Christmas Trip – HOME

So glad to be able to report that the Christmas Trip is over.  We are finally at home after the familiar trek from Dallas to San Juan del Rio.  This time the trip wasn’t quite as familiar as we finally fulfilled the purpose of the trip in the first place: our van is now nationalized to Mexico.

The process to get it nationalized wasn’t terribly difficult, but having a good customs agent to handle the paperwork (which is required by law…at least it was the law in 2013…not sure if that has changed for 2014 or not!) is key to making it all go smoothly.

The process appeared to be the quintessential Mexico government enterprise with more money involved than seemed necessary, money exchanging hands in ways that didn’t seem quite right, and the end result ending out just right despite a level of uncertainty throughout that makes one just a little uneasy.  That’s the system here so we just go with what the officials say and keep trusting it all works out!  It did cost $1650 USD in cash.  Ouch!

So, we have an official piece of paper in our windshield that shows that we paid the import taxes and that also shows we have 10 days to drive it legally.  We now have to get license plates here in our state and an inspection (just a few blocks from our house).  After doing those two things, we’ll finally be through this process.  Oh, and we’ll have to buy insurance.

We actually bought some temporary insurance at the border.  It was about $100 USD for a month…liability only.  We picked up some collision only “insurance” through our mission already so that we’d be covered on that.

Oh and those 10 days to drive legally.  Well, the permission is usually only 5 days.  After that, we’d have to park the van.  Unfortunately, we can’t just walk into the local government office tomorrow and pick up our license plates.  We have to await the email delivery of what is basically the Mexico car title.  They told us it wouldn’t come until some time next week.  So, 5 days from Wednesday (incl. Weds.) means that we wouldn’t be able to drive after Sunday.  For $50 pesos a day, we could purchase extension days…so I plunked down an extra $250 pesos for a total of $900 pesos so we could get a full 10 days and hopefully enough time to receive the all-important email.

Funny thing…we’re required to get our van nationalized with our upcoming visa renewal.  We have to do this before the renewal, but we can’t legally nationalize the van ourselves.  So, our teammate who is a Mexican citizen by birth who does have the proper legal standing was a critical piece of the puzzle to getting our vehicle nationalized.  The title will be in his name!  Isn’t that interesting?!?  He’ll sign it over to us when that’s possible.  I’m not sure when that will be.  He better not die or go into a long-term coma before that happens!  (sorry…I have a morbid sense of humor as you probably already know)

The boys’ U.S. passports expire this April and with our visa process getting underway in early March, we are awaiting word from a U.S. Consulate on an appointment day/time to get their passports renewed.  We HAVE to get that done and hopefully we can see them renewed and back in our hands by March!  The consulate isn’t open on Fridays so Monday is our best hope.

And well…it’s nice to be home.  The house is clean…the house is COLD…but the weather is nice here.  It reached 73 degrees F here today and is forecast to reach the same tomorrow!  Man I love this kind of winter!

Along our drive through northern Mexico yesterday evening, we were surprised to see a few mountaintops with snow on them.  We took some pics through the windshield (no time to stop for picture-taking) while bumping along at about 70-75 mph.  I took most of them…it’s a special talent I have as a former stuntman (in my childhood).

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