Saturday, August 16, 2014

Taking Care of Business!

So much has been going on with us since we returned on July 29th !!  So I guess I'll just start from the beginning....

We left Spokane VERY early on the 29th. A 5 am Alaska flight to Seattle, a quick in and out in 40 minutes to LA with a very quick in and out there caused by a delay getting out of Seattle due to a faulty computer while on the runway. So, when we arrived in PV...yup!!! No Luggage!!! That was a bit scary because almost everything we owned was in those 2 bags!

I have to say that the claims guy in PV was wonderful and efficient. He told us to go buy whatever we needed and they would pay. I was hoping that I wouldn't need to take them up on that offer!  And, sure enough, the luggage arrived at our home by courier the next day when it came in on the same flight we had taken the day before. Albeit, my suitcase looked to have suffered some damage. 

Damaged luggage is one thing we have grown to expect over the last 2 years of traveling so much. We buy inexpensive light weight hardcover pieces for about $79-$89 at Marshall's or TJ Maxx when back in the states because it's cheaper there. We also aren't so upset when it gets trashed. And, it most surely will!

I had to replace my beloved Colorful Paris scenery case after our first 6 months out. Mike continued to use his original until no more duck tape could patch it together. Or more precisely and truthfully, I was way too embarrassed to be with him and that piece of luggage!!  So his new luggage arrived undamaged, which we were grateful for. Mine is now over 1 year old and has made it through 4 Latin American countries and 2 visits back in the US and it took a beating on this last trip. 

The first call we made was to our legal advisor, Felipe, for 2 reasons. We needed to find out if anything had happened with our ex landlord and our $1,050 security deposit plus we needed to schedule a time to meet to begin our final visa process. 

VISA:

Coming into Mexico for the first time with the Visa papers for our Permanente Residencia status was quite exciting for us.  The forms that they give you on the plane must be filled out differently. We knew this from others but was also told this by the lady at the Mexican Consulate in NYC.  So, please beware!

You must make sure that you check "other" as your reason for entering not "tourist" any longer. And, that when you come through Immigration that they mark "canje" on their portion of the form, which gives you only 30 days to finish the process. And, make sure that they don't stamp a tourist entry into your passport. Because if they do, it negates the process and you must start all over again! It must only be a stamp actually on the visa papers that were glued into your passport from the consulate. Our guy knew exactly what he was doing!

Upon making our way to the airport lobby I got more and more excited about being HOME !!  The familiar sounds, sights, language, and rhythms were what I'd been missing!

We met with Felipe 4 days after arriving back regarding the visa and gave him all the documents that we needed for processing the Mexico immigration portion of our Residenica Permanente. We had been running around the first couple of days back making copies and getting our required mug shot photos that were required. We handed over our passports (that was a bit scary), color copies of the inside portion of the passport that has all of your info, original and copies of our 30 day visa paper given to you when you enter the country, and the government form that was downloadable from the government site. Felipe needed to provide a letter written in Spanish that we were requesting permanent residency. 

He then took all of these documents to INM, the immigration office by the marina where the cruise ships come in. The documents were reviewed and all was given the ok. He then brought back another form that is required but must be given to you directly by the immigration office for completion. We again met with him at his home and we filled out the form together, signed everything where applicable and gave him our legal photos. 

He then went back to INM and was given approval with a form from them that we then had to present at any bank for payment of our new Visa cards. The payment was 3,953 pesos or basically $300 each. To do this, we accompanied Felipe to the bank. He then returned to the INM office with the receipt of payment and received a password to their website that he could check to see when all was approved. We also were to receive an email notice that all was approved in Guadalajara. 

Mike received his notice of approval within 5 business days but I hadn't gotten mine. Felipe wanted to take us to INM anyway and he was sure they would let me be processed. 

Sure enough, they did allow me to be fingerprinted, as well. What I didn't realize was that my approval had been emailed that morning while we were already at INM. So everything has been approved and in 3 weeks we should have our "green" cards!!

EX LANDLORD:

Now as to our landlord issue, we found out that Felipe had gone to try and meet with David at least 3 times while we were away with no luck. The "girls", Jesse and Anna, wouldn't answer the door and David never showed his face. So Mike made an appointment with Felipe to make one more attempt at seeing David. 

Mike left to meet up with Felipe at 9:45 am the next morning and was back by 10:30!!!  I was sure that this meant nothing had been achieved. But I was wrong.  David actually answered the door and told them he would have the money the following Friday. Mike said David looked awful and has lost at least 80-100 pounds due to his sickness.  He's been sick ever since we knew him, had an operation before we left, and were now hoping we could come to a resolution before he's too sick to handle anything!

On the Friday we were supposed to be given our money, Felipe received a phone call from David's lawyer who said that he wanted to meet with us to discuss some items in the contract before giving us the money. Felipe told him there is no contract because the one we have is not a valid one. Anyway, we agreed to meet this past Monday. 

Felipe drove us to meet at the cafĂ© in Mega (large chain grocery store). The strategy that we decided on was to just let him speak first and make their demands. Well, it turns out that there were no demands made. It was a very civilized conversation. Turns out David is no longer managing the property and this gentleman would be.

He seemed surprised to learn that our situation had been going on for so long. David had told him we moved out last month. David had also told him only about one of the robberies not both that had taken place at the condo building. He even went so far as to say that he too had gotten the impression when meeting the "girls" that all was not kosher. 

