The journey commences, we are wading through the seemingly never ending marsh of clerical joy, wiping the administrative bum ever hopeful for the return of a clean square of toilet paper. The journey now takes us to the Australian embassy, a necessary step along the way, we need to get a statutory declaration detailing the recent events for our banks, so much fun there just aren’t enough words. This promises to be a relatively easy tick-box on the way but a slice of time we can’t avoid none the less. Entering the offices we are stared down at by the warm fatherly face of compassion that we all know and adore, our fearless leader and wordsmith, Tony Abbott. Oh and there’s Julie, could there be a clearer image to inspire feelings of protective maternal nurture? I poke fun here of course, I can’t help it but it is undeniable that it feels nice to be dealing with ‘home’ at least in some way.
We’re greeted by Cecilia, the lady we spoke to in our anxious state from Trujillo, she connects the dots of who we are and we’re under way. We proceed to put flesh on the bones of the story she knows, explaining our difficult circumstances particularly relating to having a very hard time getting hold of money. Thankfully we do have passports so all we need is a stat-dec, a piece of A4 paper and we’ll be on our way. Soaking up the details Cecilia hands us the stat-dec form and directs us to sit down as she goes about her day. All going well we recount our events uncertain why the bank needs it rewritten when it’s all on the police report but anyhow, through the hoops we jump.
After a short wait we are called up and unless we’re completely misreading things here, we’re in business. Appearances can be deceiving. On handing over the stat-dec’s we’re informed that the embassy charges for notarial acts; um, excuse me? Yes that’s right this is a notarial act and it’s $26USD each for the signature. Did you hear the jaw hitting the ground too? Ironically there’s a promo plaque right beside the desk proudly declaring ‘Helping Australians Abroad’ to which I point as I repeat the line possibly a little too abruptly. After reiterating the whole don’t-really-have-money part of the saga Cecilia looks a little bashful and concedes that this is possibly a little bit of a unique situation so she’ll go ask if the two signatures really need to be paid for by, ahem, Australians abroad in need of help. Again we wait, this time more amazed than comforted, Julie I’m not feeling the love right now.
As we wait I can’t help taking a closer look a the plaque. Carefully worded it seems that the embassy can generate passports but that’s about it, they don’t ‘do’ anything. They proudly proclaim that they can advise and offer information available on the internet anyway but they won’t action or do anything, good to know. After seething for a short while we’re called back and told that the payment simply must stand which we expected, no exceptions. We’re pretty blown away and can’t help but express our frustration, but there is hope, we can file a formal complaint to the Australian Treasury Department if we feel we’ve been hard done by, code for get F….. if in any language. Because we have time enough right now to go on that wild goose chase, this really is an exercise in over regulated Aussie bureaucracy to write home about, literally. And this time it’s not even Tony or Julie’s fault, our anger wasted on the juggernaut of governmental red tape.
The small concession we are offered is to be able use a telephone to call our bank: the height of generosity. Across a table from a slightly embarrassed looking Cecilia we explain the embassies fee for a stat-dec to the bank and attempt to clarify if it’s entirely necessary. The bank here is pretty understanding and it looks as though it’s procedure to get one but we can do without it after all if getting one is quite difficult, take note Aussie embassy. And the circle completes, this entire visit is essentially for nothing more than the comic fodder to write a blog post, a worthy exercise in this otherwise monotonous week I guess.
With nearly half a day wasted we need coffee, this is set to be a routine theme for us this week. On the plus side we are getting some way into finding good coffee, two places now are producing tasty cortados so all is not lost. Sitting down to our delicious little cups of joy we find ourselves appreciating more and more just how fastidious this week is going to be. I sense two racing time lines here; on one hand we progress through all our chores and on the other we have dwindling stores of patience. We wonder now which timeline will reach maturity first? And indeed the result, time will tell.