Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Almost ready, not quite

The past few days have been a rash of bureacratic nonsense in preparation for our departure. Turns out American Airlines won't issue tickets to people outside America, requiring three overseas phone calls to reserve our booking and then a trip to a local travel agent to actually purchase the tickets. I really thought AA was a much more global company than that, but I guess not.

Then the boxes that I thought would be no big deal were held up at customs because I didn't itemize, weigh and provide the value of every single issue of Wired magazine that we sent back. I don't even want to say what my valuation of said dust-collecting items would be compared to Jeff, faithful subscriber and collector since God knows when.

For a while we've been concerned that Jeff would have trouble leaving the country as his work visa expired earlier this month, even though we submitted the renewal paperwork months ago. Come to find out the new visas have been waiting to be picked up at some Ministry office, but we never received the letter of declaration saying so. No letter means no visa. We had to get lawyers involved to speed up the process, requiring more company letterhead allowing them to (hopefully) pick up the visas on our behalf — ONLY after I dropped off our new health declarations signed in blood (just kidding), passports and old visas.

So here I am taking care of all this very "official" business and I get to this lawyer's office this afternoon and there's not a soul in sight. After I started hunting the halls for a live body, I found a hapless worker-bee who informed me that it's lunchtime so everyone is out. It was really the strangest thing, even the phone system shut down for lunch, as I couldn't even leave a voice message for our lawyer. I ended up waiting until 2:15 until the office receptionist came back and I could leave our things with her.

Tomorrow I get to go back to the lawyer's office and collect our things, although this time I'll try to avoid naptime.