Journal 1

The Paper Trail - 25 May 2005

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Thanks Updated 15.03.06 Virtual Tour of Mel Please join us - added 20.02.06

We have been in South Africa exactly 2 weeks with many ups and downs. After managing to buy the Land Cruiser with not a lot of hassle we went to register it under our names only to find we needed a roadworthy test. The problem is that the handbrake is a block of wood. For some unknown reason this is not acceptable (the handbreak was removed when the previous owner fitted a 5 speed gear box). Anyway we managed to get a roadworthy from a guy who did not even see the car at a cost of £55 sterling.

The next problem was that our Visa runs out on Monday. This is because when we came to SA in February, they gave us a three month visa, and did not cancel it when we left. We drove to the Home Affairs offices in Randburg only to be told that we would need to go to Johannesburg Home Afrairs. After buying a map book we headed off into the City centre. Home Affairs is an ants nest of little offices. I left Cheryl in the queue for Extended Visas and headed to Room 402 (20 minute queue) to collect the forms to be filled in. Back to Cheryl in the main queue to fill out the forms. We needed four things:

Back to Room 402 to explain we are driving back to Europe and have only been in the country less thay 2 weeks. The response was that we must have a typed letter, stamped by the police saying we are driving back, as well as the vehicle registration documents in my name. They will not worry about the 30 days as we have been in the country only two weeks.

Off to the licencing department, a five minute walk away with all the documents (the blue form, the yellow form, the road worthy and the current registration document). After a couple of hours in the queue I was told that as I had not registered a car in my name before that I needed to apply for a driver's registration number. Luck was with us - the queue for this form was a mere twenty minutes, followed by another of thirty minutes to hand the form in. Relief - we are nearly there. The clerk asked for my passport - "Oh no, you can't apply for a driver's registration number if you are on a tourist visa. You must have a student visa or a work visa". I reckon my uncle could pretend to employ me so I can get a work visa. Back to the Home Office, another 20 minutes in the queue at Room 402 to get the form.

For a work visa you need:

Breakthrough, if we leave the country, on our return we will get another three month tourist visa - so this weekend we are off to Swaziland. What a waste of a day. SA is supposed to be the most civilized country in Africa. What is the paper work going to be like in the rest of this dark continent? If you don't hear from us assume we got stuck in Swaziland.

On the plus side, we have fitted a doublebed that folds out from the side of the truck; the brakes have been fixed (previously had to pump them twice; new tyres all round; we have bought loads of spares; we have made some foam seat covers; and installed the GPS. Not long until we are on our way.

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