Residente Temporal

As we go to Mexico so often we decided to try for a permanenté visa. This would allow us to stay as long as we want instead of just 180 days as a tourist. We would also get further benefits which are not altogether clear just yet.

We had to go to the Mexican consulate in Vancouver for the first part of the process. We wanted to get full Permanenté but could only qualify for Temporary at this time which means that we have to re-apply each year for a total of four years before it turns into Permanenté. Our applications were accepted and we got an Mexican visa stamp in our passports.

When we arrived in Mexico we had thirty days to complete the process. We looked the forms up on-line and at first it looked somewhat daunting. Of course, everything is in Spanish. We could have gotten some help but found out that it is very expensive.

I wasn’t feeling good with my cold so Rosalie went to the local immigration office to make enquiries. She came back armed and ready to go. It took a bit of time to fill out her form but she succeeded and then she did mine.

One of the problems was finding where I was born. Neither England, UK or Great Britain was on the drop down menu. But Rosalie persisted and I was eventually born in “Reino Unido De Gran Bretania e Irlanda del Norte.” I was quite impressed.

We took the form to the immigration office and crossed our fingers.

The young lady we saw spoke passable English and was very helpful. I was concerned about the second set of forms that we had to fill out as they also looked really daunting. We needn’t have worried as the young lady did it all for us.

After much signing and initialing she gave us yet another form to take to the bank to pay our fees. We couldn’t use our bank for some reason so had to go to the BanaMex.

We walked inside and stood there looking stupid (easy for me, I know.) A Mexican lady helped us out and we took a number and waited. We still haven’t figured out the numbering system. Once again the lady came to our assistance and called us to the counter when our turn came.

The young cashier took our forms but when it came to paying wouldn’t accept our local bank’s debit cards. So, Rosalie sat while I went out to the ATM.

After we paid we had to go get copies of the receipt at a photocopy place, then return to immigration and we were done for the day. Now we had to wait for a couple of weeks before we would hand in a new set of special size photos that we got done at a local store. We also had to get our finger prints taken.

Our notification arrived way earlier than expected so off we went to finalize everything. We handed in our photos and and all the paperwork was stamped. Then they took the same stamp pad and took our fingerprints. We were told to come back in a week for our temporal cards.

It was several hours later and we still had ink on our fingers.

We had been to the bank the day before to update our account and they took our prints electronically. Although I did have a few issues with the scars from my surgery.

When we returned on the appointed day, to pick up our temporal cards, they were not ready so had to wait another four or five days. Ah, that’s Mexico.

By Tuesday of the following week, we went back to the immigration office and our cards were finally ready. Time to celebrate. Off to Papa Gallo’s on the beach and have some nachos and a few “pops”.

Us, the proud parents of our new Residente Temporal cards. Notice Rosalie is doing the two for one thing again. She behaved this time though.

As Faye and Mike said, we now have an immediate compulsion to turn the radio up real loud and rush out and sweep the street in front of the house.

Banned!!

Rosalie and I went up town to get yet more money from the ATM. This, of course, is extremely hot work and needing to cool off, we headed for one of our favourite restaurants on the beach.

We sat at a table which was under a palapa but on the sand. After ordering a beer each we set to saving the world. Halfway through our first beer, Rosalie suggested that we go and sit at a table on the actual beach as it was closer to the waves. So that’s what we did,

We sat for about an hour and a half and drank five beers between us. The problems of the world were slowly getting sorted when we decided to leave. I asked for the bill but got quite the shock when it arrived. The five beers we had came to 180 pesos but there was an additional charge of 200 pesos. I called the waiter over and asked him to explain. He informed us that it was for use of the umbrella at our table.

Yea, right! I wasn’t about to pay that and told him to go back and adjust the bill. He said okay, but I had to pay him to pay him for the beers first, which I did, adding a tip.

As we were leaving, an old lady, whom I suspect is the owner’s Mum started yelling at me. From what I could get, she was telling us not to come back. I informed her “Yo no turista” and we went on our way. Our bill had been overcharged the last time we were in so I think they took us for tourists who didn’t know any better.

