatic to submit it.
I have played this whole situation over and over and cannot for the life of me figure out what we could have done to this woman to bring this on. There is little doubt why we want to enter the country and we have the means to do so–why would someone take such sick pleasure in creating problems for people who come to you for help?
So, they pushed us out of the office with a fax number, no name fax it to, and no information on what it should contain. Somehow now we need a letter from Dawn saying that she is the owner of her business but it can’t be from her and she cannot write it.
Our travels have been smooth so far, but things are about to get interesting.