I've been back in Barcelona for a few days now, enjoying some time with Nicole and Evan and seeing IESE pals before classes start tomorrow, but today I had to go to an office to renew my residency card. I had hoped to do this back in June before I left for Romania, but IESE didn't have my paperwork ready, so yesterday was the first time I could pick it up.
I decided against going at 7:30am and opted instead to go at 11:30, figuring the crowd would've died down by then. Let me tell you, it did not. And now I know exactly how Mexicans feel in the US. There I was, in a line that stretched around the corner for 2 blocks, just to drop off some papers.
I stood for a while, tried to read a case for Friday, got tired, tried to do the squat, almost destroyed my knees, and finally caved in and sat down on the sidewalk where countless people have sat, dropped food, stood, stomped cigarettes, spat... oh geez. Miraculously the line moved in large bursts for the first two hours and I felt like I was making some real progress.
And then, from 1:30 to 3:30, we didn't advance a single inch. BECAUSE THE PEOPLE IN THE OFFICE WERE HAVING THEIR SIESTA!!!!! You see, they recently changed the office hours from 9am to 2pm and extended them all the way to 7:30. Shocking! But what they DON'T tell you is that the office still does no business for two hours in the middle of the day.
Anyway at 3:30 we started moving again and an hour later Bertrand offered to stop by to entertain me for a while. He brought a Snickers and a bottle of water. Manna from heaven! Then, miraculously, I was in the room by 5pm. I took a number, sat in a chair (a chair!!!) and then frantically checked my watch as the minutes ticked by and our 6:15 IESE welcome reception approached.
At 5:55, my number was finally called. By 5:57 I was done. I waited over 6 hours for a process that took all of 2 minutes. I handed over my paperwork, did my fingerprint, and bolted. Raced home, changed clothes, raced up to school, and plopped myself in a seat in the auditorium just in time to hear Luis Palencia's welcome back speech.
And now for something even more ridiculous. After our welcome reception, a group of us met at a bar called Berlin, which has a lounge downstairs. It was empty when we arrived (9pm) and we took seats and started chatting away. This room is usually jam packed with people and it's often hard to hear because of the music and to order a drink because it's so busy.
Tonight the room when from completely empty to buzzing with people... in other words, we brought in a lot of business. So it's strange that a manager would come down and tell us that we need to have called in advance and paid 1000 euro to hold an "event" there, don't you think? There we were, enjoying a quiet drink, and we're kicked out because we're providing too much business! They need another waiter! They weren't prepared for this! Caramba! However, if we'd all pretended we didn't know each other, they would have been able to handle the situation.
Well fine. We left.
It's so nice to be back in Spain....