I am typing this with very little energy left. We have been through the ringer with immigrations on both ends of the spectrum (Peru and Bolivia). Many of you have been praying for our VISA process as well as our children’s. Both Cindy and I have received our VISAs. Unfortunately, we had to exit the country and re-enter to begin the process for our kids. The reason is that we could not begin Emma, Bowden, or Blakely’s process until we received our Religious VISAs. The process took longer than anticipated and the kids over stayed their tourist visas. Therefore, the only solution was to pay a fine and exit the country. Well, that process began yesterday after language school.
I was advised by immigrations in Cusco to pay at the Bank using their account number and code (standard way to pay for everything in Peru) before going to the airport. I had to pay in US dollars which is not a problem. I would need the voucher for immigrations at the airport so that kids could exit. Well, the account was not valid, I was unable to pay, and the freak out process began. I already had the tickets and hotel booked and were to leave at 7:50 AM. Thankfully, a dear new friend has a contact in immigrations in Cusco and advised me we could pay at the airport. After a 2 hour delay because of weather, immigrations opened and we were quickly informed that we had to pay in Soles (Peruvian currency)….of which I had very little as I was prepared with US dollars for Peru and to purchase our Bolivian Tourist VISAs. A brief exit from immigrations to go to an ATM, payment submitted, and our kids Passports stamped, we again waited for our delayed flight.
We left Cusco at 11:00 AM and arrived in La Paz at 1:00 PM local time. We at least get to check off landing in the highest elevated Capital in the world. Woohoo! So, on to immigrations for Bolivia where we hit our next snag. Under the newest law (which I had no idea existed) we had to present our hotel confirmation and return flights on paper. I have all the information on my phone. So, I have no cell service and no WIFI access and nowhere to print because I cannot enter Bolivian soil without these papers. We sat there for 30-40 minutes with no counsel. Finally, a Peruvian airlines employee took me and only me into the check in line for their airline, allowed me to use their secured WIFI, forward my confirmations emails to Peruvian Air, and they printed them for me. Holy cow was I stressed. Meanwhile, Cindy and the kids are stuck on the other side of customs, have not eaten since 5:30 AM, and the kids are crying. I return, buy our Toursist VISAs, and hail a taxi to the hotel. Believe it or not, the Taxi driver could not find the hotel!!!!!! We arrived at 3:30 PM, tired, hungry, frustrated and relieved that this day of customs was over. A kicker was another American was having the same issues we were. She was traveling alone and then did not have enough cash to buy the VISA. She had paper and coins and they would not accept her coins. I was happy to give her 20 greenbacks to enter Bolivia…our good deed for the day.
So, we are hoping that we reenter Peru with no problems or hiccups. We did not get to tour La Paz as planned and visit historical places that we read about. That is ok. We serve a sovereign God. He was with us the entire time. These trials strengthen us. Thank you for reading, praying, and loving us. One last detail…the gentleman seated behind Cindy and Emma vomited the entire flight, before take off, and after landing!!! Smells and noises galore.
In His name,