Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"But his visa is expired."

Is it that time already? It seems like just yesterday that I lost my passport and suffered a prolonged bout of insanity...wait a sec that was yesterday! No not really, I was just fishing for a more dramatic start to this posting.
Actually when I look back on what has happened in the last few months things have continued on their normal abnormal course. After we got back to Angola we were thrilled to learn that my (Gary's) residency visa was ready in Luanda. This will hopefully make our visa adventures a little less frequent. Whilst in Luanda to get the visa my kidneys decided that they were tired of packing around some extra weight and therefore ejected a couple stones they didn't want anymore! I guess the bright side of the whole experience was getting to observe first hand the level of medical care available in Angola. The doctor was actually pretty good, she got me IV'd up and on pain killers right away, but whilst I lay writhing on the examining table she merrily continued to see other patients in the same room, I re-assured them that I wasn't dying...yet. All in all it went pretty well.
After getting back from Luanda we discovered that Matt had done a number on his knee that would require surgery. The choice was get it done right away in Angola and be laid up for six months recuperating with a cast or wait a month and a half and have it done in Windhoek where he would be walking on it the same day. It also worked out that Tammy and Matt's visas would expire at that time so why not kill two birds with one stone. ( Just so you all know, no birds were harmed in the writing of this blog.) The surgery went well and the visas arrived on time and we headed back to Angola eager to be in our own house again.
The crossing of the border went reasonably well considering that there were seven of us. We were traveling back with some good friends and a new couple has come with MAF to work at one of the mission hospitals. My passport was the only one that caused any real problems. The conversation with the immigration officer went something like this.

Immigration Officer,"I see that your visa has expired"
Gary, "Yes that particular one has expired, but I am in the country on this other visa"
Immigration Officer,"Yes, but I see that your visa has expired"
Gary, "Yes that particular one has expired, but I am in the country on this other visa"
Immigration Officer,"Yes, but what worries me is that your visa has expired"
Gary," Yes that one has expired, but this is the new visa they have given me to use and it hasn't expired."
Immigration Officer, "Hmmmmm, but it is only a piece of paper?"
Gary,"Yes, that is what they give until the actual plastic card arrives, it takes a long time for the card to come."
Other Immigration Officers,"That is true, it takes a very long time."
Immigration Officer,"But his visa is expired."
Other Immigration Officers, "Yes, but that is not his visa, the piece of paper is."
Immigration Officer,"But his visa is expired."
Other Immigration Officers,"Look, it is fine, he can come and go as he pleases with the piece of paper!"

At that point I am not sure who stamped my passport to let me in, I am just glad that they did.


Knightly Krafts said...

I am wondering if you killed the two birds with one of your kidney stones... just askin'??? Don't you just love the border crossings... I know I did... it was a chance to wait in the hot sun for hours, listen to completely unreasonable officers trying to get some extra cash, get a little frustrated, and then in the end cry after 6 hours of dealing with crazy people! Ok I don't miss any of that... but I do miss Angola!

Ashley Scott said...

Oh the joys of visas! Glad you all are doing well!