Sunday, September 7, 2014

MISSIONS ACCOMPLISHED !!! Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

We are OFFICIAL in 2 different ways!!  And, so very excited about it.

After only 2 weeks of waiting, we were notified that our Residente Permanente cards were ready.  So on Mike's 66th birthday, September 1st, we went along with our facilitator, Felipe, to pick them up!!  After signing some more documents indicating that we had reviewed all paperwork for its correctness, we were given our beautiful cards along with the "official" approval paperwork signed and sealed by the government of Mexico.  The cards are, in fact, very pretty with a gorgeous hologram on the front for security purposes and several different numbers on the front and back. 

The INM building.

Picture day in the new uniforms.

Felipe at the counter.

One of the first things we did was go for lunch on the Malecón to celebrate both Mike's birthday and to see if we would receive the "local" discount since we were now officially "locals".  YES, it worked and we received the standard 10% discount, which although may not be much but it was used to pay the tip.  Every little bit counts when you're on a budget!

This is actually a good segway into our next successful endeavor.  Once we had our visa cards, we could then apply for our INAPAM cards.  This is a national senior discount card that is the right given to all Mexicans including temporal or permanente visa holders that are 60 or older.  The list of discounts of up to 50% off of local and luxury bus tickets, airlines, shops, restaurants, pharmacies, lawyers, cpa's, and more.

The process was simple and easy once you determined the correct place to go.  The location has been changed several times within the city and anyone who applied to an old location (DIF or City Hall) and were told to leave their paperwork will either have to go back to where they applied to retrieve their paperwork or start over.  The correct new location is in the UNIRSE government building on Grande Lagos (Great Lakes) in Fluvial several blocks behind Costco. 

We went prepared with originals and 2 copies of everything that was required - passport, permanent visa card, copy of proof of address (utility bill or lease), birth certificate, and small (visa size, not passport) pictures.  The young man only wanted to see the originals and took one copy of each document but did use both pictures (frontal only).  We found out that if you need copies of anything, the copy center set up right in the building is actually the cheapest per copy we have found anywhere at 1.5 pesos per copy.  Once he typed up all of the data necessary on the card and pasted our picture on it, we had to press one finger print on the front of our forefinger and that was it.  All accomplished in 10 minutes!!

Typewriter, glue stick, stapler, white out, ink pad, pens, & stack of cards.

So, of course, we had to try it out almost immediately to see if it worked.  After making a quick stop at Costco, where we purchased Mike's new water camera for his birthday, we got on the bus to come home. And sure enough, with the presentation of the card, our bus ride was 50% less - only 3.75 pesos each ($.30) !!  Sweet!!  We are now excited about booking a bus trip somewhere the end of this month.

Now that all of the in country business is finalized, the only remaining open end is still our reimbursement of our $1,050 security deposit from our old landlord.  After what we thought was such a positive turn around by meeting with the new attorney representative, we have once again been led down the mañana trail with one lie after the other.  So now we're supposed to get our money back on Monday.  Yeah, whatever!

Between all of our running around for our cards, Mike's been really busy trying to put our swimming pool back in order.  A couple of weeks ago a hose between the pump and filter burst.  Of course, it was no easy matter of finding the part. So after getting to know many pool shops throughout the PV area, Mike realized that the actual part didn't exist in PV.  So his mission was to make the part by using some of the old parts and buying new pvc piping and couplings rather than use a hose again. 

After a very successful plumbing fix, Mike was grateful for some free pool lessons by the neighbor's caretaker and a couple of great guys from a pool company.  Between them all our pool has never looked so good!!  So yesterday we were finally able to get back in and enjoy it.

We've also been very pleased to meet up with several potential expat couples, Abby & Greg, Hank & Jennifer, and a couple, Gorgina & Tim, who've lived in Spain for 12 years but were forced out because of tax law changes there.  Gorgina & Tim have decided they really do like it here and are now looking for an apartment. Yay!!  It's truly a pleasure meeting people who are enjoying my blog and find true value in it. And, we get to make some really good new friends! 

Abby & Greg, Silver Spring, MD
Hank & Jennifer, Virginia
Gorgina, Me & Tim, Spain/Costa Rica/Denver
I also enjoyed a girl's lunch out at the Botanical Gardens.  Such a gorgeous spot with beautiful views of the mountains, river, and so many beautiful plants! A wonderful lunch and a very strong margarita was really good too.  Unfortunately, the black flies liked me a bit too much and I have the battle scars to prove it.

Belly up to the bar!

The new Orchid center.

Tammy Prust feeding the Koi.

September 1 (Labor Day in the US) was Mike's 66th birthday.  We celebrated several different ways.  Mike usually makes us a wonderful Sunday brunch but he decided he wanted to go have the fabulous brunch at La Palapa on the beach.  It's such a great value and the food is outstanding!!


Shrimp crepes smothered in cheese hollandaise sauce.

Cinnamon dipped with shaved nuts sprinkled over the French Toast. Fruit & Raspberry/Chocolate sauce.

The view from our table.

That evening we had friends over for drinks and great conversation!

Mike, Rob, & Abby.

Greg & Shauna.

The first cruise ship of the season arrived last Tuesday and a long time Facebook friend that lives in Panama was on it.  Sarah used to live in PV and owns a condo here that she rents out on a short term basis.  So it was simply awesome to finally get to give her a huge hug in person!!  Several of us gathered on the beach at CC's and enjoyed each other's company for 6 hours.  Love you, Sarah, and can't wait to see you again.

David, Mike, Tammy, Sean, Me & Sarah!

Sarah has missed the beach serenades.
But the really big news here this week was Hurricane Norbert.  Turns out Sarah's boat, Carnival, was the last boat allowed in.  All of the others were cancelled because of the storm off the coast of Mexico.  We got some really good rain, which we needed, but it brought with it horrible waves, under currants, and pounding surf.  Most of our beaches were pummeled and tons of sand swept out to sea undermining many of the beach bars.
Our waves reached up to 3 meters, which is extremely high in this area.

This is the Sea Monkey beach bar area completely washed away.

The Palapa tops of the Sea Monkey.

A lop sided and under mined life guard stand.  It's being held up by rope.

The severe erosion of the sand on Los Muertos beach.

The rocks around the Sea Horse statue are usually buried in sand.

Close up of Sea Monkey beach bar area.

Close up of the undermined life guard footings.  If you look close, you can see the sand lines.

Even though the beaches were officially closed, there are those that can't resist.  One man lost his life this morning just south of here.
And, of course, we continue to have some beautiful sunsets in between our tropical rains.


And now that it's football season, we'll be venturing out to watch our beloved Sea Hawks and Bears.  So we were very pleased to watch the season opener at Los Muertos Brewing with our friends Shauna and Rob.  Go Hawks!!

So wishing all of you out there hopes for a great week ahead!  Thanks for being with us on this journey which continues to unfold in many new ways.  Loving life here in Puerto Vallarta!

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