Category Archives: Driving Hazards

Mid-month Updates

2020 has been a rough start, but nothing we can’t handle. So here’s the latest from the Flores ranchito.


January 1 my new-to-me motorcycle decided it wasn’t going to start. It was something electrical, but what it is specifically had him baffled for two weeks. It turns out, the previous owner had done some electrical “upgrades” that crossed some wires. Taking those out and replacing the box where all the wires meet seems to have done the job. It still needs a new front light and gas gauge, but it runs yet again.

January means paying for the “contribución materia vehicular impuesto” or vehicle tax. In comparison to last month, this month was a walk in a park. All we had to do was take our tarjetas de circulacion to the Institute de Seguridad Social del Estado de Guanajuato (ISSEG) pharmacy. Each moto costs $135 pesos this year and the truck was $487. It goes up every year.


Speaking of things going up, the garafon (jug) of water from Santorini now costs $36 pesos, 2 pesos more than December and 6 pesos more than last January. Those refillable water stations that are springing up all over town are looking more and more attractive at 12 pesos a refill. However, I just don’t know how filtered the water is and where the water comes from in the first place. Is it hooked up to the town water supply? Because that water runs through miles of hot copper pipes isn’t drinkable at all! 

The internet also went up with no notification whatsoever. That meant we had to make two trips to town to pay the bill since our payment didn’t cover the increase the first time around. Our Blue Satellite internet fee is now $399 pesos. The satellite internet is under a 2-year contract, so theoretically it shouldn’t go up until the end of that period, but who knows? 

Stores in town are charging for plastic bags now as well. It’s nominal, at the most $1 peso per bag, but I wasn’t prepared my first day shopping of the new year and hadn’t brought my own. I’ll know better for next time. Some places, like Mexico City, have prohibited the use of single use bags, which is a good thing overall.

Gas has gone up. Soda will now cost 1.26 per liter. Alcohol prices will go up an estimated 4.5% excluding beer, aguamiel and pulque. It will cost more to ride the bus and leave Mexico by plane. But it’s just how things work–the hike in the daily minimum salary to $123.22 pesos ($6.50 USD) has to be balanced out somehow. 

I’m not an economist but speaking from experience, it’s awfully hard to manage on $123.22 pesos per day.


The last baby goat of this batch was born the first week of January. The moms of the kids born in December have gone into heat, at least if Stinky Chivo’s romancing is any indication. So we expect another crop of goats in June or so. 

We still have too many animals. Terry and George are still not friends. My husband didn’t prepare as well as he normally does regarding food during the long, dry season, so that’s been a weekly expense. 

Health Care

As it is now a new year, I needed to go and make an appointment at the hospital to see my doctor in May. I’m not sure how things will go when it’s time for my appointment since INSABI took over for both IMSS and Seguro Popular on January 1. There have been reports of formerly covered individuals needing to pay from everything from gauze to surgeries once covered by the national healthcare policies. 

If it comes down to it, I’ll be able to piece together something by getting my own lab work done at a private lab and having the doctors next to the pharmacy write me a prescription if I need a dosage change. Otherwise, I can buy my medication over the counter at Farmacias Similares. It will add to expenses, and we’ll have to cut other things out, but I’ll make it.   

So I’m feeling a bit frazzled and it’s only mid-January. I’ll need to take some time out and set up a more restricted budget for this year. How are things where you live?


Filed under Animal Husbandry, Driving Hazards, Economics, Health

Getting a Duplicate Tarjeta de Circulación

Since we were getting all our ducks in a row with our vehicles and had successfully navigated renewing my husband’s tarjeta de circulación (permission to circulate) for his motorcycle and registering my moto in my name, we decided to tackle the truck papers.

Some years ago, the government decided it would be a good idea to send the tarjeta de circulación in the mail instead of giving them to each person in the office. We never got that envelope. Shocking, right? Anyway, we continued to pay the fee each year without the tarjeta, but since in May we’ll need to make a trip to San Miguel de Allende and we are always stopped in Celaya, we needed to get that card.

When we asked, the same girl at the Oficina Recaudadoras we spoke to before said we would need two letters, one from Moroleon, one from the state of Guanajuato that said the vehicle had no outstanding traffic violations. The local Constancia de No Infracciones could be obtained at the Seguridad Pública Transito y Transportes office which is located at the jail near our house. So we went there. There were several large, gun-toting police officers just shooting the breeze at the entranceway. We walked past them to a short guy with the sign-in book. My husband signed in and we walked to the back of the compound past all the police vehicles, some of which were running without a driver in them. I guess since they don’t pay for gas, there’s no need to worry about it. 

Inside, my husband explained what he wanted and gave the clerk the old card. She handwrote a receipt for 60.75 pesos and told us to go around the front to pay. So we left the compound, past the vehicles which were still on and more police officers standing at the door, walked a block forward and entered the Barandilla Municipal. There my husband paid an officer near the door who wrote us another receipt to take back to the clerk. The clerk gave us a letter valid for 30 days saying that there were no outstanding tickets and we left. 

