Today we headed to downtown Santiago to apply for RUT numbers for the kids and I. RUT numbers are basically like a social security number. Everyone has one - and you typically get one at birth. The difference is that you are constantly asked for your RUT number and it is appropriate to give it.
If you pay for something with a credit card, you will sign the receipt and then write your RUT number on the line underneath. It's not something that will allow others to steal your identity - it's just your number.
We applied for Greg's RUT when we first arrived in April as he would need one to get back accounts set up. When you first apply, you are given a temporary number and then upon approval, your receive your permanent number. He got his permanent number last week and was able to open his bank accounts. With my new number today, I was allowed to be added to his account.
The whole banking thing here is completely different. He was given a leather box with his single box of checks. We have like 25 total checks. Apparently, you don't write checks very often and when you do, it's a major process. The checks are printed in such a way that it allows the holder of the check (regardless of who it is written to) to be able to cash it.
If you draw 2 lines down the left side of the check that means it is for deposit only. Then if you scribble out a few of the words in a couple different places, it will only allow the person whom the check is written to to be able to use it. Weird right? I guess you'll often have one of your underlings take your checks to the bank and deposit it on your behalf.
I take so many 'normal' things for granted. I just assume that the way we do it, is the way everyone does it. That couldn't be further from the truth. Now that I am added to the account, our banker will personally take my new cards to Greg's office within the next few days. That wouldn't happen at home.
But really how else would they get it to us? The mail? Uh no. The mailman comes every now and again and tosses our mail onto the ground somewhere near our front door. No mailbox. They also don't come every day. Needless to say, nothing of value can be sent via the mailman.
So our little adventure today was supposed to be an afternoon in the city, but our sweet Alex woke up very ill. It couldn't have been a worse time for him. He was sheet white and on the verge of losing it the whole cab ride down there. Poor baby. I get sick in the back of a cab - I can't even imagine trying to be there when you were already sick. Add the crazy cab ride to the smog and exhaust fumes from the other cars (and no - cabs never turn on the air around here, uses too much gas) and you have a recipe for disaster. But we had to get their RUT numbers applied for today. So the sweet boy trudged along.
We decided to take the subway (called the metro) to the bank. It is a much smoother ride than a taxi. This was the boys first real experience in a subway. They loved it. It was also not very busy at that time of the day.
Alex also had a little of his color back at this point:
By the time we got to the bank, Alex crashed. Poor kid!
We'll have to make another trip to downtown when everyone is up for walking around and enjoying the city. Alex is in bed now and we all hope we don't catch what he has. He's pretty sick.