I reside in Peru!

16 Jan

Great news! Just over four months since our arrival, I received my official residence card. Now I can open a bank account, get a postpaid cell phone plan, avoid the 100% tourist tax on LAN and TACA airlines, become the legal manager of my own company in Peru, and most importantly, legally work here. I am now a Peruvian resident.

There were only a few hiccups this trip to Lima. For the first time in my life, I missed a flight. I arrived early for my flight in Arequipa last night and checked in. The city was in disarray as it was raining. This is a major event like a severe storm in the Midwest or snowstorm in the South. The taxi driver turned on the radio and people were calling in from all over town describing the conditions. In reality, it is a bit serious as there is not proper drainage in the streets. But still, people, it’s just rain…. Anyway, about half the airport was without power and there was a lot of buzz about flights getting cancelled. I understood the flight monitor to indicate that my flight was delayed 20 minutes.

Then I discovered I was out of minutes on my prepaid plan. Panic. Won’t be able to call a taxi in Lima and no one will know where I am. I searched in vain for anyone selling Claro refills at the airport. I bought a soda at the airport cafe so I could connect to the wifi and sent an email to Vicki asking her to go up the street and buy a recharge. I tried reaching the three kids at home via Google Chat. Nobody online–probably the first time in months that’s happened! Finally, I remembered about a remarkable invention that lets you make calls with only a coin. I found the airport pay phones, dropped in 50 centimos ($0.20 US), and dialed our 6 digit home phone. Vicki answered and told me the power was out (hence no one online). I explained my predicament and she set out to find a store with power to do the recharge. Whew.

I headed for my gate through security. “I’m sorry, sir, your flight is closed.” Huh? It was still 40 minutes before the delayed boarding time. It turns out the flight wasn’t delayed, and Peruvian Airlines REQUIRES you to be in the boarding area 45 minutes before the flight. I went back to the check-in counter, where there were thankfully only a few people waiting. They called the gate. Too late. They offered to rebook me on the 8:50pm flight and wanted to charge me for the difference, but I explained something in bad Spanish about why I was late and I think they had pity on my Spanish if nothing else. After 20 minutes or so, they changed my flight for free. Thank you, PAL!

Then I began to worry. Other flights were getting cancelled due to the rain. The flight I had just missed left with no problems. Did I just lose my opportunity to get to Lima tonight? I had prepaid my hotel to get the discount rate, ugh. And Kenneth was supposed to meet me in the morning to help translate if needed. Thankfully, about 9:30pm, we were able to depart. Upon arrival in Lima, I inquired about a safe taxi inside the baggage claim area and they wanted $40 for my hotel. I knew that Taxi Satellital charges only 40 soles (about $15) so I declined. But last time I had trouble connecting with Taxi Satellital at the Lima airpot. Thankfully, Taxi Green, another secure service just outside the baggage claim area, also charges 40 soles and we went straightaway, arriving at the hotel at 11:30pm.

I had breakfast with Kenneth at 7am, then off to Immigration. We arrived just before opening at 8am, got straight in, and there weren’t many people in queue. They don’t allow in translators except when really needed, so Kenneth told me not to speak any Spanish, which I did. But just before getting called upstairs, a clerk came to gave us instructions, and I did what she asked right way. She caught it and said, “You understand me,” and I was on my own after that. About 9am, I finally got to the window. I was a bit nervous about the required copy of my passport because I had forgotten to make one. I had a worn color copy in my back pocket which I always carry. Then I discovered a nice copy in my folder, but with the entry stamp also on it. Would one of them work? She didn’t even look at my photo, just the payment receipts, and said I was missing one payment for S/.41.90, about $15. What on earth, I thought? I protested that in Arequipa, they told me… and that was as far as I got. “Oh, you’re from Arequipa! One moment….” She went off to another room, found my papers, stapled stuff together, reviewed my details on screen with me, and said I was good to go… to biometrics. That was about 9:45am. After 20 minutes or so, they called me in for fingerprints, and after another 40 minutes, finally printed my residence card. I checked it VERY carefully before leaving the office.

I’m very thankful to the Lord and to many new friends in Peru (Steve, David, David, Kenneth) who have helped us to get this far. Vicki’s residence card should be easier now that I’ve at least seen the places where we need to go and have complete lists of the requirements (assuming they don’t change….) Thank you all for your prayers on our behalf!

PS My emergency backpack list is growing:

  • toilet paper
  • cell phone charger
  • cell phone refill cards
  • cell phone battery pack
  • coins for pay phone

7 Responses to “I reside in Peru!”

  1. michael CHANDLER January 16, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    Congrats, new resident alien.  You have been through a lot.  So glad this Lima trip bore success.  Praise God for guiding you through each emergency.  You have a green card!

    Is there anything like a prepaid landline phone card in Peru?  I suppose there is but where can you find a landline pay phone? 

    Side note, the standard calculator app on the Nexus is really cool. It has parentheses and some scientific functions but looks like a simple 4 function calculator.  I stumble into good keystrokes or swipes now and then.  The bible app is great but it has made me lazy.  I don’t want to turn pages anymore!

    I went through the free apps store last night and saw the menu of Timothy’s games!  Absolutely amazing how much function can be contained in that thin tablet.

    Enjoy the rain!

    Love,    Dad 

  2. kcauble January 17, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    Your faith must be growing like a mustard seed gone wild as you watch how our Father orchestrates every last detail for you, even as you do your darndest to be prepared like you’re supposed to be. Congrats, stranger!

  3. Bill Chandler January 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    Praise God for your success

  4. Judy Chandler January 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    So funny about you “role playing” and not speaking Spanish. I remember some years ago when your sister interviewed for CIA I think it was, and she couldn’t be two people, either. Thankful your Spanish skills are so accomplished now.
    Love, mom

  5. Peter L January 20, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    So, did that great invention have a dial where you actually had to move your finger in a circular motion, starting at the number you wanted and ending at a curved projection sticking out of the face of the phone? Or was it simpler with a square button for each number and has a musical tone when you press the buttons?

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