We visited the Colombian Consulate in North Sydney today – they are such lovely people and are always excited to talk to people who are going to travel to Colombia.
Australians don’t need a visa to visit Colombia for tourist purposes, but since we are signing official documents while over there, we need a special “adoption” visa.
The people at the consulate were especially happy to see Andres – one of the staff comes from an area quite close to Cali, so he was quite excited and chatted to Andres about the trip.
The application was submitted with no problems and we arranged to collect them on Tuesday next week.
I went to the bank in the afternoon to get a bank draft for some of the adoption fees, plus some USD cash and some CBA Travel Money cards. We found these pre-paid Mastercards to work well on our previous trips – any time we need to get cash from an ATM or pay for something via “credit” card at a shop we don’t trust – we use these cards. If we lose them or have difficulty with the cards (some ATMs are known to eat cards they don’t like!), we won’t be without our primary cards that we use for every-day purposes back home.
The exchange rate I got on the USD purchases wasn’t quite high enough to get me better-than-parity after all fees were taken into account – the AUD has dropped a bit over the past week.
I checked my figures and in May 2009, I purchased US$9,000 and it cost me AU$11,995 (including fees) – that’s an effective exchange rate of $0.750
This time, US$8,500 cost AU$8,550 (again, including fees), so an effective exchange rate of $0.994 – that’s quite a saving.