Adventures of a foreigner in the south of Brazil.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I saved Brazil

Truly, I did. Sort of. Well, I did save the Brazilian economy. All right, I did not. But I did save the roots upon which the Brazilian national economy is founded. That is, I got officially ripped off. Again. If you read that other post you will know that a bit more than a year ago I had to redeem the national debt on account of not having with me a very much superfluous piece of paper any kid could fake when entering the country. If you have not read it imagine an old chewing gum wrapper with a stamp on it.1 Meanwhile I have traveled far and wide, over sea and mountain, and I have left and entered Brazil many times. For almost a year without my proof of redemption as apparently the payment had been successfully registered.
A few weeks ago I entered again, and....

For easier perusal I will call the two officials Herby and Frank. As far as I know these are not their real names. They did not look like Herby or Frank.2

(Herby) "There is a fine registered on your name."
(Me) "Oh no, would that be this one year old thing for not having my chewing gum wrapper with me?"
(Herby) "Exactly."
(Me) "But that was paid a year ago. Look at my passport! I've been in and out of the country many hundred times."
(Herby) (calls Frank)
(Frank) "There is a fine registered on your name."
(Me) "Oh no, would that be this one year old thing for not having my chewing gum wrapper with me?"
(Frank) "Exactly."
(Me) "But that was paid a year ago. Look at my passport! I've been in and out of the country many hundred times."
(Frank) "But it is registered here and that means you have to pay."
(Me) "I see. Since I paid already, can I get the money back?"
(Frank) "I'll register it in your passport and all you have to do is go to the Federal Police when the clock strikes midnight and wave all your receipts while walking around the reception widdershins and reciting Hail Mary. Then they will return your money."

I have not walked widdershins around any reception desk at midnight and the proud nation of Brazil still has my money.3 Sometime in the future when I have steeled myself I will try to get my money back and risk the downfall of the Brazilian economy. For now, let it be known far and wide that it was I who saved it.


1 Of inferior quality.
2 I do not personally know anybody called Herby or Frank but if I did they would look different.
3 May it rip off many other foreigners and forever prosper.4
4 It is, after all, only polite to bestow good wishes as the occasion arises.