Monday, August 06, 2007

The Wheels of Burocracy continue to roll, slowly

[Sao Paulo, Luz Railway station]

Well, a couple of words to the happenings of today, and a few pictures.
First to the CPF number. Together with a thoroughly overworked Claudio (who had to take time off from his busy schedule to help me) we went to the office which issues CPF numbers (Delegacia Da Receita Federal). After a quick explanation it became clear that my case was not a normal case, no surprises there. After a while we got to speak to someone, who after a additional round of explanations and consultation with some colleagues, came back with the following: Yes, I can get the CPF number, and would not have to pay the 5B$ fee. Also, I would get the number immediately, instead of having to waiting 2 days. But, I would have to bring them a translated copy of the passport! So off to the translator, where, surprise, surprise the cost of the copy will be 43B$ and it will take a day and a half!
So that is the story for the moment. The way it looks now, I should be able to get the translation tomorrow afternoon, and then immediately run over to the other office to get the CPF number.
Then, the following day I go to Marinha Mercante department, who is the one who needs the number in the first place; and clear the cargo with them. Once all that is done, then everything goes back to the customs, who should be able to finish my paperwork. The last step then is that a customs officer at the warehouse has a look at the crate and clears it, and I should be able to get on the road again!! Any one want to wager that this will actually work this way? I certainly don't...

[Sao Paulo, Parque da Luz]

Ok, enough of the bike already, but a couple of words on customs and port. This weekend I purchased the magazine Veja (Look in Portuguese). The title (as far as my Portuguese can make out) says, "Anchors which secure our growth", but the context is more likely, "Base" as in "the basis which secure our growth". Guess what, according to the magazine (see a copy of the article below, and practice your Portuguese), Santos, is the most expensive, slowest (only after Ethiopia), least efficient, and most obsolete port practically anywhere! Great, just what I wanted to know. The article on the port is a part of a series of articles on the general infrastructure of Brazil, which apparently is not in very good shape. Roads, ports, trains, airports, apparently are all in very bad shape as far as international comparisons are concerned. The magazine is apparently a very important weekly in Brazil, something like Time or Newsweek, and I bought it to try and learn a little bit of the language. But this wasn't exactly what I had wanted to read.

[Sao Paulo, Veja article about ports]

[Sao Paulo, Bela Vista streetfestival]

Now for something completely different, here are a couple of pictures from an Italien street festival going on down the road from my hotel. Apparently the 81st edition of the festival to Nossa Senora de Achiropita??
The festival consists of a number of food booths around the neighborhood block, and people just come to eat and drink. There is some speakers set up for music, but not a lot, and in a corner a few booths for games for the kids, that is it. Food, food, food.

[Sao Paulo, Bela Vista street festival]

At some of the stalls the locals line up around the block for a taste of the food. In particula the Fogazza stand is always really busy. Fogazza apparently is your basic Italina Foccacia bread with a slight Brazilian twist (they stuff more things in it), I haven't tried it yet, but I will see if I can get some soon, I will let you know how it turns out. What I have tried is the steak sandwich covered with diced tomatoes/onions, which was very good.

[Sao Paulo, Bela Vista street festival]

So everyone cross your fingers, this week could turn out to be my lucky week...

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