So, the phone message said to meet Tess in front of the Hospital General. Luckily I know now where that hospital is since I rode around looking for the medico on Saturday.
No problem, except I had no idea what Tess looked like but was told she would come in an old blue station wagon or a red SUV. Ok.
Rather then take my car, after Felipe's warning, I took a taxi. I said "Hospital General por favor" and he said "Hospital DelaFe" and I said "No, Hospital General". He looked confused so I said, "Direccion Soriana". I figured if I got him going in the right direction I could make modifications when we got near Soriana, which was what I did.
I told him to go left around the glorieta, which he did. Whew. Then I told him to go left and backtrack and turn right. The lightbulb went off in his face when he realized Hospital General was where I wanted to go. Yikes.
So I got out and waited in front of the hospital at 9AM as I was told to do. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Reddish-blonde hair with blue eyes. Yup, I was noticeable. So, after about 15 minutes of waiting and watching, I started thinking about what I would do IF Tess didn't show up. She is a friend of a friend who helps people get their driver's licenses was what I had been told. Ahh, then she drove up in an old blue station wagon. A WELCOME sight.
Off we went to a tiny building with a bunch of police cars in front. In we went where she was greeted by all. I had all my papers in order and then the officer said I had to take a written test in Spanish. Oh Lord, my stomach got a knot. I know, I know, don't say anything about my Spanish, puhleez.
Anyway, with the help of Tess, I completed the test and only had two errors. And then, horror of horrors, the officer said I had to take a driving test. Good heavens I felt like that 14 year old girl in Alexandria, Louisiana who got her first license. I was nervous as a cat on a tin roof. First thing I did wrong was to NOT wear the seat belt. Now mind you, I NEVER get in my car that I don't put the seat belt on - NEVER. But I was driving the old blue station wagon and I wasn't even sure if it had seat belts. So, anyway, I drive off at the pace of a snail and I miss the first right turn which requires me to make an illegal left turn which brought me right back to the transito office. The officer, either out of fear or compassion said I was finished. I didn't know if he meant I was finished literally or just done with driving.
But, out we went and back into the transito office where they took my photo, asked some more questions, fingerprinted me and had me sign my name. Many times. By the way, a webcam is attached to a metal rod and that is the camera they use to take the photo. I was impressed with the whole operation. Why can't they be that efficient in the USA?
Then they gave me a printed form to take to centro to pay for the license which will be good to 2014, if I live that long. Next step was to return back to the transito office which is on the outskirts of town near the prison, whereupon I gave them the paid receipt and they gave me the license.
Bada bing, bada boom. Total time - dos horas. I wasn't sure what was going to happen but I got through it all. It just goes to show you that my favorite saying "God protects fools and idiots - so I have double protection" still stands true.
Now I"m thinking where can I go now that I have a Mexican driver's license? Watch out everyone, I might show up in your neighborhood!