Two astronomers. Separated by only 22 degrees, 58 minutes of latitude, 33 degrees, 29 minutes of longitude, yet seemingly worlds apart. Their common goal: figure out the very nature of the Universe and its womenfolk.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

why do beurocrats hate their jobs so much?

This morning I had an appointment at the ministry of the interior to sort out my formal visa position since when I landed I was only granted a 1 month tourist visa. My first experience with Israeli red tape was nearly what one would expect from a third world beurocracy. Except for the relative "efficiency" (I was out after only 45 minutes) the experience was agonizing. Firstly the crowd of american jews, phillipeno immigrants, palestinians and israelis was completely chaotic. There were no numbers to pull, no sign up sheet, basically a free for all where the man with the biggest waist wins. I luckily had an appointment (through not fault of my own: I had tried the futile exercise of making an appointment by phone, but no one EVER picked up), made for me by the adivsor to new faculty who also gave me a long list of documents/photos/forms I needed to have. My advisor also told me EXACTLY what to request: a 1 year B2 multiple entry visa. The beurocrats were your typical, lazy, sour faced, too much make up, ugly, annoyed, annoying, negative, "Id rather be dead than working for this lot" crew. At 930 I went to desk three and told the woman I had an appointment. She told me to wait. At 941 I sat down. She said I couldnt get a B2 multiple entry visa. Why not? because I was only elligible for a student visa. But my university told me differently? Doesnt matter. I can only grant you a tourist visa for 3 more months which will be cancelled when you leave the country. But... I dont care. Go to room 205. I go to room 205 (presumably the manager). She is in the process of clearing the long queue from in front of her room. Shes yelling at these phillipenos in hebrew and they clearly dont understand a thing. Then she starts yelling in english "If you dont have an appointment you have to leave", "Im sorry your pregnant wife isnt here, you cannot apply for anything on her behalf", "Come back tomorrow at 715 am" "If you dont have your visa tracking form I cant help you". She gets to me. I start telling her how my university told me one thing and her colleague is rejecting my request. "what do you do?" "why do you need to leave the country?" "how long you here for?" finally she submits to my request. I rush back to desk 3. The woman is clearly angry that her superior has contradicted her. She says its going to cost me 500 shekels (about 70 quid - the university told me it would cost 145 shekels). Cash only. After hitting her windos 95 keyboard with a ferocity that could get her an ASBO, she says its only going to cost 390. Then after hitting her decaying keyboard again its come down to 290, then 220. I pay. She sticks some stickers in my passport, burries my forms and documents (without checking them) deep into an abyss of files, and gives me a look thats says "Never come back here you disgusting little piece of insignificant nothingness". I happily take my passport and leave with the slightly naseating feeling that I need to do this all over again in 11 months.


Anonymous Jim2 said...

Memories of that annual pilgrimage to Old Shire Hall come flooding back!!

9:16 PM

Blogger CMB said...

It's nice to know that sour faced, leather skinned petty bureaucrats aren't unique to here.

Good job on emerging victorious :)

12:33 AM


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