Tag Archives: driving in Mexico

License Address Change

Since CFE made that momentous change from #1A to #1, and the most recent bill had the number without the letter, my newly renewed motorcycle driver’s license had to be changed to match. 

So we went back to the Oficina Reginal de Movilidad de Moroleon and talked to the only guy working that morning. He asked for a copy of the new CFE receipt and that was it. We went around the block for the copy and came back. By that time, the sole employee was nearly overrun with people and we had a bit of a wait.

Finally, he called me over and gave me the paper to go and pay for the new license. We headed to Farmacias Guadalajara and paid $196 pesos for a change of address transaction. Then we waited some more.

Eventually, it was my turn. Reinforcements had arrived and a lady was manning the license issuing computer. When I approached the desk, she wanted to see my IFE. I said I didn’t have an IFE. She said she wanted my migratory documentation then. OK. I pulled out my permanent residency card. She said she needed a copy of it. 

I tried twice to explain that I was here for a license address change, but she wouldn’t even let me finish my sentences. Remembering that I had my folder with all my medical papers with me, I started going through those, certain I had a copy of my permanent residency card in there. A few seconds later I was waving the copy around in triumphant. 

Apparently the lady behind the desk didn’t share in my triumph and all that paper shuffling offended her. She said that there was no reason for me to be angry with her, scolding me as if I were a misbehaving child. I looked at my husband in confusion as she continued on her tirade about how I needed to be in the country legally and blah blah. My husband said that I wasn’t irritated. I repeated that I wasn’t irritated only I didn’t understand why I needed to show this documentation when I was just getting the address changed. I renewed my license less than a month ago.

So she looked at my application. She called the other guy over. He patted her shoulder and said he forgot to tell her it was a change of address request. Then, she asked me if I was changing the address from #1A to #1. I said yes. She asked again, like she couldn’t believe it. Yes, that was the address change. I didn’t elaborate. I didn’t want to rile her up anymore.

After doing some typing and fiddling on the computer, she turned to my husband and asked if he was with me. He was. She gave him my previous license and told him to go and make a copy of it so she could put it in the file. So he did. I waited.

When he came back, she didn’t seem inclined to take the paper from my hand. So the other guy came from the other end of the office, took the copy and placed it with my pile of documents at her desk. Eventually, she came to the counter with my new license which I took, thanked her, and left. Whew!

Next stop, back to the Oficina Recaudadora for another attempt at registering my moto.

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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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Too Much Signage

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So the other week, I noticed a lone worker digging a hole near the crossroad to La Yacata and I started to speculate. I thought to myself– maybe they were going to put in a light, perhaps solar as there are no connecting wires. That section of road is extremely dark at night and there has been more than one fatal accident at the intersection.

The lone worker dug steadily for a week. Each day, I was more and more convinced that it would be a light. After all, the town was putting in MORE lights every few feet on several of the main thoroughfares. Literally, less than 10 feet from existing lights, light posts were going up. There were even a few solar lights installed near the new CAISES. Yeah, baby! Our time had come!cam05234 cam05235

Imagine my disappointment when I came home one day towards the end of the week to find a HUGE green road sign, and then another. As the road that we live on dead ends in La Ordena, how much traffic does this road really get? Certainly not enough for such a HUGE sign. I guess it’s for the occasional lost cows that wander about. This way to Morelia.

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Take a look at how many signs there are in the 2 km between La Yacata and the intersection. Of course, not one can be seen at night, due to the lack of LIGHTING in the area.

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I have no idea what the smaller sign means. Women dragging men?

I have no idea what the smaller sign means. Women dragging men?

Meanwhile, there was a lighting celebration going on in town for those newly installed street lamps. Now it’s so bright when I take my son to school in the morning that I feel like I need to wear my sunglasses.

Just goes to show, there’s just no accounting for town spending practices.

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Driving Hazards–Vehicles without brakes

red line on road

On our way home from visiting the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacan, we were intrigued to see a painted red line in the middle of the toll road. Just a little bit down the road, there was a sign that instructed vehicles without brakes to follow said red line. It went on quite a ways before crossing the lanes to the right into a truck stop ramp.

About the time we reached the rampa de frenado (truck stop ramp), we hit major traffic and began moving along at a crawl. Thus, we were able to watch a riveting drama unfold. A small pick-up truck appeared from apparently nowhere at the top of the truck stop ramp. It approached oncoming traffic in the wrong the direction. The driver decided to turn around and turned onto the ramp, which seemed to be made of asphalt. Much to our surprise, and most assuredly the surprise of the driver, the truck sank up to the wheel wells into the “asphalt.” When the driver climbed out to see what was going on, he sunk up to his knees. The “asphalt” was really black sand set up so smoothly that it looked to be a solid surface. The driver got back in his vehicle and attempted to back up. That wasn’t happening. By that time, 3 of his tires were stuck and the fourth looked as if it would pull off the axle at any moment. He tried going forward and no sir, nothing doing. His wife began gesturing furiously. We could just imagine what she was saying about the current predicament. Well, I have to say that the truck stop ramp worked quite well. It stopped that truck dead in its tracks. As traffic advanced, we slowly crept passed, leaving the truck hopelessly mired in the pit of despair.

sand pitRampa de frenado after being used.  Notice how deep the sand is!

Just a little way further down the road, we noticed the red line continued. This time, the line curved to the left. I suppose that the second ramp would be in case the vehicle without brakes was unable to enter the first truck ramp on the right. There, on the left, instead of a ramp, we saw a gravel lane at least 1/2 mile long with large gravel speed bumps. In case the speed bumps weren’t enough, there were at least 20 barricas (barrels) full of water (or maybe stones) to slow the vehicle down before a stone wall right loomed up which was in front of a 20-foot steep drop-off. That ought to do the trick.

I think the traffic sign indicated it was a franja, which literally translates as fringe, but if anyone out there has the correct name, I’d be interested in learning it!

toll lane

As we inched along toward the toll booths we saw the red line reappear. If the vehicle without brakes was still running wild, the center lane had been set aside for its passage, right through the toll booths. In order to keep the center lane traffic free, a brave, brave man stood there with a red cloth, waving the cars and trucks to the side.

All these precautions seemed to be adequate in case of brake failure except for the fact that the toll booths backed up traffic to some point BEFORE the first truck stop ramp, pretty much making it inaccessible. Only in Mexico would toll booths be built at the bottom of a steep hill that required two emergency stops. Maybe the toll road isn’t such a feasible option after all.

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disclosure

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