Tag Archives: is mexico safe

Fear vs Adventure

26 Aug

I consciously avoid most news these days as it is too depressing. Somehow this week I began to follow the disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts, a young woman out jogging in Iowa who seemingly disappeared. After endlessly reviewing security camera footage, the police reported what happened to her and what might have been her final words. After her abductor approached on the street, she clutched her cell phone telling him to leave her alone or she would call the police. She was too late I’m afraid.

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Life is blooming in Northern Cali. Loving the morning walks.

It reminds me of something that happened to me, at exactly her age. I was walking early one morning to my first college summer job. I cut across a neighborhood park. It was barely light, but how dangerous could it be with all those houses just across the street? I heard footsteps behind me, but did not run, nor scream or even turn to face the intruder. Of course there was no cell phone to clutch. A man walked up behind me and thrust his hand between my legs and turned and hurried away. I was stunned. I did not think to report it, after all he didn’t “hurt” me. Calling it sexual assault was unthinkable at that time. I’m not sure I ever told anyone. I also don’t remember how I got to work from then on.

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A woman and her dog.

All this was streaming through my mind as I was again on a morning walk, in another park with few people in site. A woman was walking her dog ahead of me and I motioned to the dog who happily made a beeline to have his ears scratched and his rump tickled. She laughed and said, “so much for my protector.” I struck up a conversation with her and we talked briefly about how we must be constantly vigilant. It’s exhausting in ways we’re not even aware.

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If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I talk frequently about living fearlessly. After all, adventure is the antithesis of fear and safety has a high price. But what about Mollie? Was she like me, pretending there was no threat? She was 20 years old with the world by the tail. We must not let it scare us. Please, please don’t quit having adventures. It would make your life very small. Just be careful. Adiós Mollie. Go with God.

DOS TORTAS
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Held Hostage In Mexico

8 Apr

For seven and a half hours, over two days we were held, not at gun point but at pen point at our bank in Chetumal, Mexico. Sign here, and here and here. I felt like I was buying a house. And all because of a TYPO!

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Four years ago after retiring to Mexico from Austin, Texas , we opened a Mexican bank account. Once we had our green cards, it was the first things we did. Mexico has a very clear path to legal residency. If you have retirement income, a job or a familial connection, you can apply and obtain residency. The process is clear, electronic and takes about a month. Imagine that.

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No, not our mug shots.

What we didn’t known until now is that there was a typo on our original account application. The bank’s simple solution, cancel the old account and open a new one. Easy right? Au contraire.

Following Spanish tradition, Mexicans have two last names or apellidos. The father’s first and then the mother’s. On any application there is a box for both. Since we have a different tradition and our passport have only one last name, for some unknown reason, the person who processed our original application put an “X” (or equis as in the beer Dos XX) in the box where my mother’s name should have been. We’re unsure as to why this finally caught up to us and had to be rectified immediately.

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Don’t you love signing documents you can’t read?

Mind you the entire 7.5 hour process was conducted completely in Spanish. My head was swimming and there’s no bathroom in a bank. Our green cards and the fact that we had done thousands of dollars of business with this bank in the last four years did not seem to count as adequate identification and proof of residency. Did I mention the bank holds the title to our property? But that’s another never-ending story.

To our frustration, we could not find our most recent electric bill. Note to self and you who are considering retirement in Mexico, the CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad) bill is right up there with your green card as proof of residency. Keep the most recent original in your car at all times.

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In that case, did we have a…
Water bill? Nope, we have a well.
Phone bill? Nope, we pay month to month. ($16 a month unlimited talk and text to MX, US and Canada)
Internet? Cable? Nope and nope. We pay cash to a private server and no cable.
Mexican drivers license? Never saw the need.

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It’s a good thing we left the dogs home for what we thought was going to be a quick trip to the bank.

This went on for seven and a half hours over two days. I must admit, I’ve never met more patient people. We did get it resolved after lots of signing and sighing. They had new software…blah, blah, blah and I’m sure the paperwork for international money transfers contributed to the hostage situation. After all, we could be drug smugglers laundering our millions. We were exhausted but extremely glad to have this straightened out. It might be relatively easy to get a green card in Mexico but it sure isn’t easy to open a bank account.

DOS TORTAS

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