So I was looking for a distraction from the Japanese earthquake news, and the Brazilian consulate provided it: when my companion went to pick up our visas yesterday, they gave him two other US citizens’ passports. Heaven only knows whether ours are still at the consulate. Maybe they were given to the nice Indian couple whose documents we now have. In any case, we’re going back now and inquiring sweetly whether this is common practice and to make it clear that we were hoping to get back our own documents.
Added on 19 March: We were able to get our passports back yesterday, and we’re at the airport now waiting to take off for Peru. I’ve never been south of the Caribbean, so I’m excited. This is the first vacation I’m taking in over a year, so I’m doubly excited. Everyone take care until I get back.