Category Archives: Driving Hazards

Licensed to drive–again

Wednesday was the day we decided to try and renew all of the driver’s licenses, my moto, my husband’s moto, and his truck license. I also needed to make my 6-month lab appointment. Plus we still needed to get the moto title transferred to my name. Not everything got done on Wednesday, but we made a start.

We got up early and did our morning activities. My son was supposed to head early to the tortilleria because his aunt had a 9 am order of 20 kilos of tortillas to wrap. That didn’t happen. 

My husband lost the goats between the time he opened the gate and the time it took to tie Lady. They were completely gone–vanished. He ran back to the house and had my son put on his shoes to help him look. I went upstairs and peered into the distance from both the front and back porch. I didn’t see them either. 

More than an hour later, my son comes back with all of the goats. They had run up the hill, past my father-in-law’s place to stop under a mesquite tree and eat vinas (seed pods). They seemed to have been there the whole time.

I hollered for my husband from the back porch. He came a-runnin’. All the animals were returned to their stalls and we got ready to go. My son arrived late work, but he said it worked out fine since he managed to finish wrapping the tortilla order just as the customer pulled up. Whew!

My husband was a mess. He was covered in grass and twigs and other debris. Sweat plastered his shirt to his back. He didn’t want to take the time to change since he had to be at work soon. We decided to try and at least get the licenses done. Everything else would need to wait for another day.

It was just before 9 when we got to the office and there were only two people who arrived before us. We talked to the guy at the desk. He printed out the payment sheet and sent us to Farmacia Guadalajara to pay. Each of the moto licenses cost $456 pesos. The truck license was $852. So much for this week’s paycheck. However, they are good for five years, so there’s that.

We returned and turned in the receipts. We debated whether to wait or come back the next day. I was all for waiting because we had other things to do on Thursday. While we went back and forth about it, the clerk gave us an eye exam. No problems there for me with my new progressive lenses from EyeBuyDirect

So we waited. One of the guys who were there before us decided to come another day. Bully for us! Finally, it was my turn. I had to provide a cell phone number and an emergency contact number. I gave my sister-in-law T’s number. Then I needed to give my height and weight in meters and kilos. I didn’t know those, so the guy just took a guess. 

I signed the forms and had my picture taken in front of the official GTO background. My face came out really blotchy and red, but whatever. I’ve had worse pictures I suppose. 

My husband hadn’t combed the grass out of his hair, so his picture was even worse. His IFE picture makes him look like an escaped mass murderer, so I guess this one was better than that. Even so…

And that was that. My husband ended up being late for work, but this isn’t something we’ll have to do again for FIVE years. Yippee!!

The next step to getting me back on the road again is to get the moto title transferred to my name and license plates. But that will have to wait until I save some more money up.

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My moto

Last week I took possession of a new-to-me Kymco People 2006 scooter. You may not have realized that I have been moto-less for nearly a year after I flew over a tope at high speed (or what I consider high speed) and the undercarriage of my last moto cracked down the middle.

Nor may you be aware that this is my THIRD moto since moving to Mexico in comparison to my husband’s first. The first moto fell to pieces after I was hit from behind by the meat truck while going to a class one Saturday morning. I was fine but I had a fit of the vapors, which is understandable once you realize that it was about 10 days after my mother-in-law died as a result of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident with a police vehicle. 

Anyway, I am a moto owner again finally! To reward myself, I ordered this helmet because safety is important. 

The Kymco has a few issues, but relatively minor ones. The gas gauge and speedometer aren’t working. The horn fuse was burnt out. A quick fuse change and it’s fine now though. I haven’t figured out how to open the glove compartment yet. But it runs like a dream!

Of course, I can’t zoop about town just yet. While I was on vacation, my Mexican driver’s license expired. So I’ll need to renew that. Plus I still have to get a license plate, which may be an issue since the owner won’t be back in Mexico until January. (I bought it from his dad with his permission.)

Overall, I’m quite pleased with my purchase. When I set out to find a moto earlier this year, I was floored with the prices. A decent moto these days costs MORE than a 7 x 20-meter lot in La Yacata. And if I had a choice of buying a new moto at that price or getting another lot, well, more land it is. 

When the owner’s dad made the verbal agreement with my husband to sell me the moto, he apparently had no idea how much a new moto costs either. It seems his wife called him a few choice names when they went to buy a replacement moto. But because I had already paid more than half of the purchase price, he agreed to honor the deal.

Anyway, the next step into my return to road freedom is to renew my license, but that will have to wait until the next paycheck. 

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Huachicoleros in Mexico

If you’ve been following the news on the current gas crisis in Mexico, you may have seen the word huachicolero in reference to those that buy and sell illegally obtained gasoline. This is a word that originally referred to people who knocked fruit from trees using a huachicol which is a long-handled instrument with a basket at the end to scoop the fruit in. Huachicol can also refer to watered-down liquor. Thus huachicoleros are those that sell the watered-down liquor. Which brings us back to huachicoleros in the news these days who are dedicated, and I mean dedicated, to obtaining and selling water-down gas. These are the people that AMLO intended to bring down with this change in distribution methods.

Pemex, the government owed petroleum mega-giant, has been losing money hand over fist in recent years. It is estimated that $7.9 billion USD has been lost because of gasoline theft in the last 7 years. AMLO believes previous presidencies have been in colusion with the theft. No surprises there!

