Peru – Day 15

For a life time in Peru, I can live three times in US. This is how fast things move here.

Lima is not an ancient city where one would naturally expect a slow pace. Although I have not figured out the exact reason for its love of bureaucracy, I had sensed it even before arriving (in the Peru Consulate). There are no lack of forms, reports, processes, procedures, talking to my supervisors…

It took me over two hours to withdraw emergency cash from the Citibank principle branch today. This process included a 66-minute phone call among the branch manager (who spoke no English), a bank teller (who spoke good English), a US CS representative and her supervisor, and me. During the call, my information was repeated multiple times and the same form was filled out three times by different people. When all was said and done, the teller went to her counter, took out a huge deck of cash, counted the money and gave them directly to me. The final one-minute transaction felt almost too causal compared to what was done in the previous 119 minutes.

But, I could not get mad at anyone. Everyone was nice and really tried to help. What frustrated me was the system they operated in.

It also took me an hour to get through to the right person in the Embassy on the phone. Again, people were trying to help, but there was little they could do. The  bureaucracy, made up by so many little people and the very specific instructions they were given to, was a vast jungle where no one person can navigate or see through. I am now jumping up and down in this jungle, trying to get some attention.

What is fast here? Food service.


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