So, we had a very interesting day in Navajoa.
A couple down the street needed to renew their IMSS. She speaks very nice spanish, and they no longer have a car, so very simple solution: they go with us in the truck and she interprets for us so we can get our mexican medical insurance.
On the drive there, we laugh and joke and tell our favorite policia mordida stories. All the stories were very entertaining, and we laughed, but insisted we will not ever pay mordida.
Getting to the IMSS building was easy.
Getting mexican medical insurance?
It actually was easy also....... we had copies of our passports, FM3's, marriage certificate (32 years!), utility bills and birth certificates. I keep all of this in a binder, originals and copies........ well, okay, you know how I am so well organized with the lists? I am organized with all the important papers as well.............. someone wants to see something, I whip out the binder and voila! No, estupendo! There it is!
So, at the first counter we pick a number (309) from the turnstyle. The tv screen says the workers are helping # 6500. That is slightly worrisome, but soon the numbers flip to the upper 2oo's and before we can blink, we are at a 2nd counter. I whip out the binder and we spend a little time finding the papers she requests. We get paperwork from her, we go to a 3rd counter and the man gives us a long receipt to take to the bank. We leave the building, walk 2 blocks to the bank, pay the money to cover the insurance for one year.
We take the papers and receipt back to the 2nd counter. You did not pay enough...... she says, in Spanish and our friend who is translating looks very concerned. We get sent back to the 3rd counter where the man shows us the bank only charged us for one person's insurance, not 2. So, we think we will have to return to the bank, but the man says............ oh, no, I will go to the bank for you, just give me your money. Bill reluctantly gives the man $1000 more pesos and he tells us to sit down and wait for him to return. So, we do.
After about 20 minutes, he returns and gives us a 2nd receipt and tells us to take it back to the lady at the 2nd counter. We do.
She checks the receipt and gives a hard, heavy stamp to all of our papers, looks up at us and smiles and says........Bueno, adios. She says we are done and we can leave. So, we do.
Other than the hesitation to give the man at the 3rd counter more money, we all agree that went fairly smoothly. As we drive away, our friend notices that their names are all misspelled on their insurance papers and the birthdates are wrong. I look at our papers and see that no where does it give my married name. My last name is now my mother's maiden name.
Well, our photos are on the paperwork, our addresses are correct and we all think that none of it is worth returning to the building to get anything changed...................and besides, where else can you go and get full medical coverage for a year for 2 people for $2,000 pesos, which is about $275 US......who cares if the information is incorrect?
We decide to go to the main plaza and eat in the square because we have all brought sandwiches, thinking we would be at the IMSS building for the whole day.
We get a nifty parking space right by the entrance to the stairs, and outside of 2 signs that read, no parking in front of the stairs. It's a nice day, a light breeze, not too warm and the plaza is filled with people. We sit in the shade, around a large fountain where there is no water, and enjoy the breeze and our sandwiches.
We still need to go to the fabric store and the market and decide to move on.
But, we don't get too far.............
A motorcycle policia is parked behind the truck and he appears to be writing out a ticket for us.
So, of couse, we say................... what is going on, man? (but more nicely than that).
He takes us around to the front of the truck and points out that we have parked in front of a red stripe that goes a few inches to the right and left sides of the stairs. That is bad.........he says.
He asks us to get into the truck. We can understand most of what he says and our friend doesn't have to translate much for us. It is very obvious that we are in trouble. Then he asks for the truck registration. Thinking we have it all under control, I whip out the binder! But, I only seem to have the truck title and he is not interested in that. Eventually, we think the registration might be in the glove compartment where it is supposed to be and we all sigh in relief when we look in the glove compartment, and there it is.
So, he takes the paper and then walks around the truck several times and outside Bill's window, he starts to talk about Washington and how do we like living in the US capital, and we stupidly try to explain that we are from the state of Washington and not the capital, but first Bill explains that Seattle is the capital of Washington and then, tries to re explain, no, sorry, it's Olympia.
I am thinking this is getting out of control.
Policia asks about the weather in the capital and we try to talk some light talk about the rain and snow. He informs us that he was a tourist in the US and went skiing there. He shows us with a swish swish of his body, from side to side, how he skiied.
Bill goes on to tell him how our hijos live in Colorado and like to ski.
Now, I am starting to think, cool, he is very chummy and we are gonna drive off any minute.
Then, he took Bill's license and said we must go to the policia station and pay the $400 peso fine. He said we could do that right now. He said if we did that it would go on our record.
By now, our friend is in the thick of the translation and my head is spinning and I am trying not to get cranky or say anything too stupid, so I just look out the window at the people walking along the sidewalk. There is a little nino chasing a grasshopper.
Now, policia is talking about infractions as opposed to having a ticket on our record. Suddenly our friend says something very understandable, in Spanish................ahhhh, so we can pay you $200 pesos here?................si, si, says policia.
Our friend says...........policia says you can pay him $200 now and have an infraction or go to the station and pay $400 and have a record.................
We quickly got together a nice pile of pesos, which we handed to him through the window. He smiled, got on his motorcycle and drove away...........all in all, we found it to be a rather inexpensive day.........