The Mexican hombre behind me leaned in within inches of my ear. We were in line for more than an hour by now.
“I came here from California, Santa Rosa north of San Francisco. The motor vehicle department was easier to get through. Maybe I should go back?” he said.
We started in on the usual conversation, “Where are you from? How long have you been here? Why are you living in Mexico when there is a choice?”
“Why are you?” we asked. Answering a question with a question.
It is a fact that red tape knows no borders – Especially when it comes to getting a vehicle legal.
This time around this was our eighth trip to Oaxaca Mexico’s version of the motor vehicle department. For the past year and a half we have not had all the papers/stickers and/or correct license plates for our 2008 Jetta – mostly because the vehicle department was lacking in physical plates or finely crafted shinny window stickers.
This go round we had logged more than eight hours – almost all of it waiting in lines.
It is definitely cheaper or easier to register your car each year in Oregon or New Mexico or Colorado than in Oaxaca – here it is about lots of seeds and red tape.Consider yourselves forewarned.
If you have been reading along you know we have suffered through many hours each year getting our visa permits to live in Mexico. The last time, a three month effort, yielded permanent residency cards wherein we no longer have to return to renew every year – we are golden – at least for the time being. Until some administration or arm of the government decides differently.
But, the car licensing process seems to have filled the void that was aggravation.
A month ago we were turned away after hours of waiting in a crowded space. Sent off without plates, being advised to call every week to see if the actual metal plates that would replace the existing ones would be in. Already we had encountered several police (transito) road blocks checking for proper papers, stickers and plates. Each time we had to explain that the local Puerto Escondido office did not have blah blah blah.
“Call to check on the plates” we were told. If you have been reading along you know we have no phones, landline or mobile. We thought we were clever on this score asking a friend in the same boat to let us know when she called in and heard to go in and get her plates and window sticker.
Three or more weeks passed. Last night we sent an email reminding our friend we were waiting to hear and to not forget us. Too late she got hers last week – “…been very busy….” Grrrr!
Today we did get the plates. But, a day or two ago they ran out of the fancy window stickers. We should return in three weeks or so. This cannot be real! But, no need to pinch myself it is.
The Mexican guy behind me leans in again and says, “Mexico loves its red tape.” He is smiling. I am fuming. After nearly ten years of this waiting and red tape I certainly am used to it. But the truth is that fact is not comforting. We are just wired to be unhappy when hours and hours of our time is robbed by inefficient governmental systems. OK we now can get pissed with a bit of a smile on our face – but pissed off we remain.
Got to go. Going go get a beer and hangout in the hammock – time to forget the two plus wasted hours this morning and maybe think about finding a new friend. Stay Tuned!