Visa Attempt #2:
Yesterday was a LOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGGGGG day...we left the house a little after 9am to get my Visa and returned around 6pm, without my Visa.
|I sat on the little green chair to get my Visa photo taken...|
|The Visa photos are printed in the back of a VW van...|
At 10am, we arrived back at Window 11. Yesterday the Immigration Woman at Window 11 had said that if we came back to her with all of my documents, I would get my Visa. Haha. After waiting behind some missionaries who didn't have the "correct" Visa documents, it was my turn. I handed over everything. The Immigration Woman looked through all my documents and said that I did indeed have everything that I needed (YAY!!!!!), so I could now get a ticket and get in line. FYI---remember those things that she told me were "required" and I didn't believe her?...Well, I didn't give them to her and she didn't even notice...hahaha...guess they weren't required after all!!! I said, "What do you mean 'get in line'???...I thought that this is where I get my Visa???". Turns out I DID have to get a ticket and get in line to wait, but they only give out 100 tickets in the morning and 100 tickets in the afternoon...AND I had already missed my chance to get a ticket, get in line and be seen in the morning. So, the Immigration Woman told me to go outside, get in line and wait until 2:30pm when they re-open and give out new numbers. I went outside, planning on getting in the line and waiting 4 1/2 hours to get a number, but there wasn't a line. So, I went back inside and talked to the man who gives out tickets. He told me that I could leave, come back around 1pm and get in the line to receive a ticket at 2:30pm when they re-open after lunch.
|Lunch while we waiting to go back to the Immigration Office!|
Visa Attempt #3:
At 12:30pm, Nick and I walked over to the Immigration Office again so that we could get in line to get our ticket. I don't know what happened, but on the walk over, I started to get an insane stomach ache. By the time we arrived at the Immigration Office and got in line, we were about 10 people away from the door and I had to sit on the ground because the pain was so intense. It finally got to the point where I knew I had to find a public bathroom...I asked around and there was not one anywhere close by. Without even thinking, I grabbed Nick and said that we had to go home, as I am frantically flagging down a Taxi driver. By the time we made it back to our apartment, I was seriously thinking crazy things like, "When I have a baby, I am definitely taking the epidural...no way I am doing a natural birth!!!!!". Seriously, my stomach was NOT happy. I was having heat waves come off of me and I felt faint. I have been so anxious about my Visa that I honestly think that I made myself sick.
Visa Attempt #4
We got back and the line was only about 4 people. I figured that people got tired of waiting and left. So, I went over near the front to sit down next to this woman. She quickly let me know that everyone was taking naps in the park and that I was number 35 in line. They had all apparently written down their numbers on their arms and left the line, but were planning on coming back to their same spot after their nap. Makes sense. So, as we sat there and fried in the sun, we saved places for 31 people who were enjoying the cool grass and shade 50 feet in front of us.
By 2:30pm, people started coming back to get their place in line...everyone was arguing and comparing their arms for numbers to see who was in front of who. New people had arrived and were angry when all these people woke up from siesta and walked over to push back into the front. Then, all sorts of people starting walking up to gate without plans to even get in line at all...Nick and I were so worried that we weren't going to be one of the first 100 people and we weren't going to get a ticket to be seen today. Finally, when the Immigration Office opened, the police started letting people in and trying to be fair to who was first...there were lots of unhappy people. When I was trying to get through the gate, the police was having to hold back this big girl that was trying to push through and get in first...scary!!!
We finally got inside, got our ticket and began our wait. My number was called and I walked over to Window 1. I hoped that I was going to have a man and I was planning on flirting...just being honest (I was in survival mode at this point and Nick gave me permission)!!! I handed over all of my paperwork, he looked through it and said that I was missing Juana's signature on the letter of invitation. I thought I was going to be sick and I must have looked it, because he quickly told me that I can just sign it for her. I was totally confused and kept asking, "Do you want MY signature or Juana's signature?". He kept saying that it didn't matter and that I should just quickly sign whatever name I wanted. I guess my sweet talking was paying off!!!!! So, he filled out everything for me, handed me my documents, plus some more and told me that I have two choices...go to Banco Union to pay for my Visa or wait here until 4:30pm to pay at Window 6. I told him that I was told that HE was going to give me my Visa...he said no, that I would get it at Window 6. At this point, it was 4pm so I decided to wait.
As soon as 4:30pm rolled around, Nick and I went to stand in front of Window 6 to pay for my Visa. The same Immigration Officer that "helped" us at the airport 29 days ago arrived and sat down at Window 5. He saw us and asked if we were here for our Visa...I said yes. He called us over to Window 5 and we paid 210 Bolivianos (a lot less than the 2,500 Bolivianos and then the 360 Bolivianos that the Immigration Woman said that we would owe). We were handed a Receipt, told to go outside to make 2 photocopies (gotta love the photocopies), get another ticket and get back in line again. I told him that I was told that HE was going to give me my Visa...he said no, that I would get it at Window 4. I asked him several times to make sure what we were supposed to do because I couldn't believe that we had to get BACK IN LINE!!!
After going outside and getting out photocopies of our Receipt, we came back in, got another ticket and got back in line again. Finally our number was called and we went up to Window 4. Again, our documents were looked through very thoroughly. I was photographed and fingerprinted and then told to come back tomorrow. Ummm...What?!?!??! I told him that I was told that HE was going to give me my Visa...he said no, that I would get it at Window 9 tomorrow. Yep, they kept ALL of my documents AND my passport and told me come back tomorrow. I told that Immigration Officer that I was uncomfortable leaving my passport. He assured me that they would take good care of it and gave me a piece of paper that I can use as my "proof" that my documents and passport are in their hands. Great.
So, at that point, it had been two days. LOTS of different information from each Immigration Officer and still no Visa. I have visited Window 11 two times, Window 1, Window 6, Window 5 and Window 4. At EVERY SINGLE WINDOW, the Immigration Officers tell me that I will get my Visa at the NEXT Window. So, today we are supposed to go at 5pm to Window 9...because THEY are going to give me my Visa. I'll believe it when I see it!!!!!!!
Nick and I got home around 6pm last night and were both totally fried from waiting so many hours out in the sun.
Please pray with us today that when we return to Immigration at 5pm (for Visa Attempt #5) and walk up to Window 9, that they will have my Visa ready!!!
Visa Attempt #5 was a fail. We got to the Immigration Office, got a ticket, got in line to wait to visit Window 9 and then were told to come back TOMORROW at 5pm.
Visa Attempt #6 was a SUCESS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now, I am good until February 27th...yay!!!!!!!!