When we foreigners first check in to Mexico, we're issued a tourist visa, an FMM. This allows us to stay in the country for 6 months before we need to exit and then come back. Longer term visitors, like us, usually opt to change the FMM to an FM3 status. This allows one to stay in country for a year and then renew it for a year 4 times before having to apply all over again. You also are allowed to leave the country without surrendering your visa like you have to do when you have only the tourist card. Lulu and I started the FM3 process a couple weeks ago when we visited the immigration office to find out what we need. The officer at INM was very helpful, giving us the info we needed to start the process on-line as well as get all the various stuff (photographs, etc.) together. You hear so many horror stories about dealing with the government bureaucracy that it kind of puts a guy off. I wanted to be sure I had everything done right before we returned to INM. I stalled and stalled but finally it was time to shit or get off the pot. So I put all our paperwork together, we got up early so we could be first in line and over to INM we headed on Friday morning.
Well, it went great. The agent gave us the paperwork we needed to go to the bank and pay the fees, Afterwards we returned to INM and found that there were a couple errors on our application. I suspected this would be the case but once the info has been entered on the computer, you can't change it and I was afraid that, if I started a new form, it might really screw things up. But it turns out that that is exactly what I had to do. We returned to the boat, printed the new forms and got back to INM before they closed (for extranjeros like us) at 1:00 PM. This time, we had everything in order and our applications were accepted. Now all we have to do is watch their progress on the internet and, when everything is done, return to INM to get our FM3 cards.
We were so excited that we decided to celebrate with a couple hot dogs. There's a lady on the corner of 16 de Septiembre y B. Dominguez who has a hot dog stand that we've walked by many times. Typically, when they do hot dogs down here, they wrap them with bacon before grilling. So good. So we stopped by and had ourselves a couple. But that wasn't the first street food we'd had on Friday. After we went to the bank we had to get some copies made and also purchase a couple of file folders. On the way, we passed two taco stands. I stopped at both a couple days ago. On Friday we just stopped at the one that made tacos de tiburón (shark, in this case, Mako shark). Then, after we finished getting all the copies, etc. while we were walking back to INM, a guy on the street stopped us and was obviously trying to sell us something although we weren't sure what it was. He opened an ice chest and showed us a bunch of very tempting looking empenadas (fried pies). At ten pesos each (~$0.80USD), how could we resist? So we snagged a couple to help stave off our hunger as we walked back to Immigración. Empenadas can have all kinds of fillings. These were carne de pierna (beef leg meet) with potatoes, chilis and god knows what all else. ¡Tan sabroso! Let's see, empenadas at 10 pesos each, shark tacos at 12 pesos each and hot dogs at 20 pesos each. A grand total of 42 pesos or about $3.35 each. We love Mexican street food.
After Immigración accepted our paperwork, we celebrated further with ice cream. But before that, I decided I really needed a straw cowboy hat. We went to a store we'd heard about first but they didn't have any cheap straw hats in my size. So we went to Mercado Madero and found hundreds of cowboy hats for sale. This is the one I finally settled on:
Lulu's been spending many hours the past few days re-covering our settee cushions. We really liked the floral print that we used to have but the fabric just didn't wear well. It also got dirty really fast and was not easy to keep clean. So we bought some Sunbrella awning print that matched our other canvas. Armed with her trusty Singer Featherweight, she has now covered the cushions for a second time. Hopefully she won't have to repeat the process anytime soon although she's getting very good at it
More about chow:
There's a little taqueria about a block from our marina that we've been to a couple times and will definitely return to. It's called Taqueria Super Burro and is an open-air kind of place. There's one woman working there doing all the cooking and, oftentimes, the serving as well. Once in awhile she has someone else serving the food but often it's just her.
The first time we visited, we decided to get super burros just to find out what they were. Well, they were carne asada served on a HUGE rolled up flour tortilla (tortilla de harina). This beast was so big that it didn't fit on the plate without being bent back around. And the meat was SO good! We vowed to return. On our second visit we weren't hungry enough for super burros so we just had carne asada tacos. Once again, SO good. This was the visit when I took the cocinera's photo. She made me promise to bring her a copy which I did a couple days ago. The only problem with this place is that she doesn't sell beer. Coke is okay but, a taco or super burro really cries out for a beer to wash it down. So when I delivered the photo I asked (in Spanish since she speaks no English) if it was acceptable to bring beers with us when we came to eat. Certainly, it's okay. Strange that I would feel the need to ask. I told her that this would never be allowed in estados unidos. She was very surprised at that. So, next time we eat there (probably tomorrow), we'll stop at our beer store at the end of the block and score a couple Pacifico Ballenas to wash the super burros down.
This morning we ran out of propane. We'll still be able to make coffee since we have the little burner that uses the small bottles but making a meal is pretty much out of the question. We won't be able to get more propane until Monday so this seemed like a good time to go back to Bandito's which is just down the block from us. We went there for cheeseburgers the day we checked in to Marina del Palmar but I really wanted to go back and get some BBQ ribs. And Lulu had been told that their chimechangas were excellent. So, off we went. Their BBQ grill is a converted engine compartment from an old Chevy pickup. Apparently my reputation as a grill master had preceded me as they asked me to step in and take over the grilling for a spell. Sort of like when Eric Clapton is in the audience and they ask him to sit in for a song or two.
Tomorrow morning we're going to (don't tell anyone) Applebee's to see if they have regular USA style breakfast. The breakfasts at the restaurants here are pretty unsatisfying. Never quite enough food and what there is isn't very interesting. So, we thought we'd give Applebee's a try. Seems like they should have regular b'fasts, right? If not, we just need to go a completely different direction. Forget eggs/spuds/bacon. Go for something like fish tacos instead.
I got the transmission re-installed the other day. Enrique the Diver put the prop back on, and I rebuilt and reinstalled the water pump yesterday. So, today was the day to try the whole package out. I fired the engine up and, once it warmed up, I shifted into forward. Nothing. Back to neutral and then forward again. This time it engaged. Hmmmm. Reverse. It slammed right into reverse almost as soon as the throttle/shifter left the neutral position. Something just didn't feel right. Seemed like reverse was a little too sensitive and forward wasn't nearly sensitive enough. I decided I was over my head and called Terry, the expat mechanic. I explained the problem and he told me how to make the adjustment to get things working right. I tried what he said and, sure enough, after a couple of tries, the tranny was shifting and was working just like it was supposed to. I felt good enough about it to bolt the cockpit sole (floor) back in place.
I tried out my plan for an end-of-boom sheeting system today. It didn't work very well. Way too much friction because of all the things the sheet had to run over. So, instead, I just moved the forward bail on the boom back aways so that it didn't rub on the dodger and rigged the original set-up (with the traveller) back up. Some battles just aren't worth fighting.
Okay, I think that should bring you up to date. Let's see, did I mention that the high today was about 87? No, probably not. Far be it from me to rub something like that in.