Red Tape, Red Tape Everywhere

Puzzled by red tape

Puzzled by red tape

For those of you wondering about the progress of the relationship between Kathryn and me, well, everything is doing great in the emotional department. We long to be with each other and I’ve never seen a couple that’s so well integrated in the intellectual level. But the distance that separates the two of us is a killer, though.

But that’s something we must endure to be finally together in the end,

However, we’re not doing that well in the red tape department. And regrettably, it’s my home country that’s just throwing inventive stumbling blocks in our direction to blanket the road ahead with nearly insurmountable hurdles: it took me 5 months to get my Birth Certificate (1 month just to find out where the hell I had to make the bloody request!!!), 4 weeks to access my background check (the government’s website hilariously called it 5 working days… and it was quite finicky with the e-mail address I used to register into it. For some unexplained reason there was a disclaimer that they won’t be accepting addresses that end with a Hotmail dot com domain. Doh!) … and now 3 weeks to get my passport photo taken.

Okay, you can laugh now.


Dudes and dudettes: You can’t find coffee, sugar and soap in this country anymore; is it too much to expect that I won’t be able to have a lousy picture taken in the right format?

Well, the pictures are required for us to kickstart the immigration filing process, but it happens now that the passport photo (2” x 2”) format has apparently gone the way of the dodo in my home country. Usually, you needed it in the past to apply for one at the Identification Office of your choice and well, that was it. However, nowadays this agency is doing all their photo requirements in-house, digitalizing your ugly mug and embedding it directly into the passport… so this practice of having your passport photo taken has fallen into disuse. Now they seem only able to offer you a carnet-sized shot, which is unsuitable since the framing doesn’t cover the basic passport format standard, as it’s taller than wider and it crops the shoulders.

And so started my quest,

I began my search in Caucagua; I wasted two days combing the area, asking everyone I knew where it was ever possible to perform this seemingly easy task with no results. No one made passport photos; only ID cards shots.

I then extended my search to the nearest couple of cities/towns.

That took me the best part of two weeks, with no results

I swallowed hard, realizing that this would require a visit to Caracas.

So, I made a lot of early work and spend three hours online searching for potential places to go (had to handwrite the addresses on a sheet of paper since my printer is bust) and made a lot of preparations for the trip. (I won’t go into the elaborate torture that using the local bus system is; you can read all about it in the “Venezuelan Bus Oddysey” series of blog posts.)

Of course, the day began badly as the first thing that went wrong was that I forgot the list, something which I realized when I was already boarding the bus. I also had issues with illegal operators that dared to charge me double fare. Sigh.

When I arrived to Caracas, I found out my folly; most of the places in my lists were either out of business (as online lists down here are hardly properly updated) or didn’t do the passport thing anymore. Well, just not to simply give up, I had my picture taken in the last place I went (a very ugly one that could put any police mug shot to shame) as a token attempt to prove that at least I tried, and I paid something extra to have it cropped in a way that somewhat resembled a passport photo.

Well, it didn’t work. I sent the scans to Kathryn the other day and no matter how much the pictures were tweaked, we couldn’t pass them as passport photos.

Double sigh.

Well, back to square one.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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