Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Day of NOT Knowing What I'm Doing

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!

9 comments:

1st Mate said...

I can't tell you how relieved I am to know that Mexican drivers have to take a test. Of some kind, anyway. Probably the examiner was just following form, not willing to get into it with you knowing his English was worse than your Spanish. But hey, it worked! Estas legal!

Felipe said...

Ms Matey, taking a test or not depends on where you go to get the license. When I got my Mexican DL in 2000, I took a written test in Spanish (and my Spanish was lame then), but no driving test was required. It still is not required where I live.

Many Mexicans do not have a DL. My sister-in-law drives without one and with petit mal epilepsy. She has passed out and crashed twice. I love this country.

Ms Babs, congrats on the license. I knew you´d get it. But really! A helper!? Ah, San Miguel. You people always amaze.

Tom said...

Wow you've been having some summer adventures. Glad to hear you got the Mexican DL and health certificate. I'm sure you are relieved to be back in SMA even considering the Mega thieves.

billow said...

Maybe you can use your Mexican DL for an ID to buy liquor or go to a cantina!

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Felipe said...

Babs, the comment from the Julie person is spam. She also left comments on earlier posts. Remember the little trash can icon and how to use it?

Babs said...

Well Billow, that's a thought! And Felipe, thanks for the heads up. I've deleted them all.
I'm off to Celaya today, with my new drivers license and my money safely tucked where no hand dare go to shop.........
I'm now paranoid about my purse!

jennifer rose said...

For my first Mexican driver's license, I was given an oral test in a group setting. When I noticed that the examinees were stammering and throwing out the wrong answer, of course, I was compelled to chime in arrogantly with the correct answer.

And then during the medical exam, I told the nurse I was something like 27' tall.

Jan said...

When I got my license in Nayarit there was no test, written or driving. I had stupidly let my US license expire so I had to get a Mexican license (I thought). You can still rent cars in the US etc. I got stopped in Arizona for speeding on the interstate and the policeman was so confused about my license that he let me go. Bruce got stopped in Mississippi or somewhere in the south and they said there was a formula; you had to pay on the spot and got an official receipt because they realize they could not track you in Mexico. I love both of these. Good for you. Now I have a Missouri license but I'll get another license here.