A Cautionary Tale

August 4, 2009

Ms. Emily Buckley, one of my closest friends and our designated First Visitor was foiled today (and yesterday).  After taking the Bar exam in Denver (no easy feat) last week, and finding a place to live in New Orleans where she will be clerking in a few weeks, she went to the Brazilian Consulate in Washington, DC yesterday to apply for a tourist visa to come visit us in Rio.  She had bought her tickets quite some time ago and was looking forward to a post-Bar beach extravaganza (and I was dying to see her and to share this incredible place that we live).  So yesterday she went to the Consulate and they told her that they couldn’t process her application that quickly.  Seriously guy?  It seemed impossible that there wasn’t some way to make it happen.

She wrote a letter to the Vice Consulate.  I wrote a letter to the Vice Consulate expressing my dismay at their bureaucracy (sort of–mostly I pleaded to let her come visit).  They told her there was no way to process it in fewer than four days.  Who doesn’t make an exception for a cute blond girl trying to visit her friend?  It’s absurd.  We looked into pretending she lived in New York, where they can process visas in a day, but you need proof of residency.  We called every visa rush service we could find.  No luck.  No one could turn it around fast enough.  Emily went back today.  Application rejected.  I’m very much hoping that Continental Airlines will refund her money and give her a voucher to come very soon, but in the mean time, I’m pissed at the Brazilian Consulate in DC, and at the mean man who wouldn’t even budge once Emily started shedding tears of frustration and exhaustion, and sad that I won’t get to see my friend on Friday.

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