For your visa you must not only report with your passport and visa to the Federal Police within thirty days, you must…
Taxi to airport, miles away. Fresh faced, good boy, here´s my passport and visa, thank you.
Where are your two photographs and documents?
These documents. These photographs. Fill them in, photocopy them and come back at 7.00am in the morning.
Go to town , get photographs, passport size, fill in documents. Up at 6.00 am, get taxi, arrive at 7.00 am. Already a queue. Doors open at 8.00. Form a queue to get number. Queue jumping, irritation rising. Get to counter 30 minutes later. These are the wrong size photographs, go to the end of the long corridor and obtain new ones and fill in this form.
Find shop, get several photographs, that´s ten pounds.
Get back to queue. Get my number. Queue for one hour. Go to official.
Looks at the latest form, which is only in Portuguese, not English, snarls in Portuguese because I left a piece of information out, takes me back to the front snarls at officer there, walks off. I´m at the back of the queue again.
Wait Get to the front and the officer fills in requires details about my father and mother´s name.
Get back in the Priority line (because I´m over 60) and then wait for another hour and a half to be summoned to another Officer.Of course you don´t know if it is going to be an hour and a half or six.
At last called up, goes through the documents. Great. Then the LOOK, finger prints. Yes, my fingers do have prints. Go to that queue and have them done. A SMALL queue. I thank God. Fingerprinted.
Back. A little wait. Yep, everything is in order….have you paid the fee? Well not yet, I thought you paid here.
Go to the bank at the other end of the airport and pay the fee.
Walk along forever, through shops and cafeteria, get to the bank, and pay, and return with slips showing I paid my 80 quid.
Small wait. Signed and stamped. I can stay in Brazil for one year she says. I will not reveal my thoughts in reply to that information because some people of delicate disposition read this little letter. However, more important, I am now at liberty to LEAVE the country. Wow. I thought, out of pocket, out of sorts, and I´m outa here!
And yet..and yet. Yes, it is boring to distraction, it is frustrating, annoying, dispiriting. And yet, in all that 5 and a half hours, I looked at the people there. A sea of faces, anxious, resigned, worried sometimes, patient, waiting, waiting, waiting… and the Officers and pitied them. Line after line, person after person, couple after couple, relentless, wave after wave of applicants, almost supplicants, paying homage to the great gods of bureaucracy, and they have to deal with them all. I said to my official, always the same, always like this? Yes. She says, everyday. I felt , believe it or not, sympathy, for them , for the people, for the situation. Of course I am annoyed, furious, but not at them, at the Brazilian Embassy in London for not forewarning me. But for the people in Brazil. Anger was dissipated and replaced by a sort of pity, or sadness. Stupid isn´t it.”