I am calling everyone I know. I even call Javier again, the so called friend who is a lawyer. He is such jerk. He won't even call and ask a question for me. See if I ever give him a mercy dance again. (And I do mean mercy dance.)
I surf the web and write down every insurance company that has this type of insurance. I call about 8 of them. Either they no longer write this type of insurance, they won't write for me, or some other reason. Out of desperation I check the website for one of my clients who is an insurance company. It looks like they have this kind of policy...what a dummy I am.
I call and ask for the department that handles this type of insurance and speak to someone named Rodrigo. When I ask about the insurance he asks me several questions. He tells me "This insurance is for people who will leave the country. You are here permanently and don't need it." "Please," I beg him, "Help me, I am the English teacher on the 8th floor. I need this policy or customs will not release my things to me." His whole attitude changes. He asks who my students are and then tells me he will see what he can do.
In the meantime I call my student, Sergio,and tell him what is going on. He promises to help me too. The next day they call me back and tell me that they went to the President of their company and told him about me. Rodrigo tells me not to worry, that I will have a policy. I am so overjoyed. I cannot believe it.
On Tuesday afternoon Rodrigo emails me with the cost of the policy: 278 PESOS not dollars and where I should go to pick it up. I am elated. I email him and thank him profusely. I call Michael and tell him that things are looking up. I can't believe this nightmare is finally going to end.
Wednesday I get up early and race down to the insurance company to get my policy. I pay for it and off I go to see my dear friends at the customs office in Retiro. When Tito opens the door I give him a big kiss. He tells me to sit down and wait, the office is filled with people.
About 20 minutes later I go into the office. I show them my insurance policy. They look at it and smile. Then they look at my paperwork. "No," they tell me. "You need to go to Mercocarga and have them fill out this paper, and this paper, and this paper." I remind them they told me that this was only for the insurance. They tell me no and without this information they will not release my things. I am so mad I want to scream and call them bad names, but instead I smile and say "Esta bien..nos vemos" (Ok, see you soon)
I call Michael and vent. He tells me to come over. He will come with me and bribe them. I go to his place and pick him up. All the way to Avellenada he tells me I have a bad attitude. He insists all I have to do is bribe someone and they will give me my stuff. I tell him no way. It won't work. He insists it will. "FIne" I tell him, first we will try your way.
We get to Mercacargo and what no one told me is that there is yet ANOTHER customs office here that I must talk to. We go in. There are 3 guys in the office and they look nice. Michael approaches one guy in the back and hands him my invoice from the shipping iine. He looks at it and goes what the hell is this? (well the Argentine customs version of this anyway.) I know enough to know the last thing you want to do is piss off a customs guy.
I hand him the real papers. He gets a big smile on his face. He is the first person in this whole nightmare who is willing to explain things to me. I ask him why if I have the visa I do I have to have the guarantia. He tells me it is because during my first year as a resident I left the country. If I had stayed here for a year non-stop they would have not asked for the guarantia.
I tell him he is a genius, the most intelligent man in customs. He continues to explain the process to me which now makes sense. I continue to act like a ditsy California blond telling him he is so smart. Michael looks like he is going to gag.
When we leave the office to do the next step in the process Michael tells me I talked too much. He tells me that I laid it on too thick. This is the same man that tells me I have a bad attitude about Argentine men. "Look" Itell him. "Let me do this my way, he liked it. That is how you have to treat the men here,that is why I have so many problems. I can't be this way ALL the time."
We go to the warehouse and Michael goes crazy over Pablo the warehouse manager. Michael keeps answering my questions for me. I think he has spent too much time in Argentina. He is starting to act like "them". We check my stuff and then Mr. Customs comes to open some of my boxes and make sure I only personal effects as they call it.
He is trying to make small talk with me. I just want the whole process to be over. Michael kicks me and hisses at me to be nice, I might get a date out of it. I tell him I dont want a date, I just want my fucking stuff. He kicks my shoe again.
Mr. Customs sees my cookware and says "Wow, you cook?" I tell him yes. Michael kicks me again. "Yes," I tell him, "I love to cook." "Me too," He says. Then he starts a conversation about cooking and food. I sort of mindlesly ramble back. Just before he signs off on the paperwork, he says to me "We should have a cooking competition." I shake my head, "no, that´s OK." Michael pinches me. "Yes," I tell him, "why not?"
He tells me to come into the office to get the paperwork. As Michael and I walk back to the office. He tells me to be nice. "Remember your affirmation" he tells me. "Shut up." I say to him. MIchael tells me every morning I should get and say "I like Argentine men." That is easy for him to say, he isn't the one being treated as a second class person.
We get the paperwork and now head back to Retiro. My buddies open the door, I wave the paperwork at them. We sit down. Tito goes through it and then starts to tell me how the other guy, the cute guy didn't fill the papers out correctly. I beg him "Please let me get my things today. Dont make me go back there and then here again, that will be another day." He makes me promise I will leave their office and go back to Avelleneda.
When I enter the customs office in Avellenda, the cute guy is still there. I hand him my paperwork and the note from Tito. They tell me that those guys make everything so difficult. That they really mess around with people. Oh duh. He signs off on the paperwork and tells me to go get my stuff. When it is loaded I should come back.
I am so excited. I give Michael a hug and buy him a can of diet 7up. We watch them load my things and then I go to pay the fees for storage. When I have all my paperwork I go back to the cute customs guy. He has the last piece of paper I need before I can exit the lot with my things.
He looks up at me with his big blue eyes "So when are we going to go to dinner?" he asks. I play stupid "Are you talking to me?" The guy next to him says "Well he isn't inviting me." "Why don't you give me your number?" "Me?" I squeak. He laughs, "Well I have it in the computer, but it would be much better if you gave it too me." I give him one of my business cards and ran out the door.
"Well?" Michael asks me. "He wanted my number." I tell him. "Did you give it to him?" I tell him I gave him one of my business cards for English. "Great!" He says "He will probably call you." I shoot him a dirty look "Yeah and he is probably married with children.." Michael looks at me and says "I love Argentine Men..I will not have a bad attitude about Argentine me.." I roll my eyes at him. "Let's go, I am sick of this place."