The Brazilian Visa Chase - Strike Two
Wind: North, fresh.
Weather: sunny, warm.
I got up relatively early this morning in order to get to the Brazilian consulate at opening time. I expected a bit of a queue but when I turned the corner onto the square I nearly turned around and gave up on the spot. The queue wrapped around the block and I had to follow it around two corners to find the end of it. At the last corner was a coffee shop and I decided to have a coffee and consider options. One: give up and sail past Brazil, probably not a good idea as I rather came unstuck last time I headed out into the Atlantic with the prospect of over 60 days without a break. Two: try for a Brazilian consulate in Cadiz, maybe the crowd will be less, that is assuming there is a consulate in Cadiz. Three: join the queue and persist. What bothered me was that I had a pretty good idea that if I got into the consulate before they closed that no doubt there would be some piece of paper, photo or the like that I needed and I would probably have to go through the whole process again. In the time that I had had my coffee and pondered these thoughts the queue had moved on a little so I opted for option three for now. Fortunately I had brought a book with me, nothing like a little bit of Kierkegaard to help pass the time.
About an hour and half later, "Fear and Trembling" finished and well into "A Sickness Unto Death", we made it around the block into the building, up the flight of stairs and in through the door. The man at the door spoke reasonable English. Excellent. With it he told me, "No more visa tickets left, come back tomorrow."
"Excuse me," I said, "What do you mean no more tickets?"
He points at his machine, "No more tickets left."
I am not going to leave quite that easily. " I still don't understand, what tickets?"
He amplifies a little, he said there are only 12 visa tickets issued today. This is obviously ridiculous, and I ask him, "I come back tomorrow and stand in this huge queue, how am I ever going to get one of these few tickets? And what are all these people here anyway?"
I sense he is starting to get a little irritated with me at this. He says, "I have to look after these other people, most of them do not want visas, many are Brazilians. You come back at 9 O'clock tomorrow and come straight here, do not go to the end of the queue." Ah, now we are making progress. One more thing, what paperwork do I need, he gives me the necessary form. I hate queues there is no way I am going to do this again in a hurry.
"Anything else? Photos?"
"Yes, photos, two, 5 by 7, dated."
"Obrigado." I leave.
There is always a small business somewhere near consulates which do passport photos and the like; a short walk around the corner and the photos were done.
It was now midday. I studied my tour guide with a view to spending the rest of the day doing a little sight seeing. According to my guide a must see is the Gulbenkian Museum, described as Lisbon's best museum, featuring an art collection spanning 2,000 years. It was a bit of a walk but I thought that would be good and I could see some sights along the way. I caught tram, the 'Elevador de Gloria Funicular', that took me down a steep incline, the carriage is level but the bogey is set at about a 30 degree angle, the angle of the incline, quite clever. I waited for a trolley load of tourists, obviously on a guided package, to disembark before boarding. A short ride later we were deposited on the 'Avende da Liberdade', a magnificent wide avenue with long narrow parks lining either side. I started my hike in the direction of the museum. As I walked several coach loads of tourists passed me going the opposite way, guides sitting in the front speaking into microphones. I suddenly felt overwhelmed and had to sit down on a nearby park bench. I felt I just couldn't go through with doing the tourist thing today and decided to head back to my boat and do a bit more painting instead.
So maybe won't get to see the art collection spanning 2,000 years. Not to worry, maybe tomorrow but I suspect not.
All is well.
. . . Zzzzzzzz.