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Logbook to despair. Part I

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I like airports. During the last 20 years of my life I have been fortunate that my job has flown me to several different places in the world, lovely destinations and adventurous places where I have enjoyed experiences. When I am in one of those trips, the initial step is always the airport, where I sit down and contemplate my final destination. It is an enjoyable experience, waiting to be called to board a plane and take off to a place way over the horizon.
But not this time.
I am again at the Bogota airport, waiting for such a departure. But this time there is no sense of excitement, there is no sense of adventure. My destination today is close by, and it is very well known to me. Maybe such knowledge is what has me a bit more on the side of weariness than that of enjoyment.
I am going back home.
The reason why I have to start this trip is already convoluted and, to me, sickening. My passport will expire soon and although there is an embassy and a consulate and in theory all the necessary services for me to obtain a new one here in Bogota, the reality is that when one is a citizen of a dictatorship such niceties are not really there. Not for everyone anyway, and I am not one of the privileged ones. Although I made an appointment at the consulate, I never even received a reply from them. And that was in early this year, a full 11 months prior to the expiration of the document I have. So, after consulting with friends and family, it was made clear to me that the only way in which I can possibly renew my passport is by going back home and doing it, in the flesh, on the ground. That will still not guarantee anything. Stories and tales keep coming from everybody: you can do it, you canít do it, it is easy, it is impossible, try your luck, donít even bother, what do have to lose?, why waste money and time?
And that last question is the crucial one. Because with my line of work it is mandatory to have a passport. If I canít fly, I canít make a living. If I canít move around, I am basically dead. So the conundrum is easy, and terrible: if I canít renew my passport, my professional life is over. And if I fly back home to get the passport, there is no assurance that I will actually get it nor, even more terrible, that I will be able to leave again because my current passport might be close to expire.

Problems faced only by troglodytes. And citizens of Venezuela.

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