🇬🇧 GG: Dear reader, I will continue to describe our prenuptial Odyssey in Ushaia.
In Claudia’s office, at the registro civil, communication went very well, even though she didn’t speak English. But her patience and friendlyness and her ability to speak slowly made things going easy. The central moment, I think, was, when she took our finger prints on little cards which look like passes (wedding passes? – see picture), because she asked us ‘estas seguro/segura?’ and smiled when we pressed our fingers on it. I didn’t dare to take pictures, when she was insinde the room, but when she went outside, I took secretly one.
When everything seemed to be prepared, she said, that she needs now as soon as possible the names and passports of 2 witnesses, who must be Argentinians, residing in Ushuaia. Also the certificado de domicilio, which we should take at the Police station, and she suggested, that we also should rush to the hospital for the Análisis Sanitarios prematrimoniales. It seems to be a blood test.
It was after noon, when we left the registro. As we didnt’t have had time yet to rent a car, we made everything by walking. You should know, that Ushuaia is very hilly, and that between the registro civil and the other institutions we had to visit, you must climb up and down steep roads. So we hurried to the police station indicated by Claudia, but this was not the right place to get what we wanted. They send us to another one, of course on the other side of the hill.
But the next station on the way was the hospital, which was a labyrinth. After 10 minutes we found the right building, ready to leave a quantum of our blood. Exhausted as we were, we thought we would faint, when being blood-letted.
(Un)fortunately they did not want it, a) because we didn’t have the certificado de domicilio and b) because it was Friday. They asked us to come back on Monday at 6.a.m.But they were very nice and empathetic with us and prepared some paperwork, where they had to fill in our age. The nurse (who spoke a little bit English) gave charming compliments to Joe, saying that he looks 10 years younger!
Now it was clear, that we needed necessarily the certificado from the Police that very same day, to be ready for Monday morning’s blood donation. Thus the next step was going up the hill to the other Police station (it was 1.30). There, things turned bad. The young woman there refused to give us the required certificate, which confirms that we are temporary citizens of Ushuaia. Honestly, I also have had my doubts, that 5 days staying in a Bed and Breakfast place in Ushuaia would be enough to be recognized as residents. But the information we had, was, that there will be no problem with this. The young Police woman saw this in a different way. Not trying to speak slowly or somehow understandable she said that this is not possible according to the Argentinian law (that was the information I extracted from her long speech). Showing her the email from Senor Suarez didn’t help. I asked her to call the Registro Civil, what she did reluctantly. She discussed with somebody, then obviously she held the line to get connected to somebody else, and somehow this didn’t work and she finished the phone call irritated. Then she declared us again that our mission is impossible.
Resignated we left the Police station and climbed the hill again towards the Registro Civil, which meanwhile was closed. We knocked on the window,and because nearly everybody there knew us (we have been sitting more then 2 hours and Claudia’s office was a very central place), they let us in and called Claudia. When she came, I said, ‘hay un grande problem con la Policia’, and she let us know that she knew already and that we should wait, and disappeared. So we were witnesses of the internal office atmosphere, we stood in the middle of an office where the clerks worked (in a Friday afternoon mood), and waited.
After maybe 15 long minutes, Claudia came back wit a long document which looked like a royal dispatch, signed by the director, and she asked us to bring this to the Police. Climbing up the hill again, and entering again the Police station.
As if she had supposed, that we would come back, the Police officer was reinforced now with a male colleague, who was from now on our interaction partner. He read the document and shaked his head. The document was an explanation of a law that enables the public authorities to give a transitory certificado de domicilio to foreigners willing to marry in Argentinia / Ushuaia. Then he called the Registro Civil and discussed with them. I didn’t understand everything, but I think, it was about saving face. I heard him saying, that these people (we) do not speak Spanish and that he cannot let us sign documents that we even would not understand. When he had finished the phone call, I declared him friendly but resolutely in my best Spanish ever, that I understand very much and that I know 3 Romance languages (French, Italian, Latin), and that this will certainly be enough to understand what will be on the certificado de domicilio. Peu à peu the situation got more relaxed and in the end we left the office with mutual smiles, friendly words and best wishes. Wow, we realized, that a very big hurdle had been overcome. We were completely exhausted and took a rest.
The blood test was scheduled, so that there remained only one serious issue to manage: the witnesses! So whom to ask? We tried with our landlord, but he was very reluctant. In the evening we met an Argentinian woman who loved our project, and we developed different plans. She said, if all else fails, she can ask her cousin who lives in Ushuaia, but he is a very busy man. She would tell us the next evening if he might support us. But because it is better to have more than one irons in the fire, we were also looking out for witnesses.
The next morning, we went to the tourist information, and told about our concern, but the lady there was without enthusiasm. She told us try it again on Monday, when here boss will be there. Because of course, besides of managing the wedding, we would like also to explore the area, so we went to a car rental place. There were two nice young clerks, one of them, a guy, seemed to be very open and a little bit unconventional, and he spoke some English. Well, as we were waiting for the car to be prepared, I took courage to ask him, and he agreed without hesitation, translated my request to his female colleague and she also agreed at once, very cool. So we appointed for going at Monday together to Claudia! Fingers crossed!