It is the custom to charge for the beach tables here but you are normally informed of the charge beforehand. The reason for the charge is that Mexican tourists bring all their own food and booze and just use the tables. When we were there the tables were empty so we weren’t stopping anyone from sitting on the beach. Also, the charge of 200 pesos was way too much. Oh well, there are lots more restaurants to get thrown out of.

This morning, Chrismas Day, we were told that the restaurant in question had a fire last night. Someone getting too silly with fireworks. And no, it wasn’t me. Karma perhaps!

Those are the notorious tables we sat at.

We visited another of our regular restaurants the other night. The entertainment is good and this is the same band that we will see New Year’s Eve.

Our next door neighbour has a couple of lovely kids so we bought a soccer ball for Ivann who is about 10 and a doll for Camila about 1 1/2. They much appreciated the gifts and their Mum made them say “Gracias”.

We must be getting acclimatized as, when we get up the temperature is about 20-21 C and we feel quite chilly. The same in the evenings. It’s going to be hard coming back to Canada in April.

It’s Christmas and we wish all our friends who read this, ‘Feliz Navidad’.

 

Ole, Ole

What a night! 

Mike and Pat sent an email on Saturday asking if we would like to help with the Christmas parade in Barra on Sunday. All we had to do was sit in the back of his tricked out VW Bug and toss candies to the kids.

It started well. We got to their place in plenty of time and had a few margaritas to get us started and keep us warm. We had picked up a few beers on the way so these went into the cooler in the back seat with me and we were all set.

Mike and Pat’s Mexican friend Cruz and his wife Candy were with us as well as Cruz’s friend Joshua.  Cruz had his dune buggy with a boom box strapped to the front and flashing lights all over. He went first as we didn’t want that blasting at us from behind. Mike’s car was decked out with lights and came next. Joshua followed with a car covered in lights. All the vehicles had advertising for Cruz’s body shop business stuck on them.

After we joined up with the rest of the vehicles driven by a lot of Canadians and the parade was on. There was a police car leading the way which, apparently, was quite rare. 

We’re a bit fuzzy as we had already had a margarita

It took us some time to wend our way downtown as they don’t stop the traffic, people just get out of the way. As the parade got closer the crowds got denser. Rosalie and I were throwing candy to the kids as we went along but Pat warned us to try to save some as we were going to go to the village of Jaluco because the kids there don’t get a lot of stuff. We were also going to do a bit of Melaque. It was tough as we wanted to give all the kids some. I’m sure they didn’t suffer though, as all the vehicles were throwing candy.

 

I’ve never seen so many kids in one place. We tried to target the little ones but often the bigger kids got in the way so as the bigger ones bent down to pick up the candy we would throw it over their heads to the little ones in the back. I would slyly give one or two to the adults as they like candy too.

The thing I liked best was just seeing everyone having so much fun. And the Mexicans really appreciate the parade. There’s nothing official about it; no permits or red tape, just a bunch of people getting together and doing something for the kids. And lots and lots of noise.

 

After finishing up in Barra we took a pit stop at Mike and Pat’s before finishing the rest of the trip. The parade through Jaluco and Melaque was small, just us three vehicles but it was still a lot of fun.

At the end of the evening, our small parade ended up at our place and invited our next door neighbours in. All the time Cruz’s boom box was blasting away. He finally shut it down and turned off the lights because they didn’t want to kill the battery.

Rosalie and I weren’t prepared very well, but next year we will be, should we be invited again. 

Kids and ‘orses

The kids down here are just beautiful. We have a little neighbour, Caramila, who tries to break into our front patio. Her little hand sneaks through the gate and she tries to undo the latch. As soon as we say “hola” she takes off.

The families are very tight here. We often see older kids looking after the younger ones. Caramila and her brother Alan, often pass by and she likes to wave at us. We saw her outside one day in a traditional Mexican costume so we had a great photo op. When we take photos of kids the parents are very proud.

