Me: Yo, dude! I lost my passport in a game of poker.
Heathrow Immigration Dude: No worries. Come on in. The more the merrier!
Me: Gee, thanks hombre!
HID: You carrin’ any drugs?
Me: Sorry, no man!
HID: f**k, I’m all out an’ my shift don’t end while 8!
The reality is rather different. If you lose your passport in Peru and you want an emergency travel document to get home, the FCO website says bring £95, two photographs, a copy of the local place report [which you pay for] and your ticket home to the British Embassy. The embassy in Peru’s website has a link to a page for making an appointment. You follow that, and it says this facility is no longer available, please send an email. The reply says you don’t need an appointment, just turn up Monday to Friday, 8am to 1 pm.
So I turned up on Friday mornng. The British Enbassy is in posh Miraflores, high under heaven, on the foreland by the sea, on the top floors of an anonymous sky-tickler (not quite a sky-scraper). Not that you are actually allowed in the lift to get there. Monohispanoglottic security guards are there to Impound your iPad and point you to hemisemidemianglophonic receptionistas who question you, examine your documents, and tell you to come back on Monday, when you should get the document the same day.
So I turned up on Monday, and went through the same reception handling again. And was told to sit over there and wait. And wait.
Was joined by a Scot who said he had previously turned up at the embassy for the same purpose, but was asked whether he had an appointment. After a while, we were allowed up to the hallows of the penthouse where we joined the asphodel fields of Peruvians wanting visas to the UK. Waited for yet another wait, and eventually was summoned to a window where I filled in something like a mortgage application and handed over my dosh and the required documents. Was given a receipt and told to come back tomorrow.