That's how long Eli and I spent at the Federal Police on Thursday. And neither of us has spontaneously combusted.
Due to my visa type, I am required to register with the police in the first month I spend in Brazil. So I wanted to get this over with. We took the bus to the airport, where the PF immigration HQ is located, and got there in about an hour, which was impressive. Every other time I've had to go there, it's been practically empty and I got in and out in no time. Today, however, I got to experience the real joys of Brazilian bureaucracy.
We walked in to the station, which is divided into the Brazilian passports section and the foreigners section. I got my number and saw the current number was 12 behind mine and not moving at all, so I decided to do the efficient thing--walk myself over to the fingerprinting stand and get that part done with ahead of time. There are, of course, no signs telling you this, which would help the line move faster--you just have to figure it out for yourself. While I was getting fingerprinted by a very funny cop, I turned around and there was my American friend, also there to register. Only she had been there two times before without any luck.
So we all sat around chatting and at about 2:15 they called my number, and I practically danced into the office. A very friendly guy took my papers and we made small talk (a must, apparently, at the Federal Police, who just love chatting and are not exactly what you would call "fast"). After he'd fiddled with my papers, he sent me back out to wait for my passport. At about 3, I was called and finally free to leave.
Except I have to go back to pick up my supposed ID card. That is, if it's ready in time. The cop told me that sometimes people leave the country before their cards are ready. So why did I pay R$200, exactly??!!
We took the bus back, and the obvious cure for not eating all day long and for suffering through the five hours at the police station was clearly a trip to our favorite churrascaria. The food there has never tasted so good.