The second letter can be requested online. However, since I don’t have a way to pay for things on Mexican websites now that Paypal has decided to do whatever it is it is doing, that wasn’t an option. This second letter cost 69 pesos. The enterprising ciber (cyber cafe) across from Oficina Regional de Movilidad de Moroleon offers to obtain Constancia de No Infracciones for 150 pesos per letter. Since there wasn’t another option, that’s what we did.

Armed with these two letters, we returned to the Oficina Recaudadoras and the girl said that my husband had two outstanding debts that needed to be paid before we could get the reissued card. One was for a vehicle we sold about 8 years ago to someone from Michoacan and the other was for my first motorcycle that we junked after the meat truck hit me. 

Since Michoacan and Guanajuato are not the same state and the truck was not registered to the new owner in Guanajuato because he lived in Michoacan, we owed over 5,000 pesos. We didn’t have the two license plates or the tarjeta de circulación to prove we didn’t own the vehicle anymore because they went with the vehicle to Michoacan. 

As for the motorcycle, well that would be more than 2,000 pesos. We still had the license plate so that was in our favor, however, my husband was unable to locate the card. I’m pretty sure he threw it out in one of his cleaning frenzies. I mean, we haven’t had that motorcycle for over 5 years. So back to the Seguridad Pública Transito y Transportes office we went. 

The clerk on this day was feeling generous and only charged us 60.75 pesos for both letters. So that was something. Apparently, there are three types of letters, one that is because the tarjeta de circulación is lost, one because one or both of the licenses plates has been lost, and one if both the tarjeta de circulación and the license plates are gone.

Since I couldn’t request the State Constancia de No Infracciones online, back to the cyber cafe we trekked. Unfortunately, the official site wasn’t working so no letters for us.

It took several trips into town to find someone manning the cyber cafe to get those letters. Although in theory, those letters can be obtained at any place with computer capacity, only this particular cyber was willing to do it (and charged heftily for their expertise). Finally, we managed to get there when the place was open. We watched as the guy used his iPhone to pay the fee to the state. I’m not sure how someone who works at a cyber cafe can afford an iPhone, but then again, since they charge double for the letter and are the only place in town that provides that service, maybe it’s a pretty profitable setup. 

Anyway, we got the letters and headed to Oficina Recaudadoras. When it was our turn, we explained our dilemma. The woman behind the partitioned and most likely bulletproof glass printed out our payment slips. There was also an issue with the tarjeta de circulación about to be reissued. The old tarjeta had the truck listed as an S-15. My husband says it really is an S-20. In order to make any changes, we would have to bring the factura (original sales receipt). So we went and paid at Farmacias Guadalajara, picked up the factura from home and headed back.

After the woman processed our payment, she handed us two packets of papers that were the “bajas” with “pagado” (paid) stamped all over it. Now, those vehicles will never more appear in my husband’s vehicle file. Then she examined the factura of the truck we still own. Neither the words S-15 nor S-20 appears on the document. It is just generally listed as a “pik-up” (pickup).  I don’t see how it makes a difference, but sure as all get out, some transito will stop us and say that the card does not match the vehicle and impound it, so it needed to be altered to avoid that eventuality. 

The new card had a cost of $264 pesos which we went and paid at Banco Azteca down the street. My wallet was feeling considerably lighter after the day’s transactions but we now have a tarjeta de circulación for the truck. Of course, we’ll have to pay for the three vehicles we still own again in January for 2020’s fees, but it won’t nearly be as much. 

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Filed under Driving Hazards

Road Worthy At Last

With my updated license in hand along with the original title with a new line ceeding the rights to the motorcycle in question to me with my correct legal name, we headed to the Oficina Recaudadora. We didn’t have to wait too long before we were in front of the same girl who said nothing could be done with our previous stack of documentation the last time.

There was some shuffling of papers while I gave her my updated license, the old license plate, the CFE bill, the old permission to circulate card, and the motorcycle title. Fortunately, this girl wasn’t offended when I waved papers triumphantly as I found them. She had me write “CANCELADO” over the incorrect endorsement on the back of the title and everything was hunkey dory.

She entered some information and let me know that the motorcycle owed $631 pesos from prior years that I would have to pay (la baja). Then there was the current value of the motorcycle which would determine how much I would have to pay to get a new permission to circulate card (la alta). She had to request that information from the powers that be, I’m assuming in Guanajuato, so while we waited for that response, she did the rest of the paperwork. 

I watched as she pulled up the address on the CFE bill on Google maps. She asked me to confirm the address. Yes, it was my sister-in-law’s house. Since the picture was taken in 2015, you can clearly see the two meters that caused the issue with the #1A and #1 problem. Currently, there is only one electric meter, the second one having been removed some time ago.

Anyway, she printed out the picture from Google maps to include in my file and told us to take a seat. We waited awhile. Finally, she called me back up and said she had the response about the value of the motorcycle. She asked whether I was going to pay with a debit card or cash. Since my debit card is from a US bank and gets flagged everytime I use it for a transaction besides an ATM withdrawal in Mexico, cash it would be.

She gave us a paper to take down the block to where the Italika motorcycles were sold. There’s a Banco Azteca desk there. So we went and paid $1,131 pesos for la baja and la alta and came back.  After another wait, the girl gave me my new license plate and new permission to circulate card. My moto is road worthy at last! Yippee!


Filed under Driving Hazards