Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Have just read Tini´s latest blog update which has shamed me into trying to keep up. As I can�t safely talk about work, except in cryptic allegorical ways, here is a an anecdote about trying to recover my car ownership papers. I had not thought this was so important, since they were robbed out my car boot a month ago (I was running on the city track). But on Sunday night, coming back tired from visiting Nina�s friend who has just had a baby in the smallest, most hard-to-get-to "Maternity Hospital" I have ever seen, I was shaken down by a police roadblock in a very unpleasant fashion. My only crime was having no docs: my car is in good nick, I wasn´t speeding or drinking or anything, but the bloodsucking f*ckers gave me a nice "fine". I have NEVER seen or heard any of them catch, or even try to catch, a criminal. Maputans joke that if anyone tough-looking starts making trouble, the police are the first to dissappear round a corner.

Yes, they are underpaid and see their bosses driving around in 4x4s and expropriating state assets on a regular basis, but they are definitely the ugliest face of the corruption that has already rotted the state to the core and is spreading its putrid tentacles through society as the country "modernises". Anyway, rant over, here is "Cameron´s Guide to Recovering Car Docs in Moz". Times include transport to/from relevant public service building. Each step happened at least one day after the previous, just to give you an idea.
  1. Visit Maputo II Police Station to report crime which tells me to go to Maputo I - 30 mins
  2. Visit Maputo I to report crime and collect tiny hand-written chit. NOTE: the sub-inspector who took down my statement was great, the only decent copper I have encountered in 2 years here - hope he gets promoted - 1hr 30
  3. Visit Maputo CID to request official crime report, but not ready yet - 1 hr
  4. Visit Maputo CID to request report - told its ready but to get a copy of it I must formally request it. Nice bored lady at PIC hammers out a request letter (for free!!! wow) on pre-WWII typewriter, which I sign. - 1 hr 30
  5. Visit Maputo CID to request report - not ready yet but at least I find the exact office where I must collect it - 1 hr
  6. Visit Maputo CID, finally collect my report. I then ask the Detective, in my most innocent dumb-foreigner voice (so as not to cause offence), what the prospects are for catching the Artful Dodgers who broke into my car, as by all accounts they are well-known. He just looks at me like I have no marbles, so I leave it at that - 1 hr 30
  7. Visit Maputo Vehicle Registry, wait in queue to buy official form, only to be told that I first have to visit the Matola Vehicle Agency to get some other document. Matola, a satellite city of Maputo, is the capital of Maputo Province. Its about as far out as Kirkintilloch compared to Glasgow.
  8. Visit Matola Vehicle Agency to get official form. JUST TO GET A PHOTOCOPIED 1-PAGE FORM!! - 3 hrs
    This is where I had got to when I first wrote this post. Now I am finally on the home strait, see actual details below.
    8. Fill in form, then visit Registered Notary to get my signature on the form notarized - 30mins
    9. Visit Maputo Vehicle Registry to get the form stamped - 30 mins
    10. Go back to Matola Vehicle Agency to get a number written on the form, with a stamp - 1hr
    11. Visit Maputo Vehicle Registry to find that the next step needs not a form but a letter. I have to stand there and hand copy it off an example on the wall, then type it up and print it out that night at home. Easy enough if you have your own PC and Printer like me - thousands don't!! - 1hr 30
    13. Sign letter in presence of notary and get it notarized etc. - 45 mins
    14. Hand in form at Maputo Vehicle Registry and pick up TINY torn off bit of receipt - 30 mins
    15. Out of sheer paranoia, go back to Notary immediately and get authenticated copy of this receipt, so I can leave the original safe at home - 30 mins
    So all that remains is...
    16. Go back there "10 days" later to pick up my ownership document.

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