Sunday, July 8, 2012

Easy As 1, 2, 3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3

To Do List For HFH Trip in July:
#4  Get tourist visa from Brazilian consulate

It seems like an easy task to cross off my list.  I simply needed to 1.  fill out an application online and print out a copy, 2.  get two passport photos taken, 3.  obtain a money order from the post office and 4.  drop it all off at the consulate.

Funny thing about To Do lists, though.  The tasks written on them are never easy.  If they were, we would do them right away.  And when you're trying to complete a task, you end up creating more.  

That was certainly the case a few weeks ago when I journeyed into D.C. with a couple of HFH Brazil teammates to get our visas.  To cross off #4 on my list, here's what else had to be done:

3.1  Find a parking space in D.C. and then figure out how to get out of the driver's seat!

3.2  Take a ticket upon entering the consulate.  Learn that your number will eventually be called, but not in the order of arrival.  You may find yourself waiting more than an hour while the person who just walked in might only wait five minutes.  If someone ahead of you forgot some paperwork, it's okay because he can leave to get it and walk right back up to the counter, adding to your wait.  

3.3  Talk with the security guard who looked just like Matt Dillon if he was Brazilian and talked like a character from a mafia movie.  Okay, this wasn't necessary to get our visas, but he was fascinating!

3.4  Try to learn Brazilian Portuguese.  Signs like the ones below were posted everywhere throughout the consulate and we learned that some of the staff was on strike.  Couldn't figure out the x-x-x, though.  Was it a extra big strike or an triple x-rated strike? Tricky language!

3.5  Learn about Brazilian culture and current events.  We weren't the lucky ones who only had to wait a few minutes for help, so we watched Brazilian cartoons

and discussed the woman in a huge photo on the wall.  It's obviously the Brazilian president, but ten points if you know her name without looking it up.  We didn't!

3.6  Bring a glue stick if you really want to be prepared.  Once called to the front counter, the clerk will take your applications and attach the photos with a glue stick.  Yes, a glue stick.  Maureen had thought ahead and brought her own. 

3. 7  Finally, be prepared to repeat Steps 3.1-3.5 again in a week to pick-up the visa!

I can happily say that I've been able to cross off #4 from my To Do List.  

love the mugshot on my visa??

Now, time to tackle #10:  Get a Yellow Fever Vaccine Shot.  Who knows where that will lead??

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