So, I'm trying to get my oficial Panamanian driver's license and you would think that I'd be able to do it quickly since it's just a matter of transfering my US license to Panama. But, you're wrong and so was I. The funny thing is that I haven't even been able to get my papers in.
First, I had to take my license to the US Embassy to get it authenticated by the Consul. That was one day. Then, I had to take it (and when I say I, Ariel did this) to the Ministry of Foreign Relations to get the Consul's signature authenticated. That took a couple days because the office of authentications is not at the main building of Foreign Relations (something that we didn't know at first). Anyway, after we got all of that figured out... we had to make sure I got a lab test to prove my blood type since it isn't marked on my driver's license.
I went to this random lab and had that done. Perfect. Now I should have everything I need, right? Right. Well, this week I went three times to hand in my paperwork at the DTT, the Panamanian DMV. The first time I found it (I hadn't been there before) and then when I was standing in line I realized that I had left my blood type paper. So, I walked out before even going up to the counter. The second time, I realized that I had left the blood type paper before leaving home, so I was going to go and turned around before I even got to the DTT.
On the way home, I was stopped for the first time since I started driving in Panama at a checkpoint by a police officer who was looking for foreigners (they like doing that in that part of town, but that's another story). Thankfully, I have a Panamanian ID and he didn't ask me why I hadn't gotten my local license yet... it was another reminder, however, that I should try to get that paper work done.
Yesterday, I finally made it with all of my paperwork. I stood in line and as I was waiting I picked up one of the informational brochures. I was reading it when I saw the asterisk next to the point about getting your blood type tested. It said, "You must do this at qualified laboratories approved by the DTT." My heart started beating when I realized that maybe this wasn't going to be the time I'd get to hand in my papers. I waited until got to the counter and the laidy looked at my documents and checked the clinic that I did my lab work in her database and said, "That's not an approved clinic." So, my heart was beating quickly out of frustration and I walked out wondering why it has to be so complicated to be grown up and do paperwork.
Anyway, the saga continues but hopefully I can get that done so that I can spend my time on other things...