Friday, June 08, 2007


Apologies dear reader, for my lack of posting as of late. My parents spent four weeks visiting. They made it the full term, including travel, with no visits to the emergency room-- which if you know my family, is no mean feat. Even if they are both healthy, as we discovered that a guest can start on fire, and my mother can receive burns extinguishing him during her heroics. But there were no fires this trip. OK, in all fairness, my father was in a walking cast with broken bones to his foot, and my mother used a cane to cope with a bad hip problem. You might say their medical problems were pre-emptive this time.

Monday I travel to Prague. Yesterday my nerves got the best of me, and I decided to call immigration. I am still waiting for my visa renewal. I called the Oslo office. The first person I spoke with said I could not leave the country with a pending application-- and that my application was still with the local police-- after maybe six weeks. Review my passport posts of yore. I called the local office, and was initially told the same thing. She then inquired of my citizenship. Upon hearing that I was American, she said it "shouldn't be a problem." Not exactly my vote of confidence. She then stated that if I submitted proof that I was traveling, they could issue one on the spot. I was on my way.

We dropped my parents off at the airport and headed down to the immigration office, which is really the basement of the police department. I punched the button to grab my queue number in a room full of people at approximately 11am. I pulled number 33. They were serving number 6. After grabbing my photo from the photo both, we decided that I would forego more beautiful weather. I drove Julian and Lise home, and returned to the police station--- on the far side of town. When I arrived, they were serving number 30. I quickly dispensed of formalities and was told to return after 3pm on Friday. I was elated.

Today we stopped by the police station to pick up the passport upstairs at the information desk. I had done this before, and it was in and out. Today there was a line. I drew number 81. They were in the upper 60s with one line open. I went out to the car to tell Lise this would not be a quick wait. It could take five to ten mintues. It was 3pm. There was one line open, and some thug on crutches devouring time. Eventually another line opened. Who were these people, spending their Friday afternoon at the police station? This was the info desk-- not a court room. I just needed to pick up my passport. A Japanese woman who I was seated next to saw my receipt. "Passport?" she asked. We struck up a nice conversation. She told my she lived in Norway for 35 years. I was apalled that she still needed to wait in a line for her visa renewal-- until she told me she had a permanent one and had renewed her passport.

As we spoke, some eastern European looking guy came in, very antsy. He cut in line to ask a question. By this point, Lise had been calling me several times, since we had a ferry to Kvitsøy to catch. I had already suggested that she buy the groceries, but we still had to pick something up at the pharmacy for her grandfather-- although I thought it was only for one of the sheep. This line cutter was really angering me, since it would be a disaster if we missed the ferry. We had to be there by 4:15, since it was the very busy, Friday after work ferry. People were likely already lined up waiting. It isn't a clown ferry that can hold a gazillion cars. I was really getting antsy myself. I contemplated cutting in line to ask if they were serving anyone pressed for time-- but the police officer soon sent this other guy on his way- after about 10 minutes had elapsed. The crutches thug was still hogging the other window.

I was getting stressed. I asked Lise to stop calling, and eventually I left the bench-- some Polish looking guy had entered the building and started pacing. I knew exactly what he was up to. He was going to become another line cutter. I stood up and stood in front of him, where I could see Lise in the parking lot. More importantly, I was blocking him. Eventually we were one number away, which was for the Japanese woman- who was numbered before me. The Polish-looking dude started making his move and approached the window, asking a question. I couldn't help myself- and I said to him, "Hey, I have a ferry to catch. You need to wait your turn. She is next, then me. We only need to pick up our passports." He responded in Norwegian that he only had one question. The Japanese woman who had been waiting over an hour gave me a smile as she hurried to the window. I knew she would be far too polite to confront him. The other guy apologized. The crutches thug was finished at the same moment-- after taking a full hour at the window. I was there and gone in under a minute, with a brand new visa.

We hurried to the ferry, plotting our next move. If we couldn't get our car on, we would drag all of our crap on by foot. Traffic was horrible. Lise had avoided having to stop at the pharmacy. We were much later than we had hoped. As we approached the lines, we saw more than enough room to Kvitsøy (the ferry serves two destinations). It was a miracle. We made it. We probably could have stopped at the pharmacy-- except they were closed. Sometimes things have a way of working out.

1 comment:

SD_pedalpower said...

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