A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

April 29, 2005 — Tuesday we had come back to our village from the nearby city of Queretaro, with fistfuls of application forms for our FM-3 Mexican visas and an imperfect understanding of exactly what we needed to do.

Wednesday we spent the day doing it as best we could. Because we didn’t yet have a copy of the every-two-months electricity bill showing that it had been changed to Kelly’s name (not mine as well because only one person is allowed on the bill), we were going to have to get our landlord to write a typewritten letter explaining the situation. When I went next door in the morning to tell him this, he said that the bills had just arrived in town. We walked a few blocks to a shop where practically nothing was for sale but there was a huge stack of bills on the counter. We found ours and tra-la! It had Kelly’s name on it, so happily Francisco didn’t have to write a letter. (We paid about $4 US for two months.) We needed a utility bill as proof of address.

Then there were the application forms to be filled out correctly by typewriter. Luckily, our American friend Rob has a self-correcting portable typewriter and better Spanish than us. The three of us figured out my forms around the kitchen table, then Kelly went over to Rob’s to do the typing. It was a relief to me to have some time alone, as all this paperwork wasn’t the most fun. But I wasn’t free of it… I sorted out our papers into piles, went around the corner twice to get papers copied, printed out application letters we needed in Spanish.

Meantime, Kelly and Rob had run into trouble on Kelly’s application form. There were some 11 physical characteristics that had to be marked. Rob had a teenage boy doing some gardening in his patio, and the boy solved those mysteries. He just looked at Kelly and the form and knew exactly what to put.

We had a respite when we went to visit another American couple who are living here part-time now. With us and Rob, that brings the entire American population of Bernal to five in residence, with four others I know of who are in the US at present. The funny thing is how rarely I even think about nationality anymore! People are people, and we have so many friends here.

In the evening, we signed the papers, double-checked things, and discovered we needed a copy of our landlord’s ID (federal voting registration) along with our rent contract. He wasn’t home till quite late, but not to worry, the copy place around the corner is part of the same family business as a hangout for local youth and I’d already found out they were open till 10 or 11.

When Francisco got home, he turned out to have a copy of his ID so we were ready for the morning. He kindly offered us a trip to within five minutes of Queretaro, leaving at 6:30AM the next day, but since it was going to be in a cattle truck taking bulls to a slaughterhouse, we decided the bus would be more relaxing.

We woke early enough to get out to the highway for the 8AM bus to Queretaro. As we waited, we chatted with a lively young woman who was waiting for a different bus. It turned out she was a chemical engineer who had come to Bernal overnight to go up on the rock. She’s working now in a situation at a factory that doesn’t really use all her skills, but work is work.

Once in Queretaro about 9:00AM, we took a taxi to the Instituto Nacional de Migracion, where the same helpful woman as on Tuesday went over our papers to be sure we had them all. We didn’t quite, but no problema. We should have had a second copy of Francisco’s ID for my file, and I needed another application letter. She waved away the copy, saying it would be okay, and asked me to write out my letter by hand. She hadn’t asked us before for a copy of our marriage certificate, but now she did. I had expected they might want that, and a friend at home had found ours in my files and scanned it in for me.

She didn’t actually read the papers at this stage. Someone else will do that. She had taken away our FM-T tourist visas and given us a temporary paper. We are to go back in one week. If all goes well, our FM-3 visas will be ready!

I told her that after she been so helpful to us earlier in the week, I had hoped that the day would come when Mexican citizens applying for visas to the United States would receive as hospitable a welcome. She smiled.

We noticed as we left that there were quite a few people waiting. Coming early is a good strategy.

As Kelly and I walked to downtown Queretaro, we commented to each other that we hadn’t even thought when we left the United States in December that we would apply for Mexican residence visas. Now, with our tourist visas out of our hands, we weren’t tourists anymore!

We had brunch downtown. I stopped in at Woolworth’s Mexicana, and was greatly tempted to buy a pair of panties that said on them in English, “Love in Jail.” But I don’t like polyester underwear, so I passed them by. The Mexican use of English is a constant source of amusement to us, not unlike the entertainment we provide our Mexican friends with our Spanish.

As the comfortable bus rolled through the dry Mexican central highlands back to Bernal, I listened to the Andean music CD and felt grateful. And curious. What’s coming?

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