Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

Friends of mine finally got their Uruguayan passports. Well, I should say, “Friends (plural) of mine finally got their passport (singular).”

They are a married couple, and the wife was denied because she did not have her own separate bank account with records going back the requisite 3 years. The husband did get his, but what good is it if UY is splitting up expat couples 50/50? How counterintuitive can they possibly make it?

Citizenship, with a heaping side of Fuck You.

Just imagine how much the rules will change in the next 3 years. Ahhhhh, government customer-service in Uruguay. It gives me such warm, fond memories.

She writes, “For me, the whole horror of it all continues… Just be advised that the rules changed in mid stream and I now need additional papers that were not required before.  Women should note that you need your own title to your bank account or some similar group membership in which you can show specific dates of membership for the full 3 years required.  Joint membership does not cover it.”

I went with ImmigrationBob to start the process to get my Uruguayan cedula renewed. It expires every 3 years, and it had gone rancid while I was in Chile. Not that they really care, since they let me enter the country with the expired cedula, and I didn’t need my passport. So why bother with expiration? To maintain your residency status you just need to set foot in Uruguay once every 3 years.

I suppose they want to make you stand in lines and shuffle papers around the country, just to let you know you are still alive. Because the pain in your brain makes you feel alive. The rest makes you feel dead, or wish that you were.

So to renew an expired cedula, you go to the dark office where the unhappy people are, and the paper you get, from some ghoul at a desk– you have to sign that. And then they keep it, but give you another paper later. They couldn’t give it to us now, you see, because the stack of fancy looking computer equipment was not working. Surprise surprise. ImmigrationBob actually said “Surprise, eh?” I didn’t have to be my normal curmudgeonly self because he was doing it for me! ImmigrationBob rocks.

So this second paper, once it exists, gives you the ability to make an appointment to go to another office and wait in another line to get your photo taken for a new card, and there may or may not be fingerprints involved, and after that you get a new paper and wait in a new line where you maybe receive the new ID card. Supposedly. ImmigrationBob will retrieve this magical second paper at a later time, when they (guffaw!) call him to let him know it’s ready.

I didn’t really need ImmigrationBob’s help; at this point my Spanish is at the stage where I can speak and make panties drop. GayBob told me over the phone the other day, “Your accent is perfect, I can’t even tell that you are an American.” I don’t know if he was buttering me up but I believe he was sincere; I have a talent for mocking foreigners in their own accents to the extent of inciting rage, so I shall believe him.

I enlisted ImmigrationBob’s services anyway because I just want to shut my brain down completely and have someone with the patience of Job drag me like a leashed zombie through the shell-shocking bureaucratic war zone while happy sugarplums danced in my head. He’s a cool guy anyways and it’s well worth the fees he charges to foist the horribleness of the bureaucracy onto his shoulders and have someone to hunker down with in the trenches and make suicide pacts with, should the enemy breach the skirmish lines. Charlies… the Charlies are breaking through… not enough ammo…

So we’re talking and he explains to me how so many folks here in Uruguay are planning to bail to Chile that he is considering bailing as well and making it a service of his to help folks get the F out. Interesting. I tell him it’s an excellent idea. We share war stories. Fun is had by all.

You know it’s got to be bad when a guy who makes a significant portion of his income dealing with Migraciones finds it to be so impossible that he considers taking all his clients to another country. That, and the looming axe over Argentina and the bloodletting that will happen here across the river shortly thereafter has got the Lords and Ladies of Mobility packing their bags.

I don’t know what else to do with that information other than to ask y’all to stick that in your pipes and smoke it.

Don’t be a serf. Be Mobility.

Not the continent, though it begs many questions which make us all go “hmmmmmm…” while we patiently wait for the EEC house-of-cards to crash-and-burn and the region to blow up into war, probably again started by the Germans but this time for good reason. First sentence and I digress!

I refer to the band.

In the past couple of days, there have been two mysteriously coincidental Europe references.

WifeBob and I were washing away our gout with happy-hour specials in a bar on Providencia, after having stuffed ourselves full on wine and chocolate at the Feria Comercial Salon del Chocolate (don’t rush out to go there, it’s over) and then burying that with a massive pile of greasy fries, sausage, grilled cheese bread and chunks of meat called something-I-can’t-remember-and-more-likely-blocked-out, from the Phone Box Pub.

One of the bartenders came over all ga-ga begging me for my autograph. I admit I was freshly-shaven and looking particularly ladykiller manly, but I had to explain to the poor guy that no, I am not famous, and smash his little dream to bits. “Who did you think I was?” I asked, and they told me that they all (the bartending staff) thought I was Ian Haugland, the drummer from Europe. Looking at his photos, I must say there is definitely a resemblance.

This is NOT ExpatBob but could be his evil doppleganger.

Then, today, the rubber-stamp guy at the counter of yet another bland government office was reading through our passport names which reminded him of a song by Europe. The band is stalking us, psychically.

Yesterday we got our temporary residency visas put into our passports, and today we got something-or-other done in a series of long, painful, pointless excercises of waiting in line and getting fingerprints taken, and being treated like utter crap by miserable deskjockeys, supposedly in order to get our official Chilean ID cards made.

During our wait, we were talking about how the lines were inhumanly long, there were no bathroom facilities, and the people behind the desks treated us like shite. If this were a private business, they would have been shut down (A) by lack of repeat business, and (B) by lack of having toilets for their customers. Seriously, it amazes me that nobody drops trou and goes on the floor in there. Or maybe they do…

Our immigration fixer, I must say, is a man of infinite patience and has excellent customer service skills. I feel like hugging him every day he helps us deal with bucketheads in the government offices. Chilean bucketheads are no worse, but not much better, than other SouthAm Government Bucketheads we have dealt with in the past.

I must also say that it is good to see such a multicultured group of immigrants moving to Chile, and in such numbers. Asians, blacks, whites, browns, tans, blondes, brunettes, and redheads. Immigrants are the building blocks of any society; it’s nice to see it happening in Chile.