Dateline: At the end of a long (long!) trail of bureaucratic nonsense
We finally pulled it off. The house purchase. Though I had insisted on Monday the 21st, we got it done on the 22nd as Monday was a holiday. I had insisted on getting copies of what I was to sign in advance so that I wouldn’t be sitting in a room full of people, reading a legal document in Spanish for the first time while everyone sat around waiting. I figured I’d quickly check the real documents against my copy by looking at the first few words in the upper left and lower right corners. If they were identical, I’d assume no pages were changed. But as with everything else in this process, my attempts at efficiency were swiftly foiled. The copy I was provided in advance was printed on letter sized paper. The official copy was printed on legal size. So I ended up spending a fair amount of time scanning to make sure things were the same, which they fortunately were.
The seller showed up about an hour late, with a nurse and oxygen bottle in tow. Though she hadn’t had covid, she had suffered some kind of lung infection in October, and was still having trouble breathing. While waiting, my attorney said that her son, Marco, “had atole flowing in his veins,” which I found hysterical.
After we signed a million papers, I fired up my laptop and sent the funds to the various parties — sellers, notaría, and my attorney. Because international bank transfers take a couple of days to clear, I didn’t get any escrituras then. In fact, I got nothing. As we left, I commented to my attorney, “I just dropped multiples of six-figures, and didn’t get so much as one of those paper receipts they give you in Oxxo.” He chuckled and said not to worry. But I couldn’t help but thinking that if I had been scammed, there’d be precious little documentation to prove my case.
The next day I boarded a jet and flew back to Boston, with only a week to spare on my visa. Six months is the longest I’ve ever spent in Mexico continuously. I think my prior record is 3-4 months. It was good to get home, though there was a ton of chores awaiting me here. My housemate had cleaned up many of the fallen leaves in the autumn, but I still had a lot of leaves to deal with, pruning, and general yard cleanup. There’ve also been a certain number of other chores and repairs. I need to replace the brakes on my car, change the oil, and transmission fluid.
Thursday April 7th, I had an appointment with the Mexican Consulate in Boston to get a visa temporal. While I brought a ton of documentation, I figured that I wasn’t going to show them any more than necessary. After going through my bank statements, they really didn’t ask for anything else. While they call it an “interview,” it wasn’t so much as a document check in my case. They asked me almost nothing of substance. Within 40 minutes I had my passport back with a fresh, visa temporal pasted into it. Before I left, I asked, “How can I attach my car to this visa?” The guy said he didn’t know, and that I should call one of the Mexican Consulates closer to the border, or maybe the one in Chicago. Internally, I chuckled. This Is Mexico even in Boston. You’d think they’d either have a web page with instructions to direct you to, or maybe a piece of paper they hand you. Nope. Welcome to Mexico, now go figure it out yourself.
I’ve got a few more things to do before I can head south. Today I’m planning to do the fluid changes on the car. After installing new front brakes yesterday, I noticed that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do the backs too. So I ordered them, but they won’t come until Tuesday. If past performance is any indication, they’ll arrive at the absolute last minute of the work day.
And I’m wondering about bringing stuff along with me to Mexico. I would REALLY REALLY like to have a good stereo in Mexico, something that would be difficult and expensive to buy there. I’ve been looking around for a good, used set of speakers, though I’m thinking of bringing the ones I’ve had since 2003. I’ve got several amplifiers already, and various other gear. I’m wondering how the customs people on the border will value my oddball collection of ancient gear. Some of my amplifiers are from late 50’s to early 60’s. New, they sold for something like $50 USD, though are worth considerably more now. And what about the speakers I bought in 2003 for $1,500? Speakers have depreciation curves similar to cars: steep and fast. If you have any idea how this is all handled, please drop a comment. In any case, I’m going to cross the border with a carload of stuff, though I’m not yet asking for a menaje de casa. Hopefully there will be no one at customs when I cross; that’s what happened in May of last year when I crossed with my friend, Dave. We just drove right through.
Anyway, I’m gearing up to go. If I leave Wednesday, I should be able to cross the border early Sunday morning, which seems optimal. The late blogger, “John Calypso,” always said to cross on Sundays if possible as the bad guys likely take that day off too. Otherwise I’ll try to cross mid-week, early. When I crossed in May of last year, we did it around 8:00 AM on a Thursday.
I’ll spend a little time in Ajijic on my way, and then the remodeling adventure begins. It’s sure to be full of Mexican craziness and unexpected setbacks. Stay tuned!