Bureaucracy, the Federal Police and pinky promising a man carrying an AK47

A Never Ending Tale

I was all prepared to write a long and very angry post about the Federal Police and all the hoops I had to jump through in order to register and get some form of identification. Well, I am sick of thinking of them and talk about them, so you get the shortened version.

First attempt– Realize we both need to print out the forms and pay the ridiculous $200 fee at Banco do Brazil. We have no idea were we need to go, and by the time we figure it out, it is already past 11 AM (this is when they stop serving foreigners)

Second attempt- After more than an hour and a hot, sweaty and packed city bus, we get to the federal police station and guess what….they are on strike. No one is working and we are turned away. I made the police officer pinky promise me that they would be open and working on Monday. I never thought I would pinky promise a man holding an AK47.

Third attempt- We are finally able to get in the office and talk to one of the people in charge of registering foreigners. He sits me down first and then walks away to find the checklist since he obviously has no idea what is looking for or doing. After about 20 minutes he comes back with the paper. He starts listing numerous problems with my documents and tries taking papers away from me. I told him that unless I was getting my new protocolo today, I needed to hold on to my visa application from the Brazilian embassy. Instead of helping me and simply telling me what needed to be fixed,  he said things like, “I don’t care who your coordinator is and why does she think she knows how we work here” or “how could you be so dumb and not realize that your dad’s name was spelled wrong” (it was misspelled by one letter). Needless to say, I started crying. It was a mixture of built of stress and extreme hatred for Brazil, the heat and the man sitting in front of me. He did the same thing to Sarah. This man was and has been the only Brazilian to treat me like this.

Fourth attempt– The asshole was gone! I thought I had a chance. I made all the necessary changes (expect for the mistake on my visa) and was hoping the wouldn’t notice it today. Sarah went first and got hers! It was about 10 o’clock when it was finally my turn (remember I only have until 11 o’clock). She asked me to stand at the desk and get all my papers ready. She then disappeared. Since this happened last time, I assumed she would be back soon. I was delighted to see her walking back down the hallway after only five minutes, but my heart was soon crushed when she shut and locked the door. I asked Shalon what was going on. He said he didn’t know but that everything would be fine. We waited…..10:20…and waited…….10:30…. and waited……10:45 we asked the man at the desk and said that she had to leave because there was a dead body discovered on a boat that had just pulled into the harbor. Meu Deus! Apparently no one else at the federal prison knows how to look at official documents and a passport and take my finger prints, so I am turned away once again.

Fifth attempt- After waiting for an hour and almost having a heart attack while they looked over my papers, I finally get registered with the federal police.

…..I get home and realize they spelled my name wrong on the card.

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