The Never Ending Quest for a Residence Permit

Friday morning, I showed up at the hospital shortly before 7 am and got in the line at the laboratory reception window. It was about 7:15 when I made it to the front and then I was told I needed to go a pay at the cashier first (the cashier was late but was open by this time). I waited about 10 minutes to see her and then another 10 minutes back in the original line. This time I was given a laminated number and sent to a waiting area by the entrance to the hospital (after the woman said my results would be ready at 3 pm which I was surprised by as the afternoon was a public holiday). Eventually someone called my number and I was taken into a hallway where there were several stations for blood sample taking. I signed off on a form about HIV and had two vials of blood drawn. I then asked at the information desk if I could make an appointment to see the doctor to get my certificate written up after I picked up the results at 3 pm. She said no as there weren’t going to be any appointments in the afternoon. It was about 8:45 by the time I made it back home.

After eating breakfast back at home, I set out to tackle another item on my list: proof that I have enough money to support myself while I am Bolivia. On Thursday, I had printed out 6 months worth of bank statements and a copy of the letter I used to get my original Bolivian visa stating what I would be doing at BiblioWorks. There is a street not far from me that is lined with offices of lawyers and notary publics so I headed there. At the first office I stopped at the notary wasn’t going to be in until 11 am so I kept going. At the second office, I was told that I also needed a copy of my passport so I went back down the street a bit to find a photocopy place (they are fairly prevalent especially near any sort of office that might ask for a copy of something). I went back and a woman typed up a letter for me and then had the notary (who may have been her mother based on the conversations they were having) read it over. The notary made a crack about me having “mucha plata” (literally lots of silver but plata is used the way we use the word cash) but she signed and stamped the form. She then wrote out a receipt for 40 Bs (about $6 USD) but told me I owed 50 Bs. The form the letter was printed on said it was 3 Bs but I am not sure what the other 7 Bs were for…I wasn’t going to argue over a dollar.

There wasn’t much else on the list that I could accomplish so went to the market, made lunch and puttered around until 3 pm when I went back to the hospital to pick up my results. The hospital was closed so I think I won’t be able to pick them up until 3 pm on Monday. (There were signs all over the laboratory reception saying that results could only be picked up between 3 and 5 pm.) I will pop in Monday morning to confirm and to attempt to make a doctor’s appointment.

I spent the rest of the afternoon walking along the parade route and marveling at the costumes. Many of the groups were from different schools. It was great to see some schools promoting inclusion on their signs and to see among the dancers some students in wheelchairs or with walkers and some with Down’s. Eventually I found a free spot in some bleachers and hung out for awhile before resuming wandering.

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Saturday morning the hospital was still closed. I ran some errands and marveled at the stalls set up along the parade route selling cooked food and all sorts of other goods. I picked up some cleaning products and came home and deep cleaned my bathroom.


Mid-afternoon the parade started again. I wandered and sat in a few different spots. Each group dances along certain stretches of the route and then takes a break before moving on to dance in the next stretch. So it can be a bit of a wait between groups.

I came home to add a layer and then later headed out again. In the meantime the crowds had grown much thicker and it was much harder to find a place to see well. I gave up. I can hear the music from my place and I have been told it will go on until 2 am or later.

Tomorrow may be a bit of a let down after so many days of dancers and music and cars covered in blankets… With it being Sunday, my quest for a residence permit will be on hold.




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