Almost Brazilian

It's funny how accustomed I have become to life here. I recently went about trying to renew my visa, as the American tourist visa only lasts three months (not nearly long enough) before you have to renew it. You can do so for another three months, for a total of 6 months in Brazil per year.
The first step was to consult my trust Lonely Planet book, which said I could renew it at the Military Police station. Rodrigo and I tried to call, but got no answer. Thankfully we found their address on the web, so I took a bus to downtown Niteroi, bringing along money, my passport, entrance/exit card. I started this process a week early, because I just knew it wouldn't be an easy task. I arrived there, waited in line, and was told that I would need to go back, make my payment online, bring the receipt, along with a print out of my flight, a credit card and the other documents I already had. Cool.
What surprised me was that despite taking three hours out of my day to go get money, go downtown and return, I was completely unruffled by being turned down the first time. All I received for my efforts was a to-do list, which could easily have been posted online… or they could choose to answer the phone. Now, granted, visa applications in the US aren't always a smooth process either, but bureaucracy drives me crazy when I'm at home in the States. I expect all things to be quick, easy and efficient.
I returned home and found out that the government web site was nearly impossible to navigate, but after some searching, I realized I had misunderstood. I could not pay online, but could only put in my information, print out a form, which I then had to take to a bank in order to pay.
After doing all this, I went back downtown with all documents, filled out a few more forms, and returned home happily with my visa extension.
Yesterday, Rodrigo had to go to the police station to get some forms because his father had a bit of a car accident earlier this week. He was turned away because he was wearing sandals.
Rodrigo, being the exceedingly patient guy that he is, returned home, changed clothes and returned to the police station. He arrived at the window at 4:32, and was again turned down because the guy, despite being present at the window, said the place closed at 4:30.
Rodrigo finally returned this morning (dressed nicely) and was able to get his forms.
I could only laugh, but I'm glad that bureaucracy now only annoys me as much as it does other Brazilians.
Patience truly is a virtue.


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