My sister arrived shortly after 8 AM this morning to take us to International Police in downtown Santiago. Armed with our passports, visas and customs forms, the six of us walked about seven blocks to the nearest Metro station. PTL, though it was standing room only the subway cars weren't completely packed! Our route involved taking the first subway line for about 7-8 stops, then exiting and taking a second subway line for about 6-7 stops, then exiting and taking a third subway line for 2 stops. On several occasions during our subway rides, people gave up their seats to whoever was holding Owen. Chileans tend to be very thoughtful towards infants and the elderly which is quite refreshing, though as my sister says, "Anyone else is fair game to push and shove!"
After our final stop, we walked several more blocks to arrive at the police station and take a number. Though we had about thirty numbers in front of us, they scrolled through quickly and we arrived at the desk of a very nice young official. He even gave us all cookies, which the kids especially enjoyed! One of the challenges with legal paperwork in Chile is that the rules are constantly changing, and today was no exception. Remember how on Saturday we dragged three very tired children to get the carnet-sized pictures with our passport numbers on them? Well, the official today didn't even want them; instead, he just took a picture of each of us with his little webcam and used that for the document! But oh well, at least we got the forms without any difficulty and for that we are very thankful.
We returned home via the same subway route, grabbed a very quick snack, then headed out to the Registro Civil to apply for a "cedula de identidad" or "carnet" (identity card) for each of us. Once again, we were blessed to very quickly see an agent and begin the process without having to wait long in line. The process itself was quite lengthy, however. Picture the process of obtaining a driver's license in your state, including taking the photo but in addition having to be fingerprinted and multiple photocopies being made of passports, visas, etc. etc!
Finally, we were done and headed home by way of our very first Chilean McDonald's for lunch. It was similar to the States, except that a greeter met us on our way to the counter and took our order for us, then brought the food to our table. And towards the end of our meal, another employee came around with a dessert menu! That was different ... but the McFlurry tasted just as yummy! (: