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Edge of Chaos 2011/2012

Bogota and the visa debarcle (18-19 april)

COLOMBIA | Wednesday, 20 April 2011 | Views [558]

Medillin was not to be on the 18th as it was decided that instead of fork out an extra $1200 for flights i should try and obtain a us tourist visa..so, with no idea what was going on (all the websites were in spanish) i headed off to the US embassy..

THe embassy looked more like a prison/factory line as i, along with hundreds and hundreds of other colombians, were greeted by huge line and fleeting rain.. THe day went a little like this:

after lining up they tell me to go and fill out the appropriate forms, its all in spanish, i find some random little shop (after strolling aimlessly for 40 mins), they sit down and help me fill the forms in, scan some new photos, point me in the direction of the bank..so i go back to the embassy, they squeeze me in (for what i thought was an interview, it wasnt), i wait, then they tell me i cant get a visa appointment for a month haha..so i come bck to the hostel ring US immigration to see if i cant get through the country on stop overs, the guy doesnt know, directs me to a another organisation..i try to ring them, the number is disconnected...im starring down the barrell of around $1200 in lost and new flights..i send a frantic email back to the US embassy in bogota, get an automated response, they finally reply, i give them my details, they ring the hostel and they squeeze me in again tomorrow morning at 7am for an interview..

By this stage i was complety rooted and craving sleep, so i watched a movie, had some pizza and dived head first into a land of fairy tales, and no embassys..

THe next day was, in its own unique style almost as commical..i get to the bank at 7, the atms not working, so i go to another one, it completes the transaction but spits out no money..$150 gone..i find another atm, it works and i pay the $140 visa fee..

Again i line up in the rain with hundres of colombians..after 2 hours i get to the appointment 2 hours late..the guy behind the counter is ameican and i get along well with him..he helps me immensly and states that my visa will be ready by 1pm..great..so i wait until 1pm (sneak a hair cut and coffee in, and the coffee was delicious)and line back up..once in i line up again and approach the desk..they tell me that the visa isnt ready yet but to sit and wait..at 4pm (they closed at 4.30)they say its still not ready and most likly come back tomorrow (the though of which has me planning how to commit a mass murder rather than return)..i find my tennis ball and my anger subsides with this sensical relief..Adding to my good mood was the fact that out of 600 colombians there were only 3 of us left..and one woman would have to be the most beautiful woman i have ever seen..a magnificent way to distract the thoughhts for a couple of hours..

At 4.30, to all our relief they hand over the passports and visas..off the medillin tonight!!!!! City of the most beautiful women in the world, or so it is famed (and pablo escobar)..yew

to the credit of the people (employees and other visa seekers) there they did help immensly in every way they could, often ushering the stupid gringo to the front of the que, making sure i understood what was going on and ensuring i was in the right place at the right time...without such help it could have taken months...as is widley talked about, up until this stage anyway, the colombian people have been amazing and extremely kind in every way..

great experience, horrible way to spend 2 days..yew

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