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#1 Feb 08, 2021 12:37 pm

New Historian
Active

When you have to cuss petty minded bureaucrats

When my mother died in 2003, she was living in Spain and me in Zimbabwe. When the 2AM call came from my brother Gerry, I pretty much knew what it was. So now I had to get to Spain for the funeral, within a week. I was working for the World Bank and travelled on a United Nations Laissez-Passer, with diplomatic status. I went to the Spanish Embassy in Harare and explained the situation: could you please issue me with a Schengen Visa. I knew the Embassy official from the cocktail circuit, and his secretary gave my sons Spanish lessons at her home. He was a mid-level functionary, a freckle-faced youngster with a pronounced Adam’s apple.

“My condolences, Señor. Of course we can issue a Schengen Visa, we just need to complete a few formalities. Do you have a return ticket to Spain?” 

“I do, it’s an e-ticket.” 

“Ah, and your hotel reservation?”

“I won’t be staying at a hotel, I’ll be staying in my mother’s apartment. Well, mine now.”

“Ah, and do you have evidence of your financial solvency. Traveller’s cheques, perhaps?”

“Traveller’s cheques? Who still uses those?”

I guess in my emotional state, it didn’t take much for me to lose my patience.

“Look, I’m rather busy, I’m going to Spain to bury my mother. Obviously I’ve got the means to support myself, are you going to give me this visa, or not?” 

Señor wrung his hands and made mewling noises, then informed me that he was sorry, but unless I could return with an air ticket (paper), hotel booking (paper), and proof of funds (paper), then he was sorry, but …

He even wanted a letter of invitation from someone in Spain. When I said I the only person I knew in Spain was now dead, he suggested, perhaps ... the undertaker?  I I lost it. Without actually swearing, I cussed him from head to toe: his pencil-neck, pencil-pushing job, slavish adherence to stupid rules — don’t you people have any discretion?  I stormed out, satisfied but visa-less. Well that was one bridge thoroughly burnt!

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#2 Feb 08, 2021 12:41 pm

Real Distwalker
Active

Re: When you have to cuss petty minded bureaucrats

What did you do?  Did you get there for your mother's funeral? 

I am sure they have reasons for their rules but there should be multiple paths. This is the problem with government.  They have rules instead of brains.

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#3 Feb 08, 2021 1:09 pm

New Historian
Active

Re: When you have to cuss petty minded bureaucrats

I did. I went to Botswana where a friend introduced me to the Spanish ambassador, a thoroughly different animal, who gave it to me in an hour, and said he was going to give the twerp in Harare an earful.

That went better than another trip to Spain, when I was forced to use my brother's passport ....

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#4 Feb 08, 2021 1:37 pm

Expat
Active

Re: When you have to cuss petty minded bureaucrats

New Historian wrote:

I did. I went to Botswana where a friend introduced me to the Spanish ambassador, a thoroughly different animal, who gave it to me in an hour, and said he was going to give the twerp in Harare an earful.

That went better than another trip to Spain, when I was forced to use my brother's passport ....


Well done,

and,

Criminaaaaaal.

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