As we sat down to write this blog, it being two weeks since our last blog, we started to scratch our heads thinking what has happened worth writing about. Given the difficulty we realised that this was a sign; a sign that life has assumed as sense of normality here in Lima. We are no longer surprised by most of what is happening around us (roadworks being dug by hand, cars driving through brick walls and the wall being repaired within 24 hours, cars driving the wrong way down one way streets, an earth tremor or two, etc). Even the weather is somewhat normal, with frequent clear blue skies and sun in the afternoons (apparently very unusual but we don’t know that). We don’t even have any photos from the last two weeks.
So, we wont bore you with the seemingly uneventful (to us at least), but there were a couple of things worth mentioning.
On Thursday 3 September we ventured out with apprehension to our appointment with the Immigration Department in downtown Lima to get our residency approved. Our experience earlier at Interpol had not left us very optimistic. But, we were pleasantly surprised, thanks to the ongoing support of the people in the travel office. A hire car(nice taxi) picked us up. The traffic in the middle of the day wasn’t too bad and we made good time. As we got to the city centre the driver told us to put up the windows and he locked the doors. Not a good part of town. We walked into Immigration and were met by Christian, the same young man who helped us at Interpol. Five minutes later we had a number and headed upstairs to wait for our turn.
We noticed that the numbers that flashed up on the screens were not in numerical order and found out later that priority is given to those over 60. We have seen many examples of individual and community respect for their senior citizens (as well as half price fares and tickets that we are not eligible for yet). Anyway we noticed the batch of paperwork handed to us included various certificates and legal papers, all of which was in order and all we had to do was sign in a couple of places. We didn’t even have to use Spanish, although Lesley walked up to the counter and before they could say anything she said “Lo siento, no hablo Español muy bien” [I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish very well], with her best “I don’t know what I am doing” smile. We headed downstairs, thanked Christian for helping us again, and got back in the same car and were driven back to the office, again with relatively smooth traffic. All up it took us just under three hours. We are very grateful for the support given to us to make it as smooth as possible. We dread think of trying to do the paperwork and everything else on our own. We felt even more grateful when we later read of the experience our good friends Neville and Penny Rochow had battling the bureaucracy in Belgium when they had to go to Immigration there.
Last Friday Craig was playing tennis at lunch time with the other doctor, which he has taken to doing two to three days a week in recent weeks. He hasn’t played for about 20 plus years, so his brain knows what to do, but his body has no idea! So as he stretched to make a Roger Federer type return he felt sudden pain in his right hamstring and hobbled off. One of the other players who came to offer assistance is a Catholic priest who is often there. He got some heat ointment out of his bag and, in Spanish, offered it to Craig to help, which was very kind. So in a way Craig was anointed by a Catholic priest, but hopefully not los últimos ritos (the last rites) !!
We will see what the next few weeks bring.