Sunday, March 07, 2010

and gains the lifetime title "El Duffer Grande"

One thing I learnt from the whole episode is don't lose your passport in Mexico because the Embassy in Mexico City trooly, rooly suckth to such a degree I get weepy flashbacks thinking about it.
I send them and the Minister for Foreign Affairs a email about it. They probably won't care.
But god it was horrible.

After we came back from Muyil and Tulum I decided I had lost my passport and my US greencard.
I looked, we looked, I cried and felt like throwing up for the better part of 2 days. I thought maybe I had lost it out of my pocket while scrambling around Muyil. The next day Mike and I drove back down to the ruins, offered a reward to the couple of ruin guards and retraced my steps. Even to the place where I wee'd in the jungle. No luck.

If it was me and Rob traveling alone would have been not so bad, but I felt awful because I was with my family and was wrecking the holiday. Everyone was wonderful, and Snowpea was happy to snorkle in the pool for hours while we spent alot of time on the phone and internet.

At first I called the US consulate in Cancun, hoping the vague hope that because there are so many yanks in the area that they may have a office there that deals with lost stuff. But no, even US citizens have to go to Mexico City if they lose their stuff. All I needed to was to get back over the border, lost Aussie passport be damned. I could work all that out later.
Second I rang the Australian Embassy in Mexico City. I explained my plight and mentioned that I was a Aussie citizen and a US resident. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she heard the US bit and blanked the rest when she gave me this advice. Which was " We don't do passports here you have to go to Los Angles to get one"....i was confused and sad so I said ehhh thanks and hung up. 3 seconds later I did the head wobble and WTF!?/!!
How do I get to the US without a passport?
Inquiring minds. Mmmm Pay off a coyote and ride in a airless truck for 74297410 hrs is the other way, so I've heard.

Thirdish I called the US Embassy about the greencard. One guy who sounded very sure of his information told me I could walk across a land border to the US with just my Arizona drivers license. I confirmed this with him a couple of times because I knew in the past it was true but in the last year or so they started to require US citizens a passport to go to Mexico.
It turns out that it is bollocks, you can't just walk across these days. Which I knew but I wanted to believe the embassy guy as a easy way back in.
I had a vague plan of flying to either Nogales or Tijuana and trying it because it came from the Embassy (they should know the laws right?) but I knew it couldn't be right. Good thing we didn't try.

Kate decided to come with me, which was wonderful but I didn't want her to feel she had too. Duncan and Mike were (mostly) happy to take care of two kids and bring them back to the US if we could get notarised documents that they could leave the country with non relatives.(Duncan is a main care giver but not in the maze like paper work way.)

Fourish I called the Aussie Consulate in LA. They were much more helpful, but couldn't help me. Wrong country. They said that yes of course that the embassy at Mexico City can issue emergency travel documents...what else are they there for? They were baffled at the stupid advice I got but were limited in what they could do.

I emailed Rob about the whole thing and he found much more useful info than i did.

He emailed and talked to Hugh about my problem.
Hugh Austin, who is a border dude at the US Embassy deserves much praise, awesome US embassy guy, needs a medal of dealing with sad Aussies on his day off.
I rang Hugh in Mexico City about my greencard. He was great, even though the Monday was a holiday and the embassy was closed he was going to be there. All I to was to ask the guards and he would come and escort me to the offices and give me a temp greencard. Easy.
This week is my writing compliments or complaints ....more compliments, except the the Aussie Embassy in Mexico City. Booooooo

Fifthly or are we up to tenthly by now? I called the Aust. Embassy in Mexico City to get them to start organising my emergency documents. Ha
A man answered, didn't understand me and handed me to the most unhelpful, useless person on the planet. I explained my plight as calmly and as slowly as possible to her. The longest sentence she uttered to me was " no no passports here" other than that it was all no no no. I asked her several times each in increasing pitch and voice wobble to transfer me to a manager or just to anyone else but it was all "no". In the end I called her completely useless and hung up. I was just a tad upset.
In my generous moments I think that everyone was on siesta and the cleaning crew were having a bit of fun, because how could the first contact for potentially distressed citizens be so appalling?

It was all organised. Kate and I were going to fly to Mexico City, do the Embassies, though the Aussie one was still an unknown. Pop into the awesome National Museum of Anthropology ( i went twice 5 years ago and loved it) and fly home. Truth be told we were kind of excited. Bit of an adventure into the vague unknown. But in the long run it was much better that I found the bloody thing.

I was about to call and cancel my flight and rebook it. I was looking for the bit of paper with the flight details on it when I found it. My god. How dumb did I feel.
Every one was happy, Mike nearly beat me to death with a pillow and we went cenote snorkling in celebration.

All this phone calls and worrying made us miss the Mayan ruins Coba plus just relaxing...sorry, so sorry.

We went to Chichen Izta on our last day. It's very impressive. When we were there 5 years ago you could climb El Castillo and walk through other plazas and temples. Its all roped off now.

A few years ago someone fell and died from the top. That and just basic preservation led them to restrict access. I'm glad I got full access back then. I totally understand why but it would have been fun to climb it with the family.

Still it is an amazing place. Parts of it has not been restored so you walk through the junglely bits and there are huge mounds of rock covered in vines the vague shape of a temple pyramid.
I love the serpent's and the glyphs and the skulls and the jaguars eating human hearts.