Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good thing we're not superstitious

...because yesterday, Friday the Thirteenth, found us holding the thirteenth position in line at the Departamento Nacional de Migraciones where we were attempting to renew our VISAs.

I've already shared some of the crazy that made up our week...multiple trips to Cordoba to get a letter from the police stating we didn't have a criminal record, which we HAD to have that before we could go to Buenos Aires to renew our VISAs. 

With that in hand (along with a LOT of other necessary paperwork) we took the overnight bus to Bs. As. on Thursday, paying a little extra for "suite" seats -- what was supposed to be chairs that completely reclined. Not so much. They went back and clicked into place about 80% of the way, just like the next step down (price wise) called "cama" (bed) but in order to get them to go completely down you had to put all your weight onto it and sort of force it down. Which didn't work so well for me since I think it was designed for 250 lb. men. Mine kept bouncing back up to the 80% spot, which made me slide down so I had to curl up because there wasn't enough room to stretch out. It was also hotter 'n blazes on the bus. Needless to say, not a lot of sleeping occurred.

But we did get into the bus terminal, just blocks away from the Departamento Nacional de Migraciones, with enough time to grab a hot cup of coffee and for me to pop into the ladies room and put my contacts in. The wind practically carried us to migraciones. Whew! (We heard later the wind was so bad it was pushing waves up along the coast in one area and flooding streets.) Our co-worker who had been handling the initial paperwork was already there and had grabbed us a number (as seen above).

Three hours later, after much discussion with several officials, we left with my passport sporting a fresh new VISA stamp. Ivan, however, was empty handed. But not to worry! It's because he no longer needs a VISA because of his permanent residency status (which he'd never really lost apparently, even though he'd been gone for 30 years). YIPPEE!

He does have some more paperwork to do though. OF COURSE. We're hoping he can get it done in Cordoba because when he went to the office in Bs. As. Friday they said he had to have an appointment that could only be set up via phone or internet, but not in person. Isn't that funny?! We're trying to remember that it's not necessarily right or wrong, just different.  

We were going to take our co-workers out to lunch in appreciation for all the work they've put into this for us, but decided it would be wise to get our bus tickets first. This weekend is a long holiday weekend and Ivan had already been informed that tickets were scarce because everyone who could, was heading to the interior. Turned out the available seats were either on really late buses leaving in the wee hours of the night or we could catch one right about lunch time. We'll have take our co-workers out to eat another time because you know we grabbed the earlier tickets!

Definitely going to have to ask around and find out which bus lines are better. Because the one we took home? ICK! It was supposed to be a straight-through but the driver stopped at least four times to take on passengers or let them off (once in the middle of nowhere), the bathroom was beyond disgusting, it was also really hot (what's with the heat on these buses?!) and they kept showing really awful movies on the t.v.s mounted throughout the bus and there was no headphone system so we had no choice but to listen as it blared from every direction. I chose to listen to the iPod for a good portion of that time.

Lunch was served at about 4 p.m. and consisted of a small tray with cold chicken, rice and peas, a roll, slice of cheese, slice of ham and a tiny fruit tart. There were also packets with salt, lemon and mayonnaise tucked under the roll. The bus steward came through delivering the trays, then about half an hour later dispensed tiny plastic cups and another half hour after that he came with a bottle of Coke to finally fill up the little tiny cup. I guess that's the system that works for him :)

Our lovely, wonderful team mates from Carlos Paz were in Cordoba and decided to go to the bus station and wait to bring us home! That was SO nice. We didn't have to find another bus for the last leg of the journey from Cordoba to Carlos Paz and we were home exactly at midnight! Able to sleep in our own, comfortable, warm but not too warm beds. *sigh of contentment* 

Today the architect is coming! And we have another birthday party tonight, for one of the other young ladies in our church (although it's not a 15th so not quite such a big deal). Ivan's fighting a sore throat and we're both feeling rather wrung-out after all the travels this week (about 1,300 miles, give or take a few). I'll be back later today or tomorrow with Project 365 and despite my hopes for lots of photos, the ONLY one I took in Buenos Aires was the photo of our line ticket. We were in and out of the city SO fast (arriving home only 27 hours after we left) that there just weren't any good photo ops.


rita said...

Good news!
Next time try Betel Ejecutivo, may be worth the extra.
So, what holiday this weekend?
BTW, the reason (NOT really) you were in 'luck'--martes trece is the unlucky day, duhhhh! You're in South America, remember? As if you could forget ;)

Betty said...

Wow! I hate hate riding the bus,and the things you wrote about sound very familiar to our buses here too.
I´m glad you got your visa though and it was worth it.
Try to rest up over the weekend and tell Ivan not to "infect" you with his virus. You just had a cold remember? :)

The Bug said...

I'm glad you were successful! That sounds a bit like a nightmare - but only 27 hours (not including all the OTHER stuff you had to do just to get to that point)...

Mari said...

Hooray for the Visa - and that Ivan doesn't need one!
I think the 13th thing is funny.
Can't wait to hear what the architect says.

sara said...

so glad you finally got your visa and yea that Ivan doesn't need one!!!

so interesting to have "bus stewards", like flying, eh? I have never heard of that.

get some rest!!!!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...


You are a better woman than me!

All night on a hot bus, you get a gold star girlfriend!