January 30, 2009
I am such a scaredycat traveler. And I just had to face that and deal--and get over it.
I didn't know when I arrived here in Peru that I needed a visa for Brazil and a yellow fever immunization. When I found out, there wasn't enough time to get it before Musi and I left for Mancora. And then, we had to leave Mancora early enough so we could take taxis all around Limato the children's hospital and the Brazilian Embassy to accomplish the task at hand.
We arrived back in Lima yesterday, Thursday, and found out with a call that I couldn't get the vaccination until this morning. At least they started at 8:30 so we could get an early start and have a chance to get it all done in one day.
As I sat waiting for the "shot" I revisited my childhood experience of waiting in line listening to other screaming children, for my turn to get poked in the arm, trembling in my seat, wishing I could escape. I decided it was a good time to heal any childhood trauma that still resided within my cells, so as I sat waiting, I breathed deeply and told myself there was nothing to be afraid of. When it was my turn, the nurse who greeted me was very friendly. We established that she spoke a little English, and I spoke a little Spanish and she assured me there was nothing to be afraid of. She told me to look over there and do some panting breaths which I so cooperatively did. Before I knew it, it was over and I didn't feel a thing. I am looking at my arm still wondering if she did indeed inject me. Childhood injection trauma, adios.
From there, we took a taxi back over to our part of town to the Brazilian Embassy. After waiting in line for my turn, I was given the paperwork, told what I needed to return with, and informed that it would take two business days. (By the way, I didn't even need the yellow fever vaccination but my friend Diana told me that she had to get one for Africa so I decided that in the next 10 years that the shot is good for, I will have to go to Africa.)
There in the chair I was trying to figure out the best way to change my ticket to Cuzco as I leave early Monday morning and had not enough time back in Lima after Cuzco for the two business days.
We headed out the door to go on our scavenger hunt. First we found a shop to get the required picture taken, then went next door to get a photocopy of my credit card. On to the bank to pay and get a receipt for $130. We still had to go back to the house to get a copy of the itinerary showing my flight to Brazil. Somewhere in there we went to the Taca airlines office to check on changing the flight and found out it would cost $50 but I couldn't place a hold on it as I already had a flight booked so we had to take our chances that there would still be a seat if I needed it.
What do I mean, "IF" I needed it? Well, Musi said that we should still try and ask for the whole thing to be completed today. The office closed at noon but opened again at 4 for visa pickup. When we returned to the embassy around 11, we were able to jump to the front of the line and give Carmen all of the necessities. Musi explained our situation and Carmen said she would see what she could do but she couldn't promise. She was a very friendly and kind elderly Peruvian woman and gave us hope. Leaving that office, I just knew that it was going to happen. Carmen told us to call at 2:30 and she would let us know. When Musi called, she only got an answering machine so we were still unsure of the outcome. However a bit later she tried again and was able to speak with Carmen who told us exactly what we wanted to hear, that she pulled it off and I could come at 4:30 to pick it up.
This is where the scaredy cat part comes in. Musi had a dentist apt. at 4:00 which meant that I would have to take a taxi back to the Brazillan embassy alonein Lima. I was hoping that I would never have to do this as Lima is a big city and Musi tells me to lock the door as soon as we get into a taxi in Lima. However, considering the good fortune of getting the visa today, I was motivated to overcome my fear and just do it.
I wrote down on a pice of paper Embajada de Brasil a Pardo y Comandante Espinar and my return destination, Avenida de Ejercito 1750 frente a Puesto de Salud and off I went to catch my taxi. On the way there and on the way back I bartered with the taxi drivers to pay them the 5 soles we had been paying for this distance and was successful both times. I got to the office, went in and sat down in the line to wait my turn. I caught Carmen's eyes and next thing I know she called my name. I went up to the window and she handed me my passport with its new Brazillan Visa page and a receipt for the $130. ?Es todod? Si, es todo. Gracias, and she smiled and I danced out of the office with the magic in my hands. No changing the ticket, yipee! I will be in Cuzco, Monday as planned!