Life in Mexico can be practically perfect.
As long as you realize that any plan is subject to the whim of circumstances and bureaucrats -- two factors that are sometimes indistinguishable.
Today was the day my new visa card was supposed to be ready. You have already read how I planned to go to Manzanillo to start the FM3 renewal process (are your papers in order?) and how I had to plead to have the card issued before I left on my cruise (following the paper).
When we left off, the very nice clerk (after giving me the mother eye for waiting so long on renewing my FM3), told me to return on 27 April for my card -- two days before I was to fly off to Florida. That was yesterday.
I wanted to get to Manzanillo as early as I could. The vestiges of the semana santa traffic have been slowing the drive between here and there. So, I was on the road just before 8 to get in and out as soon as I could. Or to plan on driving down again on Wednesday -- if things were not quite as promised.
I checked on line to determine the status of my card. That was of no help. The last entry was on 21 April and indicated the card had received the approval of the Colima office. Not being in a worrying mood, I just assumed the data entry clerk had enjoyed the Easter holiday on the beach and did not have time to update any stinkin' web page.
Traffic was a bit heavy, but not bad. Just enough to keep me from getting to the immigration office at 9 -- when it opened. It was 9:10 when I walked through the door. I expected to see a large group of early birds. Instead, there was one Mexican couple being served.
As I reached for a Baskin-Robbins ticket, the clerk at the next window called me over. I told her (in infant Spanish) that I was there to pick up my card and handed her the receipt from earlier in the month.
She looked through the file cabinet. Then a pile of papers. Then another. On her fourth search, she looked on the computer screen and entered some information I had provided two weeks prior, but was not yet posted.
Of course, the first thought that went through my mind was that the application had not gone any further from where I had left it at my last visit. There are days when I could easily play the role of the disciple Thomas.
But my pessimism was not to be rewarded. She walked away and came back with four papers for me to sign and two copies of what looked like jail booking forms for my thumb prints.
Completing my presidential impression and having been printed, I waited for a couple of minutes, and she was back with my new card in hand.
And that was it. I looked at my mobile telephone. The whole process at the window had taken less than 15 minutes. Try that at any DMV north of the border.
My walk back to the shiftless Escape was one of my most pleasant I have made in Mexico. The day was warm. The birds were singing. And a pretty girl smiled at me and treated me to a musical laugh.
What could have been better?
A practically perfect day.