Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Foreign Police

After waiting a little over a month, I got my Czech visa last week. I am not sure if it is a regular procedure, but upon the receipt of visa, I was instructed to go to the Foreign Police to show the visa and register myself in their database. 

There are two Forein Police offices in Brno. One is located just down the hill from our apartment, and the other is located on Cejl 62, which is about 10 mins away by tram. I had to go to the latter one.

I went there and found the building successfully, but it didn't at all look like a police building from outside. I looked around and found a sign in Czech which I detected that it was the police.  I rang the bell on the side of the door. No answer. I pushed the heavy wooden door, and it opened. I went into a dark building. Inside, it was sooo quiet. No one was there, and just a hallway and staircase going up were there. I went up to the second floor listening to the only sound of my shoes hitting the floor. I saw a door with a sign for some kind of company. I knew it wasn't it. So I kept going up to the third floor. The staircase was blocked out with a heavy prison-like iron gate onward.  So I detected it must be the place.

There was a open door leading into a even darker place with 6 closed doors. I knew three of them were bathrooms and shower room. And there were three more doors. I knocked two of them but no answers. I didn't knock the last one, as it had a sign in Czech saying something about the tenant. I went out to the hallway again and looked around. Nothing else was there. I called Misa who was helping me on the visa issue. She kindly called the police and confirmed the location of their office. I was there.  I just had to knock the last door.  Duh!!  But the thing is, it did not look at all like a police office.  It looked more like one of the apartment doors which could be seen in a movie with smugglers.:-(

I opened the door. There were two rooms. One waiting room with a bunch of cheap looking chairs along the bare white walls, and a room with police officers in that was separated by a glass wall. The waiting room had literally nothing in it except some cheap looking tables and chairs and two small posters on a white bare wall. The room reminded me of the fact that Czech Republic was a communist country only 20 years ago.

There were two other couples waiting in the room. I sat there waited for my turn for about 15 mins. Went up to the window. The police officer was a young looking man who spoke English. Whew!  After all, it is a "foreign" police. I am not sure if they are a part of "police," but I heard that they are specifically set up to deal with foreigner's issues and visa/immigration issues. The process only took about 3 mins.  Got a new stamp with my residential address on my passport. 

I feel stupid every time I have to try something new here, as I have to rely on people. Only if the police office looked more like a police office with clear signs, I could have figured it out by myself - I think.  Anyway, with a great help from people, I managed to register myself.

Anyway... I wonder if they're ever going to decorate the waiting room...

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