Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Deported from Brazil? - continued

In the holding bay at Guarulhos Airport, I made friends with a Brazilian who had just been deported from the US after a seven-year overstay and a few months stay under lock and key. It didn’t bode well. He had no money to catch the bus into the city. I couldn’t help him, Blondie had taken all mine, plus the cards and was running around Sao Paulo airport with a deadline of the morning flight back to Lima. If she didn’t pay, I was out of Brazil and back to Lima with no money and no cards of my own. The Big Boss had been fuming that we’d arrived in Brazil with no money. I couldn’t make him understand the situation, especially with no cards on me. I could have shown him via my Online Banking that I had a fortune in credit, many thousands of reais, just waiting for my card to become usable again. He wasn’t interested. He was a humourless fella, neatly shaved beard, one hand permanently in his pocket, pushing his jacket behind in a completely affected Miami Vice pose. If he fancied himself and his title, I certainly didn’t fancy my chances of getting back into Brazil if he had anything to do with it.

I also had plenty of time to wonder if this had all been a cunning Blondie plan. Now I could finally understand why she had been going out with me. Her patience and planning had paid off with her freedom and the key to my credit fortune. I laughed admiringly at the thought that it might be true. I had to wait in the departure lounge with no news from the world outside, watching English football on the screens for hours on end. Such torture. Meanwhile a frazzled Blondie was spending the last of our cash in an internet cafe, reversing the charges to her friends and family to find somebody with a spare few hundred reais. The internet cafe is another of the frustrations of Brazil not considering foreigners – you need a CPF number to register there. No foreigners can use that internet cafe in Guarulhos Airport.

The drama continued without me as the only person we knew with the means to pay had to finish their supermarket shopping before heading to the local airport Policia Federal while it was still open. It was all skin of the teeth stuff, with faxes crossing Brazil even though payments wouldn’t officially go through for three more days. All I did was try not to fall asleep all day, just in case I missed somebody. Don’t worry, I did suffer a little though, getting on for 18 hours without food by the time my favourite man returned at some point early evening. His lack of a sympathetic expression meant that I didn’t know what was going on. He didn’t say anything either way, but beckoned me downstairs. He seemed to be chewing his chewing gum with more facial muscles than before, so it could have been because he was angry that my fine had been paid. Or was it because he’d found another flight back to Lima... He didn’t let on.

We walked through departures and down to immigration without a word being said, me wondering all the time whether it was to pick up my bag from the holding bay for check-in and tchau, ate mais Brasil! He motioned me towards the same girl that had looked at me quizzically 12 hours before, and she smiled, stamped my passport a few times and I was in. I walked out of the arrivals terminal with a relieved smile, remembering the first time I had arrived in Brazil at the same spot a few years before. I’d come out of the gate and there had been nobody to meet me, the moment when I realised that I had no addresses or phone numbers for my friends in Sao Paulo, and I could have been stuck at the airport waiting for them forever. This time, Blondie was there, she hadn’t run off with my cards. I was even happier to be back in Brazil than the first time I had arrived.


lauren vita said...

I overstayed by 3months, and now want to return 4months later. Do you know if that is even possible? Some people were banned for 6months to one year. There is nothing on my record regarding a ban...Any info would be helpful!

Red Earth said...

Probably not possible Lauren. For standard tourist visas, you have 6 months out of every 12 to be in Brazil. If you've overstayed a visa, they'll probably have to stay out of the country for at least 6 months until they let you in again. I guess you've paid the fine already, and if that is done there is no big deal about it but they will still follow the 6 months in/6 months out rules.