Bill and Connie had just arrived and dropped by for a glass of wine. People do that here: just drop in. After a while, a horse and rider came by and Bill jumped up and Yelled “Chris.” I was somewhat startled and wondered what the hell I had done now. As it turns out, Christian was the rider of the horse. Bill and Connie have known him for some time.

Rosalie and I were introduced to Christan and his horse also named Chris. It was like a Chris convention. Christian runs a horse tour business so it looks as though we may be going riding one day; although I still haven’t gotten over that nasty rental bike saddle yet.

Chris, Christian and Bill

I offered Christian a cerveza as he looked hot and he happily took it. We chatted for about half an hour and then he rode off. About an hour later he returned and we chatted again. I think maybe he was looking for more cerveza.  We’ve seen him around town a few times but didn’t manage to talk again.

Our bits and pieces are starting to build up so we have to find a storage locker for the summer. We have a lead on one so we will have to go and secure it on Monday.

Our social calendar is going to have to slow down. We’re getting too old for all that dancing and stuff. Although we do still enjoy it. Also, it gets quite costly going out, night after night.

We tried a Tequila liqueur at Mike and Faye’s place that Rosalie liked so much she decided to order some – 5 litres. At 92 pesos ($6.01) a litre, she thought it was a deal, which it was. When we got it home we found that instead of coffee flavour we had gotten almond. Several phone calls later we got it exchanged and all is well.

While we were exchanging the liqueur, we met Mike and Faye’s pet iguana. They named it “Iggy” but I was going to suggest Raphael. They feed it bananas and it isn’t in the least bit afraid, even of me. They invited us to stay for dinner but we didn’t fancy Kentucky fried iguana so we grabbed our hooch and went home.

 

Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle

After trying out Gerry’s bike the other night I wondered if I could ride it sober. We wanted to buy a couple of bikes but decided to rent some for a day to see if we could do it and if we liked it.

We went to the adventure tour shop and looked at a few bikes. Having made our choice, we paid 180 pesos ($11.68) for both of them for the day. Rosalie hadn’t ridden for some time and got off to a bit of a rocky start. She wobbled down the road expecting to be hit by a car at any moment. But I think only one car passed us on the way home.

When we did get home, however, she had remembered how to start but was not too good at stopping. She wiped out onto the concrete and scraped her leg.

We rested up for a while and after a few tips and checking with Gerry to see if he had any training wheels, we were off again. That’s my girl, tough as they come!

She did way better this time. We rode over some pretty bumpy roads and I had a terrible saddle so have a few saddle sores to show for it. Rosalie was leading so I think she did it to make me suffer as well. Also, my bike was a bit big for me so if we buy one I have to remember that.

So we took a trip into town to get some more money for our trip to PV. We went through some traffic as we were going the wrong way up a one-way street like most people here. I managed okay but Rosalie was a bit apprehensive. On the way back she was a lot more confident but we still drove the wrong way up another one-way street.

The following morning we had to return the bikes as well as get ourselves to the bus depot with our little carry-on case. I had planned to take it on my bike but couldn’t figure out a way to do it. So, we strapped it to Rosalie’s carrier. I watched with some apprehension as she wobbled up the road but she seemed stable enough and made it safely.

How I feel riding into town.  Note the rooster I was about to strangle.

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

“Queen”

Another strange week

This was written last week.

I don’t think the weeks are that strange, it’s just that we are no longer on holiday but actually living here. It just feels different. When we go uptown we don’t wander around the shops ogling tacky tourist crap, (T.T.C.) We go for groceries and things we need in the house.

We’ve had some fun with our bank account. First, we couldn’t access our online account. Apparently, we have to use it every month or else they make it inactive. That got sorted out but then the property manager couldn’t cash the cheque we had given her. Off to the bank once more while the property manager waited in the branch in Manzanillo. We got that sorted out too. We didn’t know that we had to Activate the cheques. We are now waiting for the next unexpected bank problem.

I miss the Big Green Egg so we went and bought a charcoal BBQ. It took me the best part of the afternoon putting it together (?) as I only had a bent fork to work with. I did try it out last night. It lit up fairly quickly with help from my personal little fan. We tried hamburgers but they mostly broke up; the sausages were good though. I’m looking forward to our first turkey cooked on the beast. Or perhaps a rooster.

