Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 10 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

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 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.   


sparks_mex said...

Hard to keep that one short I guess. Glad you survived it.

My licence was $495 pesos with very nice people

Anonymous said...

What an experience. Glad you can see the trees for the forest. In Merida a license was $240 pesos and is good for, I think, 3 years. If you arrive with all the required paperwork, it's about an hours process. AND my second renewal was actually expired over 2 years and I only needed the new photo and to update my address.

Steve Cotton said...

I need to get a Mexican driver's license before long to go with my new Mexican-plated Escape. But I will keep my Nevada driver's license active, as well. It may come in handy one of these days.

Tancho said...

I guess the fireplace was an afterthought since the support beam was in the way of the chimney and had to be zigged to the left a little.
Look at it this way, it's a great conversation starter.
Man, you have a lot of self control, I think I would have exploded and taken a few casualties if I had the same "personalities" interact with.
And thanks for the little package, it arrived a few days ago.
Reading your previous blog I now understand what the delay was driving or trying to drive through Vicam.

~~kattz*cottage~~ said...

Goodness gracious girl!! What an awful day that I'm sure you'd like to erase & not have to think about ever again! All I can say is the fireplace looks great compared to Moses & the ugly man!! Breathe deep & just think of it as a moment in time that is thankfully over!!

Brenda Maas said...

My goodness, how dreadful.
We had no problems getting out licenses in Guaymas.
Other than a long waiting time, no issues getting our car plates either; but then we bought a car in Guaymas,(mexican car). The renewal was a breeze for the car plates, a few minutes only.
We didn't deal with any of those independent agents; but they seemed to act like they owned the place.

No excuse for rudeness like that in any country.

Brenda Maas said...

oops, "OUR" licenses.

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

Hola Sparks, is that DL good for how long? 957 pesos each for 4 years for us.

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

Anonymous, we do feel pretty good about 957 for 4 years and even better to be done with it for that long. And we hear we can renew in a different place in Navajoa and who knows, maybe even in Alamos, in 4 years.

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

Steve, yes, a good idea to hang on to the US one. I am in a tizzy for Senor. His WA DL expires in Oct and he says he does not want to renew. I have not decided if he will or he will not. So, ah ha, you did not need to have a MEX DL in order to even buy your MEX plated car. That is good news, too. LL

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

Tancho, good to hear you received the package.
Well, you know Senor, he always has something up his sleeve or in his back pocket. We will have to wait and see what happens to the DR Seuss FP.
Ahhh, VICAM. Dang, they don't make it easy do they? LL

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

Yes, what a rotten day. Then I had bad dreams all nightlong. Little men in green shirts trying to drag me into Agencia Fiscal........ I love you!

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

Brenda, I wish we had gone to Guaymas. That was my plan and was why I asked you for the location. Now see, if we had not run out of US $$$ my plan was to leave Tucson on Sunday, overnight in Guaymas or SC and hit the Guaymas Agencia Fiscal on Monday morning. I just have a feeling it might have been a nice day. LL

Gin said...

Linda, fireplace building can be an adventure in itself. We were poco, poco building our casa and already living in it when the guy came to build the fireplace. He builds all the bottom part and quite a ways up the chimney before stopping to check to see if it would draw properly. Now the Mexican way to do this is simple and easy, right? He lights some wads of newspaper in the firebox and up the smoke goes, very good it draws perfectly, however since it is only constructed partially up the wall the smoke begins to pour out into the house. Ah, such memories. Our stock thing is, "only in Mexico".

Gin said...

Linda, fireplace building can be an adventure in itself. We were poco, poco building our casa and already living in it when the guy came to build the fireplace. He builds all the bottom part and quite a ways up the chimney before stopping to check to see if it would draw properly. Now the Mexican way to do this is simple and easy, right? He lights some wads of newspaper in the firebox and up the smoke goes, very good it draws perfectly, however since it is only constructed partially up the wall the smoke begins to pour out into the house. Ah, such memories. Our stock thing is, "only in Mexico".

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

Gin, that's a great story!!. So far the fireplaces Senor has built draw great and produce lots of heat. I imagine this one will, too. Everything he does is carefully calculated, so I know this will be awesome when done!LL

KD Kaiser said...

Mom, catching up on your blog and getting inspired to somehow write blog posts of my own still for the holiday inn blog...only 2 more weeks. my problems are poquito compared to what you went through but you are the strongest woman i know and como se disa "don't blame about it" in espanol