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How to stress out your normally mellow mom:
1) Plan to meet your family on Sunday night given that they've flown thousands of miles to see you and that they've been in Buenos Aires (BA) for three days on their own while you've been hanging out on the beach in Uruguay.
2) Forget your passport in Uruguay because you have a fever and feel lousy and are not thinking straight...which necessitates a 5-hour bus ride back to the hotel (after having just completed a 5-hour bus ride), arriving at 2am or so, retrieve passport, sleep on the hotel's couch for a couple of hours, and take bus to Montevideo airport to catch first plane to BA so that you can meet family in time to board plane to Patagonia at noon (but at least your fever has abated). In the meantime, your parents have to go to your apartment to meet your host family whose English is not much better than their pathetic Spanish so they (your parents) can pack a bag for you and exchange money at the unofficial rate because apparently no one exchanges money legally in Argentina.
3) Arrive in BA early enough on Mon to meet family and drop off stuff at apartment. However, no time to go to Brazilian consulate as planned to apply for Brazilian visa.
4) Go to Patagonia with family. Have a wonderful time.
5) Return to BA late Friday night. Spend weekend showing family more of BA.
6) Discover, much to your surprise, that Monday is Immaculate Conception Day -- which means that the Brazilian consulate (as well as most of BA) is closed. Apparently, this is a holiday celebrated by much of the world.
7) Leave at 7am for flight to Iguazu Falls. For some reason (inexplicable to your mother), assume copy of passport is as valid as actual passport. Fortunately, able to convince airport personnel after stressful conversation that it is. Board flight. Spend wonderful afternoon at the spectacular Falls on the Argentine side.
8) The following day, attempt to go to what's supposed to be the even-more-spectacular Brazilian side of the Falls...without passport and without visa. Border guy doesn't take more than a minute or two to say "sorry, but no way in hell are we letting you into our country without a passport and without any proof that you've paid the $160 visa fee to spend less than 6 hours looking at our side of the Falls" or words to that effect.
9) C'est la vie -- return to hotel (with Mom and Grandma who did indeed pay the fee and obtain their visas so they could see the Falls from the Brazilian side).
10) Fly back to BA the following day -- once again getting pulled out of line and having to explain to airport personnel (once again) why copy of passport is as good as actual passport. Fortunately, Argentines are rather forgiving, even if baffled (as is your mother) as to the cluelessness of 20-year-olds who have spent the last 4 months in Argentina.
11) OK -- Not getting to the Brazilian side of the Falls may not have been a big deal, but you and your mom have non-refundable plane flights and hotel reservations for Rio de Janeiro (WHICH IS IN BRAZIL) leaving Monday afternoon...and you no longer have an appointment at the Brazilian consulate and the consulate is closed for visa applications in the afternoons. So, the new plan is to go early on Friday morning and pray to the gods, goddesses, or whoever will listen that you can pick up your visa on Mon morning (because even your mom's good nature has its limits).
To be continued....
1) Go to Brazilian consulate...without appointment. Beg consulate dude to help you. He finally and grudgingly relents. System crashes. He thinks that system may be fixed over the weekend.
2) Text Mom, proposing different options. She does not think that sneaking across the border is a good idea. Nor is she enthusiastic about proposal to take one of your friends instead.
To be continued...
Last Edited on: 12/17/14 9:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Rolling on the floor laughing from the non-passport required environs of Oklahoma is probably not what you want to hear; nonetheless, that's what Linda & I are doing.
Try to stay out of jail, and as the Brits say, "Stiff upper lip and all that rot."
Linda & I are eagerly waiting the next installment of this saga.
Do stay safe, (& sober)!
The saga concludes:
After getting kicked out of Brazilian consulate, spend entire afternoon at two different airline offices, with mom, rebooking flights. We're now going to Valparaiso, Chile instead of Rio. Regardless, Mom's good humor has apparently evaporated. (She probably won't make non-refundable hotel reservations again. Ever.) Time for Argentine wine...a fair amount of it, judging from Mom's demeanor.
Note from Mom: Yes, I'm sure one day (in the far-off future), I'll be laughing. But right now...not so much.
Addendum: If any of you have a Brazilian visa, hop on down to Rio. There's an already-paid-for hotel room on the beach in Copacabana (lovely, I hear) that you are welcome to stay in for the next few days. My compliments.
Well Deb, I guess I don't have to ask you what you thought of Argentina! I think I need to pass this on to my DD and Granddaughter. - LOL!
So sorry you had to have an experience like this. :( Welcome home!!!!
Not home quite yet...enjoying Vina del Mar/Valparaiso in Chile. Back to BA on Sat and home on Mon.
Advice to your granddaughter (if she wants to go to Brazil): Don't disrespect the country (by trying to obtain a visa without an appointment despite the fact that most American students in BA do). More importantly, listen to your mother. Always.
Oh, dear. Horrible and awful and ... maybe funny some day ... or not.
Reminds me of an incident with my sister more than 10 years ago. Only she didn't have the excuse of being 20-- she was in her 30s. She and her hubby go on their first "real" vacation, just the two of them, 10 year anniversary, if I recall. Carribean cruise. US Citizen with no passport? No problem, not needed (back then) just your birth certificate. When she goes to embark, she's advised she wouldn't be allowed back into the country. Because she was actually born in Canada not US, so her birth certificate did NOT prove her citizenship. She ended up sitting in a hotel room in Miami while he went on the cruise.
She still does not think it funny.