Friday, June 30, 2006
A Good Day's Work!
Buying a used vehicle in Mexico (or anywhere, for that matter) is a perilous business, and we would not have attempted it without the help of our friend Salvador. We started out by asking Salvador to look through the local equivalent of "Nickel Ads" called "Mano a Mano". He found the perfect vehicle for us: a 2003 Nissan double cab pickup. We wanted a vehicle that we could haul a few things in for our house, but that we could also use for transportation when people visit us from home. The man selling it (Jesus Gerrard Treviro Rodriguez) did not speak much English, so Salvador made the call for us and went to look at the truck on his way home from work - it happened to be in the same little village where he lives - about 20 miles from Vallarta - Valle de Banderas. He reported back the next day - it was perfect! Only 32K kilometers and amazingly well-maintained. We went to look at it and agreed - and it was a beautiful shade of azul/blue. Now - how to pay for it? Jesus did not have a bank account, so we could not write him a check. With Salvador interpreting, we agreed that we could do an international wire transfer to the Ford dealer where he is buying his new truck. We went to Banamex, the large Mexican bank where the Ford dealer has an account and had the money wired from our US credit union to Banamex. That took three days!
Then, we had to register it and transfer the title. That was the work plan for today and it took ALL day. We needed passports, FM3s and a current water bill (we used Salvador's - that was discussed at length with the officials and deemed OK, because we don't yet have one in our name). Because we want to register the truck in Nayarit (the state where Bucerias is located), we went to the government offices in Mezcales. Salvador and Jesus went with us (thank goodness) and we went one place to make copies (an open roadside stand with a long extension cord and a big Xerox machine - they also sold pastries and sodas.) Then we went another place two towns away in San Juan de Albeo to have the car inspected to make sure it wasn't stolen (the policia). Then we went to the registrar in San Juan and filed all the papers. They filled out the registration forms for us on an old manual typewriter (no computers). Then we went to yet another place to get the new license plates. In between, Jesus and Salvador went yet another place (across the street), but we never figured out what it was.
End result? WE GOT IT and we are legal. Thanks to some very patient and helpful people. Once again, we were treated with courtesy and respect at every turn.
So I have also included a picture of the truck parked outside our condo building in Vallarta. As a bonus, you get a pictorial example of the unique Mexican electrical system!
This Sunday, we will take both families out to dinner at Adriano's, a wonderful oceanfront seafood restaurant in Bucerias to thank them for all their help. We will hear about the Rodriguez family's upcoming trip to Colorado to visit their son - Jesus is a biology teacher and we have had great fun trying to communicate with each other. We are looking forward to it and will post some pictures to the blog.