I just realized, I left you hanging on the outcome of my visa renewal tale.
As I noted in are your papers in order?, I intended to drive to Manzanillo to start the visa renewal process. And I did. Drive to Manzanillo,that is. And started the process.
This is my second renewal. So, I thought I had the process down. Even though the office had required different documents on my initial registration and last year's renewal. And I was partially correct.
When I arrived, there were a few people in front of me. Including my good friends Lou and Wynn Moody. They had finished the application process and were simply waiting for the date they needed to return to pick up their new card. We soon found out. 9 May.
Well, that was not going to work for me. But that was still three steps away.
The first was to get my application started. I already had a head start on that. I had applied on line, printed out my application form, and signed the request letter -- now combined with the application form. Quite impressive work Mexican Immigration has done.
The clerk patiently took each of my documents -- and asked in English whenever the Spanish term resulted in my very good impression of a clueless expatriate.
The application form. My mug shots. A copy of the first page of my passport. My old FM3 booklet.
"Do you still live at the same address?"
I showed her my lease. It got a quick glance. When I tried to show her my constancia de domicilio (that engendered drools last year), she waved it off. Along with the utility bill. If I had not moved, no need for the extranea.
"Do you need to see my bank statements?"
"Not this year. Only after five years."
Great. All of that could not have taken more than five minutes. Pleasant. Efficient. Professional.
I was then off to the military bank to pay my application fee. $1,294 (Mx). No line. No wait.
To and from the bank was a twenty minute walk. It was a practically perfect day.
Then came the bump in the road. The fly in the ointment. The twist in the knickers.
The clerk told me my card could be picked up on 9 May -- just like Lou and Wynn.
Well, no, I can't. On 9 May, I will be in the Atlantic Ocean -- almost to the Canary Islands. I leave on the 29th.
Supervisory huddle. Very motherly look. Just this one time, I can get my card expedited. Be back on 27 April.
And that was quite a concession. Next week is semana santa (Easter week) in Mexico. Almost everything shuts down while Mexicans celebrate the Messiah's resurrection by partying on the beach.
The 27th will be cutting matters tight. But I am certain it will work out. And, if it doesn't, Mexico allows FM3 holders to leave and return without their card. But the process for that dispensation is -- onerous.
A denouement will soon be at hand. The last step in this process will occur -- one way or other.
I am counting on the Manzanillo office. After all, they have never let me down these past two years.
Hmmm. Did I just jinx myself?