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Monday, July 7, 2008

Immigration in the Rain

Denise told me that my last post was dry and uninteresting. I like to think it was extremely informative, but it did lack pictures. Look! I have some pictures for this one.

Today we traveled to Maldonado (just inland from famous Punta del Este) to formally apply for our residency permit (cedula). It was a rainy day when we arrived at one of the nicest little bus terminals and were whisked on to immigration in a pale yellow taxi (the color of taxis in that area).

Peter Stross took us into the office and remarked that they had put on a few more people in an office formerly staffed by two women. We went to Maldonado because you can get an appointment the same day (sometimes in minutes), whereas the same appointment takes weeks or even months in the capitol. Once the application is made, the processing returns to Montevideo on the faster (not fast) track.

The operation was quite smooth. Documents examined and then the girl typed out (on a manual typewriter) the necessary forms and fingerprint cards. We were fingerprinted and in less than 1/2 hour we were finished with the process. After this was over, we stepped outside and Peter and Denise are pictured in front of the office. You would never find this office, tucked away on a side street, so we were glad Peter took us.

Then we took a stroll through Maldonado on the way back to the terminal. We were very impressed. It was a beautiful city. Much like a small, manageable Montevideo. I think we could find anything we would want in Maldonado. I have seen many posts indicating that Punta del Este is a "ghost town" in the off season. That may be relatively true, but minutes away is one of the nicest and most extensive towns that we could imagine. If we had the money to buy in Punta (which we wouldn't ever have) I wouldn't hesitate, knowing that Maldonado is next door. Back to the hotel for a rainy day, but we accomplished much.

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