This last week, Robin and I, had an agenda. One that would see completed, several needed administrative, aircraft maintenance, and medical requirements. At the same time. We would drive to Guatemala City, and in the space of two days, complete all of the above. In my mind it was all to go so smoothly.
My first stop was the American embassy to add visa pages to my passport. It will take patience work your way through the 500 Guatemalans waiting for their U.S. visa, then layers of non-English speaking security, X-ray, and sweeps with security wand, before even getting to the steps of the building. Two hours later I had my extra passport pages.
The movie version of an expatriate running from the KGB, wildly waving a passport, and screaming “I’m an American”, while the Marine security opens the gate to let you dive to safety just ahead of the bad guys, is just Hollywood magic.
Next, a trip to the Aeronautica Civil, (think FAA but in Guatemala). Pilots are required to submit to an Aero-medical examination every 6,12,or 24 months, depending on the type of certificate you hold. The exam can only be preformed by an FAA certified Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). Here in Guatemala there is only one such Dr. Available and only a few hours a day.
As planed, I arrived so as to be the first at the door, to which no one answered my knock. A few minutes later, I was informed by the secretary that the AME was away today, in Columbia (family, I guess). An unexpected turn was that recently a second, AME had been certified, and arrived as we were talking.
Later at the Guatemala immigration, I arrived armed with the final volume of paperwork, to receive the final visa stamp for permanent residency. all was in order, but would still need to wait till next week to pick it up. Such can be a day in the life of a missionary.