Saturday, July 20, 2013
Mexican Driver's Licenses and Plates
Look at this fireplace! Does that make any sense to you? Not to me and I told Senor about that and he just said.......don't blame about it. That means to not worry or be concerned and especially, don't try and tell him what to do. Probably to some of you builders it makes sense. I am calling it the Dr. Seuss fireplace until it looks normal.
I am going to keep this post short, bajajjaa.
We went to Navajoa yesterday for plates and licenses. It was a nightmare. Definitely at the very top of the Remind me Why I am Here list. Not that there ever was a list of this sort. But a couple of our experiences at the Immigration Store and now yesterday's experience are on it and hopefully that will be it, but well, probably not.
At the Agencia Fiscal, downtown, you get licenses and plates. We were in line and the man accepted our pedimente and other paper work, then told Senor to pull the car into a certain area down on the street and the man at the next window would come and check the VIN.
Next thing we know, a man is there to check the car, but he is odd, kind of jumpy, nervous, trying to talk to us in an English we have never heard before. He tells us we have to get our drivers licenses first and goes ballistic because we do not have our marriage license with us. I will not bore you with all of the details, but he did his best to make us feel very stupid and incompetent, finally told us to meet him in 30 minutes down by the car and deserted us.
I am feeling unhappy after 1 1/2 hours of his attitude and wondering if there is someone else who can help us. We now know his name is Moses and he comes and goes through the building like a mosquito is chasing him. In one door, out another, he is very busy, doing what, who knows. We meet him and carry on for another 2 hours over this and that. He is running around a little agitated, now and then going off to help other people. Finally he is back with us, and into Hour # Three, we get to the drivers license table. I have been watching the agent there for awhile, laughing and smiling with his other customers and I think, thank goodness, this will be welcome after all this time with Moses. But now this new man is suddenly rude and disrespectful to me. I tell him "buenas tardes" and he says nothing. He will not even look at me, so I am confused. I give him information he asks Moses to tell me he wants, he prints it, asks Moses to ask me if everything is correct. No, the phone is wrong. He rips the paper out of my hands, crumbles it up and throws it on the floor and does the paper work again. He will not look at me, he talks only to Moses. Moses tells me what the man behind the desk says, but his English is not English. I don't understand what he says, but I listen to the man behind the desk. I know what he wants, but he refuses to take any information from me. The man behind the desk sends me to a back room where a nice young girl translates. I tell her I understand what he wants. I just do not understand Moses. She says Moses is okay, just a little weird. Do I know who he is? Well, I know his name is Moses. Moses bursts through the door and waves me back to the license man, whom I am now calling ugly man.
Senor is sent to the back room, with Moses and she translates. She tells him Moses is an independent agent. We will need to pay for his services. Ah, Senor wants to explode. We have been caught up in something we did not see coming. Senor is afraid to say NO, Moses has ALL of the paperwork. He pays him 300 pesos.
The ugly man behind the desk has taken my photo for my license. If looks could kill............
It is Senor's turn. I am starting to cry and tell him it is all in his hands and I am outta there. Outside I break down. I have never been treated so rudely in this country. It is an experience that will make me appreciate all others. I stand outside and cry. The men look at me and come close. The women look sympathetic and stay far. I try to gain control. A young man in his 20's ask me if he can get me something. I want to hug him and go to his house. Anything, anywhere to get away.
After I compose myself, I look inside where Senor looks miserable with the ugly man behind the desk.
I walk inside to the information counter and I tell the lady behind the counter that the man behind the desk has been my worst experience in Mexico. I tell her how rude he has been. He has been disrespectful. I tell her that Moses has not been much nicer. I go on and on and on, but I am through crying and being treated rudely. After I say some more nasty things about the men, I look at her and say.............one is not your esposo is he? I am feeling very stupid. She is very sympathetic and very sorry and is flushed and shaking her head. She gets up from behind her counter and pats me on the shoulder and walks away.
I am exhausted and leave the building, again, in tears. When I come back in there is a big crowd in the back surrounding Senor and the ugly man. Moses is not in sight. Everyone is talking at once and people sound angry and then, not angry. The ugly man smiles at Senor, takes his fingerprints and picture and gives him his license. At least 4 or 5 people say, gracias, gracias, gracias. Ugly man smiles at Senor. Moses shows up and takes Senor back to the window for car plates, leaves him there and walks over to me and I turn and walk right out of the building.
In 5 minutes, Senor comes out with the plates licenses, we do not look at each other, we do not talk. We get in the car and drive home.
Later Senor says he was sitting with the license man who was ignoring him completely and talking over his head only to Moses. Senor even asked him a question and the man would not acknowledge him at all. Suddenly a group of people charged in and stood behind and around the desk, and a man who appeared to be in charge asked in both English and Spanish..............IS there A problem here? Senor claims he looked around for me, but I was nowhere to be seen.
Later that evening, back in Alamos, after drinks and a lovely dinner at the home of some wonderful friends who make me laugh, Senor reminded me of some of our trips to the Immigration Store and we were not always met by the kindest of people. But how long have we been here? Five years. How many times have we been met with confrontations? Not even a handful.
It tells me that there are always going to be some people who do not want us here. But it also tells me there are people who do want us here and want to help us.....the twenty something kid who wanted to know if he could get me anything, the lady who sat behind the information desk and did exactly what I would have done if I were in the states working with anyone who was treating a foreigner rudely.
Drivers Licenses? $95 USD each. Good for 4 years.
Car Plates? $110 USD. Good for one year. The year ends in December.
Experience? Well, I would not call it priceless.