Sunday, November 18, 2012

Back to the Hacienda

We got back to Mexico and I started putting our 

packets together for visa renewal.  I checked on the 

computer to see if the long promised internet site was 

up along with the long awaited fill-in forms.  Much to 

my surprise, the web site was up, but there was only 

one of a bunch of forms.  Not to be outdone, I went 

searching some sites that gringo ex-pats maintain trying 

to make sense of Mexican bureaucracy.  Wouldn't you 

know the gringos had transformed those forms into the 

computer fill-in variety.  I learned so much on the one 

web site, I felt like a expert.  

The new system was going to be a lot faster.
Visas would be issued in a week instead of the

 customary two weeks.  

Travel would be allowed with temporary visas

 while the permanent ones were being processed.
We were all going to be thrilled with the new process. 

I filled out all my forms, made my copies and we
hit the office in Torreon  full of optimism. 

First laugh of the day:  they had never seen the

computer generated forms I presented. "Yes, they

are what the government has approved, but they

are not officially available yet and we may not be

able to accept them."  I honestly thought they

were going to make me copy everything over in

 ink.  Thankfully, that disaster was averted.  We left

 the office to have our photos made and returned in

 high good humor.  

The packets were evaluated and pronounced fine and

wonderful.  OK!  We're moving now!  

Second laugh:  When will the visas be ready?  "In

about a month, mas o menos."  A month?  What

happened to the much quicker service?  "Sorry.

All the papers have to go to Mexico City and your

visa will be issued from there."

Third laugh:  OK.  Not a problem.  We need the

temporary visa to allow travel outside Mexico in

the meantime.  "Sorry.  No es posible.  The system

has not gotten quite that far."  So, we can't leave

Mexico for a month?  "That's about the size of it

Mas o menos"  I think you probably know that it 

is far more likely to be mas than menos.

Fourth laugh:  Well, I guess we can handle that.  It

isn't the worse thing that ever happened.  Let me 

just pay for this and we'll go back to Parras, have a

glass of wine, and lick our wounds.  "Sorry.  The

system isn't ready to receive payments yet."  Can I

pay at the bank like I've been doing for the last

 upteen years?  "No.  We can't receive payments

 like that anymore.  I'll send you an email when the

 system is ready."  Will this delay my visa?

 "Probablemente no pero no soy cierto."

You need to know that by now the laughter had a few

 tears mixed in.  But you haven't heard the best part.

When we arrived at Perote on Sunday evening the

 lights were shining brightly,water was pouring out of

 the spout.  All was well.  Monday morning we had the

 same utilities.  Monday afternoon everything went off. 

After considerable effort we discovered that Perote

was involved in a dispute with the electrical

commission - another government entity - about the

discrepancies between the rates paid for agriculture 

virsus commercial.  Until the dispute is settled it was

agreed to allow electricity on the week-ends only.  

Well, you know me well enough to know I don't 

function very well without lights and water.  

So . . . we are staying for the duration in a house that

Nacho owns right downtown on main street.  It hasn't 

been lived in for years, but little by little we're making

 it feel like home.   Pretty soon we'll have half our stuff

 in this 200 year old Mexican house with the funkiest

 bathroom you ever saw and the very most basic of 

kitchens.  We're listening to XM radio and thinking

 about watching a DVD.  Tomorrow we'll bring the

microwave so Stanley can heat up his coffee and we'll

 be able to make microwave pop corn.  I told you we 

were making this feel like home. 

I'm convinced we will be in Texas by Christmas, but

 the idea of being there for Thanksgiving has gone

 directly out the window.  Tomorrow, the Mexican

 government is closed for Revolution Day and I want 

to celebrate with all these good people, but if I'm not in

 Texas for Christmas, they are likely to learn a thing or

two about a real revolution.