Thursday, April 13, 2017

Waiting A Long Time For IT To Happen!

This car brought me to Mexico almost seventeen years ago.  It has been a trusty steed.  With close to 200,000 miles on it, the Pathfinder still hits the road like a young kid.  Amazingly so.

When NAFTA went into effect about eight or ten years ago requiring that all vehicles be nationalized, if
possible, it was not possible for me to do so with this car because it was made in Japan.  Only cars
made in Canada or the USA could be nationalized.

If I had had a permanent visa, it would have been illegal for me to keep my import sticker on the car so for
the last sixteen years, I had a temporal visa.  As of November, I have had a permanent visa.  For one reason,  in order to keep a temporal visa, I would have had to go back to the USA, to the Mexican Consulate and reapplied all over again as though I had never had a visa.  With that, one must prove income of $2400USD per month or an exceedingly high number in savings or investments.  Rather then go through
that, I opted to roll over to a permanent.  This means that I never have to apply again for a visa.  It also means that my car is no longer legal, although I do have Mexican car insurance on it here in Mexico.

I drove the car to the beach in January wondering if I would get stopped.  One police officer did raise his
hand as I started to leave a toll booth, but he just wanted to talk.  And, then he waved me on. 

However, I headed out the other day to Celaya, which is about 45 minutes from here, to Costco in search of a spiral ham.  There is always a roadblock to check papers etc. of Mexican vehicles, but in the past they have just waved me on.  Not Tuesday.

A young, sharp eyed officer noticed that my Temporary Import Permit was expired on the windshield.  Now if I still had a temporal visa it would automatically renew with my visa.  He did not ask for my visa, but my
driver's license.  Stupidly I gave it to him - lesson learned.  He would say that my permit was expired and I would say no it was not that my visa automatically renewed it.

But, he was sharp, in a polite way.  He had a smart phone.  He would write in his comment in Spanish and translate it to English.  Well, we both know that the translation sometimes makes no sense, so I would shake
my head and in English tell him I did not understand.  This went back and forth for about ten minutes - me in English - him in Spanish.  I just wanted to see what would happen.

Ultimately, he said he would have to give me a ticket.  I said, "OK".  Then he asked where I was going and I said "Celaya".  Then I asked how much the ticket would be and where would I go to pay it?  On his phone he wrote 1100 pesos and I laughed and shook my head "No".  He then quickly changed it to 600 pesos.
That is about $30USD.  I asked him again where I would go to pay it and he said "Aqui".  Then I got it!

For the first time in over forty years of driving in Mexico, I was asked for MORDIDA.  I was astounded.
So, I gave it to him in order to get my Mexican drivers license returned.  Never did I get the ticket.......or his name.  With that I drove off and no further problems.

Several people had told me that if I got caught, that my car would be confiscated and I would go to jail.
Nothing even remotely close to that happened.  Every time I have ever been stopped by the Federales or in this case, local police from Celaya, the officers have always been very polite and not threatening at all.

So, now I know.  It was an interesting experience.  One I will chalk up to another adventure on the roads of Mexico.  By the way, no spiral hams at Costco for Easter dinner.  No hams at all!  That's life.


19 comments:

Retired Teacher said...

So what are you going to do? Get a new vehicle?

Babs said...

I'm just going to keep driving it around here. I can't afford to
buy another vehicle and if I take the car out of Mexico, I can't
get a permit to bring it back in....It will die a slow, natural death
on the roads of Mexico.

I figure if nothing has happened in 17 years, and I've never had a problem
before, I'll just take my chances......

Lynne (WinnieViews) said...

Hey-- that's the same roadblock I got stopped at in November. Maybe it was me and my smartphone using Google Translate that gave that cop the idea! Ugh! Well, sorry you got a mordida, but glad you got your license back. I guess it's time to avoid Celeya and only go to the Costco in Queretero from now on. Happy Easter!

Babs said...

That roadblock has been there for a couple of years Lynne! Sorry they got you too.
I only go to Costco a couple of times a year now that we have such good stores in SMA. I guess I will have to go to Q-town, which is where we all went before there was a
Costco in Celaya!

Happy Easter to you too.......hope you are doing well.

Janet Avery said...

Why don't you get a UCD plate? It's not terribly expensive (1900 pesos) and isn't dependent upon your TIP or visa status. You can drive in three states -- Guanajuato, Queretaro & Michoacan.

mcm said...

You might want to rethink your strategy. I'm ''pretty sure'' that your Mexican insurance is NOT VALID if your car is not legal (they may sell you the policy, but that doesn't mean that you will be covered). In other words, if you have an accident, the company will probably not pay -- not a big deal if it's just your car, but in the case of an injury to someone or damages to another vehicle, you could be in real problems, including a stay in jail until it's worked out. I would check this very carefully.

crynoutloud said...

Hola Babs,

The same situation in Chicago, you would have been dragged out of the car, slammed to the ground and handcuffed. Then thrown in jail with a few gangbangers. The car would have been towed and impounded $250 to $1000 to get it back.

But I hear they are going to stop dragging people off of airplanes.

Viva Mehico.

Babs said...

Janet, you are SO right! That is what I need to do. I doubt that I will drive anywhere other then those three states anymore. I did want to drive to Texas, but
I have to accept that that is not going to happen again, very sadly.......

MCM - Of course, I did already check that. It is a USA car with a USA address, hence it is covered driving in Mexico, according to the agent who I have had for 17 years.
My visa has no bearing on the insurance according to him. I have had several people tell me that I would end up in jail for the last 40years, but I have to tell you, that even though I have had an accident in SMA where a woman and child were hurt, I was
never threatened with anything. My attorney were on the premises and took care of everything. Thanks for your concern......

Crynoutloud - I would be more worried if I were in the USA, truly. VIVA!

jennifer rose said...

Babs, you're a lovely person, but you're kicking sand in the face of those who did take action, which many of them would've preferred not to have, by legalizing their cars, taking the car to the border, continuing an immigration status which does permit temporary importation. You got off lucky with that cop. You may not be so lucky the next time.

Babs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado said...

Mcm is right...

Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado said...

Mcm is right...

Babs said...

Thanks to you and MCM, I'll check with Senor Zavala again. I have now decided to
get the UCD plates which will make it all a moot point as they provide the insurance.

lydiajane said...

I was also stopped there, could not understand what the officer was asking for, gave him a couple hundred pesos and was on my way - it definitely is a mordida scam. You can go to Ceyla using the bypass, and avoid that stop. It made me mad to have to pay, for nothing - so I will not go that way ever again. One friend who goes there often said - demand the ticket, don't pay the mordida, and they'll most likely let you go. That's another strategy.

Babs said...

I'm sorry they got you as well. I wanted to play it out to see what would happen, since it was the first time that had ever, in 40 years, happened to me. I did ask for
the ticket, but of course they never gave me one. I wish I had asked for his name and badge #. THEN he would have let me go!

Joanne D said...

I am quite surprised that you would drive a car that is illegal to drive. Doesn't matter if the law seems silly or a technicality. It is illegal. What would your opinion be of a foreigner doing something similar in the USA?

Quite frankly, this has diminished my opinion of your character.

Babs said...

Joanne D, I'm sorry you are so judgemental about my life. You don't know the whole story. I think your comment is rude and unnecessary.

Deborah Bickel said...

love your blog!

deborah Bickel web site bewellsanmiguel.com

Babs said...

Thanks Deborah for commenting. I'm familiar with the work you do to help
people with medical issues. A much needed service in this town.