Rosalie has had a few hassles and had to go and see Dr. Rosa. She’s fine but can’t drink alcohol for a couple of weeks. I’m disappointed because now I can’t blame her for drinking all the wine. So now I have no idea where it all went.

I got another new hat last week, lighter than the last one, looks like a Tilly hat ($85) and only cost 80 pesos ($5.22). I love it so far.

It’s starting to cool off here. 21 C when we got up this morning. But it hits 28 C during the day. Our bedroom faces south so it warms up during the day. We keep the curtains drawn and that helps. As soon as the sun goes down we open them up and get a nice cool through – draft from the front bedroom. We have to close our window at night though because of the f_cking rooster.

I tried riding a bike for the first time in years. I haven’t lost the knack, I thought my knees wouldn’t take the strain but they were great. The seat was a bit high and the first time I turned a sharp corner was a bit hairy but I didn’t embarrass myself so all was good We are now looking for a couple of bikes as the walk uptown is getting a bit tedious. We were told we can rent a bike for about $100 a month. We also found out that you can buy a used bike for about $50. Decisions, decisions.

Gerry and Elaine, our neighbours, arrived last night. We ended up with ten of us at The Red Lobster for ribs followed by drinks at their place. Rosalie still can’t drink so she had to drive me home to our casa next door.

Boy! life down here is so hard.

 

A strange week

A strange week indeed. We went to the bank one day last week to get our account sorted out. We then walked over to the Banamex to withdraw some cash. “Why a different bank from our own?” you may ask. Well, the Banamex has a better rate for withdrawing pesos from our Canadian account than our own bank.

On the way, Rosalie spotted a sign offering two for one margaritas so she had to drag me in to try some. They were very good but after one Rosalie starts to giggle so we were a bit concerned that she may not be able to take advantage of the two for one.

At about this time we got a message from Mike and Pat asking if we wanted to meet them at Tito’s bar on the beach at 5 o’clock. We decided to go but, as it was only 3 pm and we had time to kill, Rosalie, being the trooper she is, ordered her second drink.

We eventually strolled to Tito’s and met up with the rest of the guys. We only stayed a few hours as we had been out since noon and were getting tired. Rosalie wanted to walk home. It only takes half an hour but I was insistent on getting a Tuc-Tuc. We walked as far up the town centre but no Tuc-Tucs so we ended up walking the rest of the way.

The following day Mike and Pat took us to Manzanillo on a shopping trip. That blew our budget for the month but we did stock up on a lot of things for our whole stay. For instance, we bought two 1 ltr bottles and two 750 ml bottle of liquor for $42 as well as few non essentials like food and paper towels.

On Friday we went with Mike and Faye to La Oficina. Before we left, Rosalie locked up the house not knowing that I was still in it. When we got there we bumped into Mike and Pat again. We ordered our meal and I got a bottle of wine as we thought it would be cheaper that way. After eating, just as the music started, Rosalie said she wasn’t feeling well and would I get Mike to run her home in Pat’s car.

They left, I put some money on the table for Faye to pay the bill, grabbed my bottle of wine and hurried after them. When I got home Rosalie had locked the door on me again. She managed to get her head out of the toilet long enough to let me in.

Poor kid, she was up all night throwing up. The following morning she was feeling a bit better but I started to feel a bit queasy. I had a dentist appointment to fix a cracked tooth ($32) so I went even though I wasn’t feeling 100%. That afternoon I felt a lot worse and slept a lot. The next day we were both feeling better but hung around the house and napped all day.

This is the first time Rosalie’s has been sick down here. I think it was a mild case of food poisoning but we will never know for sure.

We met Dave Spinks at the market yesterday and apologized for leaving early and assured him it had nothing to do with his music.

The rooster’s still at it. I’m hoping to hear, at about 4 am, “cockadoodle BANG!” I’ll go back to sleep with a smile on my face. The next morning I’ll ask Rosalie to get bbq chicken for lunch and hope it’s him.