So how is so much gas stolen? Well, it’s not nearly as exciting as this scene from the Fast and The Furious.

Long pipelines crisscross the country running under both private and government-owned lands. It isn’t so very hard, although sometimes quite dangerous, to tap a pipeline and build a warehouse around it where trucks can come and go unmolested and is much less difficult than stealing what would amount to 250 20,000-liter tanker trucks each year.

Central Mexico was hit hardest with this new distribution regulation. Large sections of the pipeline run through rural areas in Michoacan and Guanajuato which are not regularly monitored. For example, “everyone” knows there is a pipeline tap in nearby Cuitzeo, just outside of Morelia, Michoacan. It’s run by the cartel with the complete cooperation of local officials.

So how did things get to this crisis level? Gas stations that were in the habit of buying large quantities of this water-down gas, had scheduled low numbers of tanker truck deliveries from Pemex distribution centers this month, as they have had every month previously. With the pipelines shut down, the huachicoleros lost their supply of illegal gas and have been unable to make their regular deliveries. 

You might already know that the previous president Pena Nieto opened the petroleum market up for foreign investors. So now, Exxon and Mobile stations have sprung up all over the place, even taking over formerly owned Pemex stations. In our area, these foreign-owned stations ran out of gas long before the lone Pemex holdout. Now in the third week of the gas crisis, this single Pemex gas station has been receiving regular shipments every 2-3 days, which is not enough to meet demand with the other gas stations in town being effectively closed. So many people are still camping out in their cars awaiting the next gas shipment that an entire lane of traffic has been closed to accommodate them stretching for miles. Traffic has been entirely rerouted.

That’s not to say that only foreign-owned gas stations have been buying stolen gas. I think there might be an inherent bias in the distribution system these days. AMLO has been vocal about Mexico for the Mexicans. Foreign importation of gasoline has already been reduced. So it’s no far stretch to believe Pemex is taking care of its own first.

Gas ahead.

What will happen next? According to AMLO, the pipelines will remain closed. The income loss experienced by the huachicoleros won’t be taken lightly. There are bound to be violent repercussions in our cartel-run area. In fact, in some areas, the regular ol’ Joses and Josefinas have taken up the call of the huachicoleros and tapped their own pipelines

In the meantime, enjoy the La Cumbia del Wachicol by Tamara Alcantara while you can.

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Would you like to read about my own experience with governmental correuption in rural Mexico?

Check out La Yacata Revolution: How NOT to buy a piece of Heaven in Mexico.

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Gaspocalypse

We are well into week 2 of the 2019 Gaspocalypse. Three days last week there was not a drop of that liquid gold to be found in Moroleon, Uriangato or Yuririra. The roads were eerily deserted. People camped in lines miles long in the hope that maybe tomorrow there would be gas. By Thursday, there was a trickle of gas coming in. Gas stations opened at 8 am and were sold out by 11 am. People waited more than 6 hours in line.

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Never leave home without your garafon of gas!

By Friday, a few delivery trucks were up and running. I saw the coke and Sabritas trucks out. Good thing! I don’t know what Moroleon would have done without their soda and chips. Mass hysteria to be sure! Of course, there is a Corona bottling plant in town. You know the owner of Corona lives in Moroleon, right? So there was never a fear of running out of beer. Whew!

gas ilustration

So how did things get to this extreme juncture with gas shortages now in 10 states? Well, no one is exactly sure. Initially, the well-intentioned president AMLO closed the pipelines to cut down on the out-of-control petroleum theft. Gas was to be brought to the stations via tanker truck under watchful military vigilance.

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Gas motorcade!

There aren’t enough trucks to meet demand so the gas has been languishing away at the port storage facilities. In fact, 60 oil tankers are anchored off-shore waiting to offload their cargo. Some have been waiting more than a month. Thus it remains a distribution problem rather than an actual gas shortage.

It appears that beginning this week the Mexican government will hire privately owned trucks to help alleviate the backup. The trucks will run 24 hours a day and be escorted by military police. Good! Good!

Has this rerouting process and pipeline closures helped with the gas theft? Not much apparently! Gas thefts from pipelines continue in Texmelucan, Puebla even with more than 4,000 additional federal troops being dispatched to safeguard them.

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Nearly there now!

The serpentine lines at gas stations continue. Fresh food deliveries are few and far between. Tourism is way down. Black market gas has reached record high prices on Facebook. Police have been forced to ride bikes on patrol. Superbowl Sunday Guacamole Dip is endangered. Suspected fuel thieves are being branded.

And yet, through it all, Mexicans find a way. In Morelia, mariachis came to party the night away with motorists waiting for the next gas shipment. What was about someone fiddling while the city burned?

Even if the gas shipments are regularized this week, the devastating blow to the Mexican economy will take much longer to regularize. AMLO’s decisions as incoming president are being questioned. The consensus seems to be that things were better under PRI. At least there was gas. Who cares if it was stolen? The devil you know and all that.

This reform went so swimmingly well, I can’t wait to see what AMLO has in store for the national healthcare system!

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Would you like to learn how to survive other catastrophic disasters in Mexico? Check out A to Z Reasons Why La Yacata is the Place to Be in Any Disaster: A Prepper’s Guide to Mexico.atozcover

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