Adventures of a foreigner in the south of Brazil.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Going postal

This morning I spent some time in my favourite red-light district. You know, UPS is there. It just so happens that a look at their web site tells you how truly excellent their services are, which is nice. As opposed to all the other international shipping companies that also have truly excellent services, as their web sites tell me, UPS is conveniently located near my way to work and not out of the world somewhere around the airport. The Plan was Good. Nip in, drop what I want to send off at the counter, say goodbye and be gone in five minutes. I liked it. The Plan....well, The Plan did, of course, not survive my entering the office for even the first minute. To be precise, it survived just until I had the first form pushed at me. I swear, if people here weren't so bloody nice I'd start throwing tantrums about all the paperwork.

I succeeded in filling in all forms, at length. My memory is hazy, but I do believe at some point a black cat may have been involved. Then the delicate question of payment arose. I now live in a country where you can get a beer on a credit card, and this is quite common, too. Paper money is rarely needed, if at all. UPS, of course, does take credit cards, on which I had rather counted. They just don't take Visa, on which I had rather not counted. So I found myself doing some bank-hopping in the vicinity, having been informed that there were some banks really near. There were indeed. It's just that none of them have an ATM that takes Cirrus. Or any other payment system foreigners come up with. They all have extremely helpful personnel, but that did not solve my immediate problem. I did, at the third bank, end up with directions to a supermarket that was rumoured to have an ATM that might suit my purpose, and at the fourth one with further directions to the local Banco do Brasil. Who do usually have at least one (but not more) teller machines that are foreigner-compatible. They did, and I went back. And found myself face to face with yet another bleeding tax form. This time I had to declare (for about the fourth time) that I, (follow a long sheet of paper), have nothing to declare, up to and including genius. Nothing tax-relevant, anyway.

In the end trying to send an international parcel turned out to be an instructive if unexpected two hours. And even more: I am not likely to forget my address anytime soon.