Saturday, May 01, 2010

Visa Saga Part Three - Moving Day

On day 24 I went skipping out of my local police office, and decided to head straight for the labor department. The two offices are on the same street just two or three blocks away, very convenient.

As I walked through the labor department door I had to flatten myself against the door frame to allow room for a large desk to be carried out. The desk was followed closely by chairs, tables, and all sorts of furniture headed for trucks parked just outside.

The security guard at the front desk looked at me funny as I headed for the stairs to the third floor. "You can't go up there" he yelled after me. "No one is there".

"When will someone be back in the office to approve alien labor permits?" I ask innocently. Just then I see a cart loaded down with computers also heading for the truck outside and a light goes on in my head.

"We're moving up to the north part of the city. The office will open again in its new location on March lst."

I wisely got the man to write down the address for me as I left the office. "February 24th" I thought to myself "that means they will reopen in four days".

Five days later (I wanted to give them a day to settle in) I got into a taxi handed him the address (I couldn't really read the guys writing, so taking a bus was out of the question). When the guy at the desk told me they were moving up north he meant way up north.

The taxi driver let us off at a bus stop, when I asked him which was the right building he said he had no idea. The paper just listed the name of the bus stop, and nothing more. He drove off and my friends and I looked around in bewilderment, we don't really know this part of town. Thankfully there was a police car parked right there so we asked him for information. The police man pointed left and said "maybe that direction". We walked left for a couple of minutes but didn't see anything like a government building. So we stopped a street sweeping lady who pointed in the opposite direction. Another course adjustment and we headed off a while in her suggested direction. Seeing nothing that looked promising we decided to go into a hotel and ask for help at the front desk. Sadly the hotel staff had no idea either. They at least took the initiative to call information on our behalf. Information, however, is not up-to-date and still gave us the address from last week. The only good news is that they did have a phone number we could call. Thankfully we were still in the general area, our searching only put us off a few blocks.

Once we found the new building we were impressed by the size, however, it looked like they were still in the process of moving in. The door guard told us the office we wanted was on the 5th floor. The people working on the 5th floor told us we needed to talk to someone on the 8th or 9th floor. Neither floor had a reception desk so we randomly started walking into offices and asking whoever we saw. Finally someone told us we needed to go the 10th floor office 11.

The 10th floor was empty. Most offices were nothing more than cement floors, with unpainted walls. Some of them didn't even have doors yet. My friend and I were convinced that no one was even up here. But we counted off offices until we found number 11. There sitting in the corner of an unfinished office at a small wooden desk sat the woman we are searching for. Thankfully she was able to give me my Alien Employment Permit in just five minutes.

24 days - 5 days for their move = 19 days and still three offices to go!

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