Today I am driving through the dark and rain to the Mexican Consulate in Raleigh, for an early morning 7 AM appointment to pick up the “Visa de cooperante” for research in Mexico, armed with a thick stack of forms and documents to be prepared for “Tramites”, the catch-all term for bureaucratic paperwork all over Latin America. My daredevil driving over partially flooded I-40 was complimented with unfailing courtesy, but the consular officers were still waiting for critical info to be released at the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, the Mexican State Department, which opens at 9 AM Mexico City time, corresponding to 10 AM local time in Raleigh. So I returned full of hope at 10:30 AM, to be greeted with apologies and regrets that the mysterious information had not arrived yet. What could it be? Am I guilty of a mysterious transgression? Did I not tip the taxi driver in Manzanillo in 2016? At last, the critical information was released at noon, whatever my transgression was turned out to be insubstantial, and the Visa machinery in Raleigh sprung into action. At 1 PM, I had the visa in hands at last. My preciousss!!! The photo shows also selected documentation from various Mexican and US agencies that was required to get this cruise scheduled and approved, carefully collected since February. After this experience, I can clearly see that Mexico beats Germany not only in Soccer, but also in Tramites.
Reports from other travelers and their “tramites” experiences trickle in. We hope for the best and look forward to epic travel on Wednesday.