He said he would be speaking with the actual owner of the building, Eduardo, and would contact Felipe the next morning. And he did but gave an excuse as to why we couldn't meet. Almost a full week has gone by and one excuse after another and we still don't have our money.  Supposedly again, we're to meet with him this afternoon to receive our money.  We aren't holding our breaths on this time either.  In fact, we feel worse after this run around than we did with David, because our hopes had been raised.   

I should say that there is a FREE legal service to tourists and expat residences. Their office is located in a building right at the Lazaro Cardenas Park. We chose to initially not go that route since we had already established a relationship with Felipe. We have been most pleased with his services!

INSURANCE:

In addition to all of this, we managed to meet with our friend and insurance advisor, Mike Altman.  After studying all of our options and asking many questions, we decided to do what he suggested.  Since Mike is already 65, a critical age that shifts your options from good to almost impossible, it was decided that we would continue with his World Nomads travel insurance.  Mike has Medicare he can fall back on if he chooses to go back to the states to be treated.  The cost for the traveler's insurance is currently $483 for 6 months or $80.50/month.

But for me, I had a few more options but still needed to determine the "sweet spot", which means where do I get the biggest bang for my dollars. It was determined that an International Medical Group (IMG) Silver level with some country exclusions would be best for me currently at $1,569 or $130.75/month. And I could make my application online, which I did a week ago. 

Their response was extremely quick.  Because I had not had a full physical or full blood/lab work up in the last 2 years, they required that I go have this done before they would approve me. A phone call to our closest local private hospital (Med Assist), only 15 minutes walk away, and we were told to just walk in, no appointment necessary to see the General Physician. So we immediately walked up to the hospital and within 20 minutes I was being questioned and examined by a wonderful woman doctor. All vitals were in order and I was given an order to come back at 8am in the morning for my lab work. Cost for the exam was 500 pesos or $38.

This meant setting our alarm since we're usually not up by then, a retirement luxury.  We were at the hospital by 8:10am only to find out that the lab really didn't even open until 8:30am.  Grrrr!  I think they tell everyone 8am so that they get there by 8:30 am.  Anyway, Dr. De La Torre took my advice about using a "chica" needle and within minutes I was finished without any issues.  I have small rolling veins so regular needles don't work and always cause huge pain. Cost for the total lab workup with the 20% discount card I had received at the Expat Medical Conference was 1,923 pesos or $146.

We returned at 3pm later that afternoon and was given the written results.  I could have gone online and used the password they gave me to get my results but I needed printed copies to provide to the insurance company.  I had no issues with any of my results except that they found a nasty parasite that's existing in my gut.  So now I'm on medication for 10 days with no alcohol for 13.  Cost of medication $6.80.  BUT NO ALCOHOL!!!!

Suffice it to say, that in less than 24 hours later, I was approved for my medical insurance!! Yay! So glad that's all in a place.

OTHER ERRANDS:

All of the business that we have been taking care of entails numerous trips to the internet shop to make copies and scanning; to taking busses to the photo shop to have pictures taken; to filling out forms; to walking to places for meetings.  In addition, we have gladly been helping our landlord with getting the bills paid here at our building, which entails getting to all of the locations where you can pay the bills; to ordering propane to be delivered here, which meant Mike setting his alarm for the 7am delivery that didn't happen until 8:30am; to buying pool chemicals after taking the bus to 3 different locations so that Rueben (the caretaker) is able to clean the pool.  So when people ask "what do you do all day?"  Hahahaha!! We have certainly not been bored!

FUN:

In between all of this "business", we have managed to have some fun since being back.  We've discovered a new beach bar (Mahi Beach Club), had drinks with friends Shauna & Rob at Signature Lounge, gone to a summer closing party for Nacho Daddy, had dinner out at Fusion Gourmet on their 50% night, gone dancing at Garbo's, had a wonderful dinner at our friend Tammy's house, gone to the movies with a few expats to see The Grand Budapest Hotel, got caught in a huge rain deluge, helped a friend move to a new apartment, taken a tour of Estero el Salado (a wonderful estuary of 460 acres right in the heart of PV), and, of course, seen many a beautiful sunset since being back!!

A few videos of different venues: https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D646513_91069994_918274 (the estuary); https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D646513_91069994_919153 (the storm); https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D646513_91069994_919851 (the beach); https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D646513_91069994_919927 (the sunset sky);


Shauna & Rob

Nacho Daddy Closing Party

Shauna, Rob & Me at Closing Party




Mahi Beach Club at sunset.



Jim Lee, Sean's mother, Freda, Ray, & Pat at Garbo's Piano Bar.


My new dance partner!

The Super Moon.






What an awesome adorable sight in the Marina.

Mahi Beach Club

Julio, our guide, Estero el Salado.

Mangroves.


The deluge! Huge amount of rain in very short period of time!! 

Shauna, Me & Rob.

The view from the Lookout Tower at the estuary.
  
Look close.  It's a bird!

 
 
Our boat.

Yup, a crockodile!

Beautiful crabs.

A fledgling.

Croc!

Crabs.

So sorry for so much "talk" but thanks for taking this ride on our journey with us.  I've been hearing from many of you and in the coming few weeks, I will be meeting several of my followers as they venture into the discovery of PV life.  My way of paying it forward!

Hasta luego - until later ....





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