Sunday, March 29, 2015
Week # 10 - and we've been here for more than 2 months!
Thanks to Neil, who put together the 45-page picture books in 4x6 size that we use to show to families, to Bill Denkers who purchased the photo paper and OTC meds for us, and to Blake for getting it all packaged together and to the SLC-based courier service. A "Temples" magazine that Monica sent in a separate package arrived the same day, so it was a double treat!
I just realized that next week will be our "official" 3 month mark, and the middle of April will be 3 months in Cusco. The time if flying for us, and it seems like I get a call from Elder Olsen for our weekly report about every 3 days. We have finally come across a calendar that allows us to see a week and month at a time, so that we can keep our appointments (which are constantly being revised) straight, not get double-booked, and make sure that we don't forget any.
We just got word that our "carnets" or official Peru resident cards are approved. These verify that we are legal non-citizens. Think green card - though we are not permitted to earn money here - just spend it. The timing is great, since our tourist visas expire the middle of April. You would think that they could just put the carnets in the mail to the mission office here in Cusco, right? Wrong again: we have to fly to Lima next week, just to get these cards in person. This also involves an overnight stay, due to all the waiting in queue just to pick up the cards and sign some more papers. The Church has to go through a lot of expense and time just to keep the missionary's legal status current. The usual government nonsensical bureaucracy, regardless of which country you're from. We would be OK in country without the carnets, since nobody ever asks for them, but we would get impounded at the border when we leave if we didn't have current papers. One advantage of the carnets is that as residents - not tourists - we get a significant discount on in-country airfare, hotels, and tourist attractions. As an example: tourists pay 2X the amount for in-country flights that residents do, the train to Macchu Picchu costs 5X for tourists over the locals. We've been waiting for the carnets before we go to some of the very historical sites in the area - and even inside the city of Cusco. As I say: every day is a new adventure in Cusco.