Rupert Howell’s column
Published 12:00 am Friday, April 25, 2008
When Ava Sue Shuemaker provided photos and a brief narrative of her Christmas season trip to Brazil, which included her son George and her friend Geri Magee, I decided the occasion needed looking into.
I already knew that the trip had involved more than catching a flight to South America and hanging out on beautiful beaches for a week or more. Publication of the report of the trip has been delayed to allow additional details to be gathered.
Sue’s narrative explained that the trio went to see Patrick Schreiber, a former exchange student who stayed with the Shuemakers when he was an exchange student at South Panola and kicked for the South Panola football team. He graduated in 2000.
Ten Exchange students from five different countries — Sweden, Germany, Austria and Italy — have stayed with Shuemaker and her husband Norris since 1997.
Their destination was Florianopolis, Brazil. Shuemaker reported temperatures averaging 79 degrees with no need for air conditioners or heaters there.
“George played golf,” her narrative read.
Plus she provided photos of her entourage from a hilltop view of Florianopolis with the ocean surrounding and another with their friend, Patrick, who among other pursuits is a male model. Shuemaker provided a magazine with the “hunk” smartly dressed in a dark suite and purple tie with Brazilian babes hanging all over him. He also has his own business that sends exchange students to the USA when he’s not modeling with beautiful Brazilian babes.
But George tells a different story.
His version begins when he questioned his mother.
“Momma, are you sure we don’t need visas to go to Brazil?” George had asked.
“Why no.” George said, she said adding, “She said Patrick said we didn’t need them (visas).”
George didn’t get to be one of Batesville’s finest, a BPD detective, by taking the first answer given. He investigated on the Internet looking up the Brazilian travel requirements and learned that one must indeed have a visa to enter into that country.
And he also learned that the only way to obtain those visas was a two week application process or personal visit to the Brazilian embassy in Miami. With the trip already planned and just days away, Detective George did what he thought was right and boarded the first airplane to Miami. Once there he had to rent a car and find the Brazilian embassy.
He first found out that the visa window was open for only one hour a day in the afternoon for application and two hours in the afternoon for pickup.
After standing in the visa line for what seemed to be an eternity, Detective George discovered that the type of money order he had chosen would not be accepted for the visas. That sent him scurrying to another floor in the embassy to get cash from an ATM so he could buy the correct type of money order.
Once he returned to the end of the visa application line, they didn’t want to accept his application because his mother and friend, Geri, did not have the same last name as him.
In some maneuvering and fast talking that may have involved a improvisation or two by Detective George, he was able to return the next day and pickup the “stamped” visas before jumping on a plane and heading home to get ready to leave again.
“If there were five people in Miami who spoke English, they were all hiding,” Detective George said.
When time came for the trio to begin their trip, a two hour weather delay caused them to miss their flight in Atlanta where they spent the night. The airline put them up and flew them to New York the next day where they caught a flight to St. Paulo, Brazil–but their luggage went to Rio De Janeiro, so they missed their flight to Florianopolis.
Finally they arrived at their destination on Monday. There luggage arrived on Thursday.
Detective George caught food poisoning on the Monday night they arrived and stayed in bed for a couple of days. Always the optimist Detective George reported, “Other than all that, it was a great trip.”