This morning I headed back to Ahmadi to see if the visas were ready and to re-register my vehicle which was due to expire on Jan 4. Turns out the visas were ready, so I double checked the info and found a typo on Kerri's last name. The lady had me go back to the typists and pay for another application (in the states I would have protested having to pay for their mistake, but here, 500 fils wasn't worth it at the moment). Also needed more copies of her passport (had them handy) and my civil Id. I took these back and the lady did whatever it is she does and presto...they were ready. I asked again about the "faxing" to the Kuwaiti Embassy in the Us and the lady sent me down the hall to find the cashiers office and ask for "hossein" for a stamp, then to go to the ministry of foreign affairs and they would do it. I eventually found Hossein and he got my visas stamped. After this I got the registration renewed, but more about that later. Eventually I found myself headed back to downtown Kuwait and the Ministry of Foreign affairs, which I did know the way to after finding it last time. Once again, they sent me to the Shuwaikh office where I got the documents authenticated. After some frustrating amount of time getting someone to understand what I needed, I was told that I needed another "print" of both of the visas, and to come back with those tomorrow between 8 and 9am. Where to get these "prints"? They sent me to the passport agency by the airport. Here I was sent to the next building where there were plenty of blank stares all around. One person even said I did not need to send the documents to the Us at all...
I finally called up my friend at work who has helped lots of people do this before, and he said I was supposed to have gone to the ministry of foreign affairs office on the 2nd floor of the Liberation Tower. Since I seemed at a bit of a dead end, I decided to head there next. Finally I got someone who seemed to know something for sure, such as the fact that I had gone to the correct place (i.e. Shuwaikh) which is a recent change explaining why my friend kept saying I shouldn't have to go there. Also, the Liberation Tower office definitely does *not* do the authentication and faxing services. He said I could go back to Ahmadi and get the "prints" I needed. I was not too keen, so he sent me downstairs to the ministry of something I have forgotten, and someone there produced the "prints" which turns out are just arabic printouts of the same information on the visas (which are also in Arabic). He also suggested strongly that I get copies of the visas made as I shouldn't hand the other 2 originals over for the faxing process. He said to go back tomorrow to Shuwaikh as instructed between 8 and 9am for the faxing. I asked him about the medical exam needed in the states and he seemed puzzled, but had no info. He did say that they would offer me a choice of embassies to choose from, and apparently there is one in Los Angeles, which could be very fortuitous as Kerri is down there right now. I plan to call them tonight to wish Merry Christmas an all that humbug, and also to warn Kerri that she might need to make some room to go see a doctor. We'll see...
Back to the car registration. This is as much for my own memory since I'll have to do it again next year as it is for anyone else who may be interested. Fortunately, the traffic department is located in the same group of buildings as the Ahmadi Ministry of Immigration. So I was able to walk right over to the place I'd gotten my eye "exam" for my drivers license and start asking people where to go for registration renewal. I should mention that I had already purchased my liabilty insurance (the minimum required) for the next year. This was done at a little shop right down by the Al Manshar/al Kout area last night, for the amazingly cheap price f 20kd. That's for the *year*! Anyway, after finding the place I needed to be at the traffic department, I was told that I needed to go to he "testing" area to get my car tested. This took some more findng and asking around, but eventually I found I had to drive my car in a line, have somone stamp my insurance forms, then another guy walked around the vehicle (the "test"), stamp my papers again, then one more stamp and presto I was ready to go back to the first office. Now I was told to purchase a 5kd stamp from one of the ubiquitous stamp vending machines (same stamps I bought for the authentication docs) affix it, and hand it all in. I then waited about 5 minutes and was handed my new registration. There was a handy booth outside for laminating it (a custom here apparently) and now my car is registered for another year! Which means I can finally start into the equally bewildering process of getting it registered on base so my co-workers don't have to keep picking me up just outside.
Lots done today so I'm quite pleased, and hope that tomorrow goes equally as well.
Oh, one other thing. The refrigerator was delivered today and it fits perfectly under the counter. If we find the freezer to be inadequate, we can always buy a small one later.
Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat!
(that's "merry christmas to you all" in tagalog, at least as well as I can remember)