Truly....how hard can getting a driver's license be?
All we need to do is start with Step 1:
1. Make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy. We are in luck! This week the embassy was coming to Boquete. They make this trip every 3 months or so and lucky for us, it was today!!!! So, I make my reservation online for both my husband and I.
We leave the house with over an hour of extra time to allow issues at the bank. We get there and it is closed. Yep....in a country that is primarily Catholic, our bank is closed for a Jewish holiday. Here in Panama, you can only get certified checks at banks that actually offer the service and only if you have an account there. So....no certified check, no meeting with the embassy here in Boquete. We are now looking at a 5-7 hour bus ride to Panama City, a hotel night, taxi drivers and a 5-7 hour drive back on a day after we can get a certified check.
We now have an hour to waste before we pick up the boy from school, so we go to the farmer's market and as we are walking back towards the school we see a friend, actually the guy that came up with company name, Finca Casanga. After talking to him telling him our problem, he tells us to go to another bank. Yes, it was just our chain of banks that closed, not other banks. He kindly offered to get us the bank checks at his bank. So, Rick waits at the school for our son and I go to another bank with our friend. Yay!!!!
With the checks in hand we look at the map and try to find the hotel. It turns out they have started some of the road construction along the way and we had to double back a few times, but we found the hotel, but we are extremely early. (We had allotted extra time for things...we are getting smarter.) Turns out, all of the chairs are already occupied with people who had also come early. So, I guess we might have been late.....not sure on that one.
Forty (40) minutes later the embassy people show up. What a mess! There were different tables for different services, there was the sign-up when we arrived and there were the tickets everyone should have had if they had made the online reservation, but none of those things helped to organize these 80 or so Americans.
If you put that many Americans in one place, there is bound to be some humor to be found. Such as the person that was there to get a "Proof of Life." I think this form is for people that get social security and have to prove they are still alive, not quite sure since I have never had to get one of these forms yet. However, the person that needed the "Proof of Life" did not show up, but sent a friend in his place. Not quite sure how that works! I did not get to see how that played out..... :)
By the time we left, we had a notary stamp on our photocopies of our driver's licenses. So, we get to go to Step 2. Was a close one today!
Step 2 (to come at a later date): Now have Panama verify that the U.S. Embassy stamp on our copies is authentic. This can only be done in Panama City - the 5-7 hour drive that I mentioned above. However, I hear that we can have an agent or courier do this next part for us. If so, that will be well worth it!!!!
Step 3: Should we actually get the photocopy back from the government building in Panama City with all the right stamps on it, we then go get blood typed and take everything to their DMV. Then we get to take the vision test, hearing test...etc.
After all of this, I decide we should eat dinner in town. I had not set out anything to cook and I was ready to eat. We drive by the one restaurant we know of that takes plastic. Most restaurants are cash only. We would have had money, cash, if our bank had been open, but since it was not, we barely had enough cash to give to our friend for the bank checks. However, the restaurant we planned on going to has a sign out front saying they are closed for cleaning today. I really do not think they were cleaning, since no one was there, I think it was just a day-off. :)
We go to our back-up restaurant, they have an open sign in the window. Yay! But the doors are locked and it is very clearly closed. So, we give up and go home for quick frozen burritos. Halfway through cooking the first burrito in the microwave, the power goes out....ugh! We make a sandwich for the boy and a little while later the power returns and my wonderful husband finishes making dinner.
Then my husband tells me he wants me to fix his pants. I remind him that with a statement like that, it is going on the blog...haha.
He has been so busy here, he has actually lost weight! That is not to say that his pants ever fit...but now they are 8 sizes too big! Now, even he recognizes that the belt does not do a good job of holding them up without looking goofy. I will not mention here that I had bought him a pair in his own size before we left the States and that he won't wear them, because he says they are for special occasions only.
So, he is threatening to do some magical sewing to make them stay up himself if I don't fix them! Yikes...it is worse than the boots with the shorts. Thankfully I do not know enough Spanish yet to understand if anyone makes fun of him walking down the street....haha.
The picture does not do justice to the clown pants....but if I was 8 sizes smaller than my pants, I would be wearing new pants!