Time for New License Plates … and Driver’s License!

The car’s plates and my driver’s license both expire the end of December. We thought we’d go down into David and knock both of them out today. We should have known better.

The license plate renewal process consists of two major steps: Getting the car inspected and then presenting the certificate at the municipio that distributes the plates.

We pulled into the same business we always use for inspections, presented them with our proof of insurance and the car’s registration and waited to be called. Didn’t take long. It seems that the car (yes, the CAR!) had an outstanding ticket.

This didn’t come as a total surprise. Back in May I got a ticket for “crossing a yellow line”, the details of which do not merit explanation or elaboration. I didn’t pay it at the time because I knew the chances were good it would be lost in the system. Even if that didn’t happen, there would be no penalty or interest for late payment. So there was absolutely no motivation for paying the fine in a timely matter.

We had to go across town to pay the fine. Fortunately for us, this facility was in the same shopping center that houses the driver’s license office. But the driver’s license for anyone over 70 (yes, I know. I scarcely look it) requires a “letter” from a geriatric (I hate that word) or internal medicine doctor. As the professional building was halfway between our present position and our destination, we would stop by on the off-chance that I could be seen sans appointment. We wanted to call first but we couldn’t remember the doctor’s name from two years ago. We did remember, however, where her office was located. As it turned out we had to wait less than 30 minutes before I could be seen.

The physical was grueling … not. She took my BP, listened to my chest, had me stand with one leg forward and close my eyes. Did I fall down? No. Next the other foot, same drill. I was done in 5 minutes. $45. Compare that to a general practitioner when the need is real for $8. But what are you gonna do?

Off we go to finish with the next order of business.

We encountered a “modest” line where the traffic fine is paid but that really wasn’t definitive. We decided that Jan would stay and pay the fine and I would proceed a couple hundred yards to get my driver’s license renewed.

The first line at the driver’s license office was looong! After 15 or 20 minutes Jan showed up, but they wouldn’t let her in! Her sleeveless blouse violated the conservative standards of the office. Oh, brother! Given the very crowded nature of the office I was tempted to just leave when Jan showed up. But I was about halfway through the line by then and decided to stick it out, knowing that I might very well learn that something more was needed for my renewal, something I was not expecting. Sure enough, it came to light that our car was registered under my old passport. Now that I had a cedula, it needed to be re-registered with the ID of the cedula. What does a driver’s license have to do with the registration of a car? We wondered but didn’t even bother to ask.

Now we needed to go to the municipio that provides the license plates. Not so bad, we would get the registration changed, get the plates, and come back here to get my driver’s license. Yeah, right.

Thirty minutes away we arrived at the municipio. After taking a number and waiting 30 or 45 minutes, we were called to a counter for service. Incredibly, the copy of the car registration that was previously sufficient was no longer. They wanted the ORIGINAL! As home is yet another 30 minutes way, we will be back tomorrow. Or maybe the day after.

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