It’s shaped up to be somewhat of a disappointing week. The frustration began when Claude noted that we probably needed re-entry visas to get back home when we are done with our summer travels. Research on the web produced an application that required us to send in our passports and registration cards along with a €200 processing fee. I decided that there was no way I was going to mail in every bit of our identifying information, relying on An Post to handle it properly and the immigration office to return it properly. So I emailed the ministry and asked specifically whether or not we needed the re-entry visas – the answer was yes, accompanied by the same information provided on the application. That clinched my decision, I hopped online to purchase my bus ticket for my trip to Dublin.
On Tuesday I boarded the 8 AM bus for the 2.5 hour (each way) ride to the big city. It’s not such a bad ride but the book I brought to read wasn’t all that good so it kind of stretched the ride out. We arrived at the city center on time and I immediately set out to complete my task at the immigration office, just in case I had to spend a lot of time waiting. I found it right away – after experiencing that small bit of panic I always experience whenever I think I know where I’m going but it’s not readily apparent – and got to the right office. As I was making my way to what I thought was the proper queue I was stopped by a man asking what I was there for. I told him “re-entry visa” and he asked to see my ID. He took one look at my registration card and said, “Oh you’re American, you don’t need it.” In my head I said, “SAY WHAT?!” but outside in my polite voice I asked, “Are you sure?” He went back behind a door, returned in a few moments with a woman who looked me in the eye and said I didn’t need it. Well howdy. I’ve just spent €18 and set aside an entire day only to find out about 20 minutes into the process that I didn’t need to be there.
On top of that revelation, I realized it was way too early for lunch and I was going to have to find something else to do! I did have it in mind to go to a medical supply store and obtain a folding cane. I don’t need a cane all the time so carrying one around becomes a bit of a pain. I figured if I bought a folding cane I could easily tote it around in my backpack and only use it when I truly need it. I found the store and purchased a pretty flowered cane. At that point I decided that I wasn’t going to treat the trek as a waste of time and went in search of a nice lunch in a restaurant with a view. I meandered down to the quays and found the spot at which I needed to be to catch my return bus home. Then I wandered around until it was close to noon, looking at the storefronts along the river. I found a small place with a view of the river and got a quick lunch (not very good, can’t recommend the place so I won’t name names). I had run across a store that boasted all books €5 so I headed back to it after eating. I picked up a couple of books by Irish authors and had just enough time to catch the return ride.
Wednesday I had an appointment with an acupuncturist; I had purchased a Living Social deal back in December thinking I would try an acupuncture treatment on the off chance that it might help with my movement issues. When I made the appointment she told me where I was to go to reach her office; it sounded like it was quite a distance from home so I decided to taxi over. The ride was €17.50! After consulting with her and getting the treatment I thought it might be helpful to continue with further treatment… Until she told me it’s €50 per visit. I told her I would have to consult our finances before making another appointment. Fortunately there is a bus stop quite close to her office so I saved taxi fare, but it’s still at least a 30 minute ride and two buses one way. (I’m hoping to find an acupuncture office somewhat closer to home and perhaps less pricey.)
Of course while I was gone on Tuesday the postman tried to deliver a package we have been waiting for weeks to arrive. I returned home to a note from An Post that I had to go to the office to pick it up. Now in the US you only have to go to the post office that serves your neighborhood. Not so the Irish An Post. There’s a central mail office located way out on the east side of town where I can go myself to pick up the package or send “an agent” with proper ID. Or I could save the taxi fare and request a re-delivery for the low, low sum of €3. So I spent all of today waiting – no joy. I get to spend all day Monday waiting too, hoping that their promise of re-delivery within two working days is a good one. You’ll have to forgive me my skepticism but I’ve dealt enough with Irish bureaucracy this week to know that the government is somewhat unreliable.
One thing went well – Connacht won their last home game tonight!