January 22, 2012

Banking with Bureaucrats

I was so upset Friday that I am just now able to write about it! The bank closed my account. With a lot of ceremony.
I was called the evening before by Elvia, the desk person at Banamex, who opened the account, saying I did not have valid migratory documents.
Yes, I told her, I am in tramit. That is the Mexican way of saying your documents have been accepted for a visa renewal, but it is still in the system. It is acceptable here to be in tramit.
I have a taxpayer number and a CURP, the permanent ID like a social security number. I can buy a cell phone without being suspected of being a drug dealer.
I collect taxes for the government on my rentals and pay the government for Pete's sake! The bank account would make this much easier for the accountant.
So my lawyer emailed me the link the the history of the current renewal. I printed it all for the bank. Last year's visa was issued in March although the previous one expired in late October and a timely application was made. Same story this time. I showed them the copy of the expired visa. See?
Phone calls were made and no, no good. They took the dollars I had come with, deposited them to exchange then for pesos, and cashed me out.
The car insurance I bought is good until March 28, when the next debit payment cannot be made to the insurer, the bank.
It gives me plenty of time to shop around for insurance and another bank. But jeez, what a system! And by then, I'll have my visa and who cares.
On my way out, after "gifting." (the manager's expression every time he asked me to sign) them with my signature numerous times to close the account, the branch manager asked if he could see my passport. You didn't make a copy with my application? No. Oh, too bad. It's at my house. Bye!

January 16, 2012

Old Mexican Wives Tales

My mother had a whole set of wives tales of what would make you sick. Sitting on the lawn is something guaranteed to make you sick, was one. Here in Mexico, I have learned to listen to the old wives tales, but didn't dig deeper. It might have helped if I had.
I have a cold from being caught in the rain two consecutive days. My logical mind says that's not so. The mind of the retired doctor staying here also says that's not so.
So, as this cold was festering, I took my house guests to Chuuk Kay Restaurante for happy hour yesterday with the Band Without a Name.
Marla, the place's internet consultant and occasional vocalist, was recovering from bronchitis. And so we started, with the band and audience, recounting how you get sick according to Mexican wives. You get colds from drinking water with ice in it, offered Tosso, Javier's dad.
If you get caught in the rain, you will get sick. Unless you take a shower afterward, said Javier Martinez. Makes sense to me since tropical clouds are warm and incubators of diseases from afar. We know that from hurricanes. Or more correctly, I do.
Hot tea with lime and honey will cure a cold. And years ago, Julie Fraga told me to add crushed garlic. I must not want to get well because as of yet, I have had no tea.
Men say you must add rum or tequila to the tea. Again, I must not want to be well! And you should not get your hair cut if you have a cold. It won't lay right if you do that. So we learn from grandmothers and old wives here in Mexico.
Now, I am going to go and take this like an American man. Which means I will sit and moan that the end that is near. It's curtains for me with this cold, which I refuse to call gripa, as the Mexicans do. No, I just have a fatal cold. Jose has walked Punta. Carmen may come and fuss around me. And the rest of you can just leave me alone. I'm dying, I tell you!

January 14, 2012

An inkeeper's life

I am sitting here in wet clothes, waiting for my hot water heater to make the water hot enough to warm me up. I am a landlord and I turn my own hot water off when not using it.
Anyway, It all started in a downpour last night, when my house guest Marte and I toughed it out to go to happy hour at Villa la Bella. We had thought the weather broke, but alas, it didn't. Once there, we had hurricane-style fun, the locals amongst us telling the guests that it's like this in hurricane season.
When the weather did break, we took Anastasia home and Marte and I made a break for home. This morning looked iffy, but rather that go into town, I talked Marte into having a nice French breakfast at LoLo's, where I had coffee macaroons were reserved for later.
The breakfast was fantastic, with a natural yoghurt with fresh berries, nuts and dates, followed by an egg casserole with a French bread stick accompanied by juice and coffee to our liking.
LoLo broke a $100 bill for me so I could top off my cell phone at Chedraui, and off we went. While we were inside, the downpour began.
After much debate in which I took a break to go back inside to use the restroom, and nailed a sales associate for no answer on the issue of motorized shopping carts, I returned to find Julianne, ready to nail the same sales associate with the same question.
We lingered, debating whether to make a break or not because we were in the golf cart, not the trusty VW.
After a while, we did and it wasn't to bad until the BIG PUDDLE that literally flooded the engine. Rule of thumb is never take your foot off the ignition to matter how it sputters. That failed to work this time.
Suddenly, a group of people in ponchos appeared and pushed us into the beer drive-thru, Modelorama. They were French, so in gratitude, I started offering the macaroons. No no. But then a woman tried one and learned from me they were make by a French chef. LoLoLorena. The 10 macaroons disappeared just like that. The rain stopped and the French were off with their leader, a man from Cancun Sailing, who gave me his number for renting a pirate boat for next December. It's in my cell phone!
So, that is the life of an inn keeper. Marte bought a bottle of wine in Chedraui, my shower water is ready, and my next check in, Richard, landed 10 minutes early at 11:59. We'll be on our second glass of wine when he enters as the rain continues. That is the life of an inn keeper on Isla Mujeres. Not so bad!