If you enter Brazil on a researcher visa, you must register with the Federal Police within 30 days. That sounds easier than it is – but since we have to do this quite a lot in conjunction with our permanent station near Manaus, one of our colleagues has written a 5-page manual to explain the procedure. Well, over the previous days we had acquired the necessary bank receipts, notarized passport copies, appointment receipts, and so on, and so at 0700 we headed in two carloads to the Policia Federal. We got there at 0730, waited for them to open, signed in, and – waited. My turn came about 1100. I was looked over, photographed, and fingerprinted. That also sounds easier than it is. Fingerprinting was with some electronic scanner, which obviously didn’t like my fingers. For each finger, it took about 10 to 50 attempts, with the friendly young lady grabbing my finger and rolling it around on the glass plate, with varying amounts of pressure. Alternatingly, I was asked to rub my finger across my forehead to provide more grease, and then had my finger wiped with a Kleenex to remove excess grease and sweat. Well, after some 20 minutes the procedure was over, leaving both parties somewhat exhausted. At 1130, after only four hours, I was able to leave with a new piece of stamped and signed paper that made me a legal scientific visitor to Manus!
Since this amount of waiting really didn’t impress anyone all that much, we were looking for more pain and ventured to get our airport badges from Infraero (I was told some call it Infernaero). We left the hotel again at 1320, drove to the airport, got the badge that allowed us into the office where we were supposed to get the badge, and – waited. After about half an hour, an employee came out and declared that the airport computer network was down, and they weren’t sure if and when it was going to come up again. After debating at length whether it was better to wait and take a chance or to come back tomorrow - and take a chance – we decided to stick it out for a while. Well, at about 1530 the network came alive again, and at 1550 at least those of us had a badge, who were expected at the 1600 planning meeting. We spent the rest of the day planning for an intercomparison flight tomorrow and listening to presentations.