Steve & Sharon...illegal aliens in Mexico
10/09/2011, San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
On Wednesday October 5, 2011 I had to send the following email to mine and Sharon's families;
Good morning everyone,
Before we crossed the border into Mexico last week we asked several people where we could get our Mexico tourist visas. We were told different things by each person and we were never allowed to purchase what is now called a tourist permit (FMM card). We have made several attempts to purchase the permit here in San Carlos/ Guaymas area, as we were told that we could do by the US Federal officer who boarded the bus. We have left messages for the Mexican Embassy in Washington DC (202-736-1008) and have not received a call back. It is important to know that the voice mail message for their Embassy clearly says " US citizens are not required to have a visa, ONLY a valid Passport". We have also been to the local Immigration office in Guaymas where we were unable to buy the permit, but were told that we did need to have it.. Yesterday we contacted the American Consulate in Hermisillo ( 622-289-3500) and were told by a very uncooperative person that "there is nothing we can do for you, you are in the country illegally and must return to the United States and get the proper paperwork". This person (asshole) didn't even know the proper name of the form and told me that " we are only here to help Mexicans obtain visa into the United States"...nice.
In the next couple of hours we will be taking a city bus back to the Tufesa Autobus Terminal in Guaymas and we plan to take the 11:20 bus back to Tucson. We do not expect any problems other than a possible fine, however since we are now Illegal aliens here in Mexico there is the possibility of detainment or deportation (highly unlikely).
We should be back in Tucson by late tonight or early tomorrow morning and will email you once we are back safe. This email is not meant to panic anyone, but we feel it important for you to all be aware of the complete circumstances.
Steve & Sharon
PS Happy birthday Amber :)
This was a very difficult email to send as we felt it would for sure cause panic, however the fact that we were illegally in a foreign country and had to take a bus 250 miles back to the border and thru a military checkpoint, we felt our families had to know our circumstances.
We are now back in San Carlos, Mexico with the correct Tourist permit and we have learned several things during the past stressed filled week.
1. NEVER count on the US consulate to help you in a foreign country, they were rude, arrogant and offered no help or advice.
2. The Mexican authorities were polite and sympathetic. Considering that we walked into a Mexican immigration office, full of Federal Police officers and told them we were in their country illegally we were damn lucky they didn't detain (arrest) us on the spot.
3. YOU AND ONLY YOU are responsible to have the correct Immigration forms when traveling to foreign lands.
Now that we are legal we are both settling into "the life" nicely. It is currently around 90 degrees and the water temp is in the mid 80's. We plan on being in the San Carlos area for another week or two before crossing back over to Baja and heading south.
Back into the swing of things
10/02/2011, San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
We've officially moved back on to Si Bon now. Whoever said that it cools down in the northern Sea of Cortez in October...wasn't here yesterday. We continue to check things off of our "does it still work list", and yesterday morning I checked off the air-conditioning unit, which hadn't been turned on for over a year. Sharon had gone shopping with our neighbor Anne on Serendipity in preparation for our first dock party together. I knew when she left that I had three choices; 1. get the A/C working. 2. Get a room (400 pesos per night) with A/C. or 3. Buy a bus ticket back to the states and get out of this oven. When Sharon returned from shopping and made her way down the stairs into the 71 degree cabin, her eyes lit up like a little kid at Christmas.
On Friday night a guy had come around the dock selling Jumbo shrimp and we got talked into buying 2 kilos....which is roughly 4 pounds, but at the price of 300 pasos (25 USD) how can you go wrong. As I was inflating the dinghy, Sharon was busy preparing most of the shrimp, including sautéing a batch for a very tasty pasta dish she made for the dock party.
Sooo....all and all yesterday was a successful day and today we plan to take a day off and stay in our nice 71 degree cabin while we figure our how many ways we can eat shrimp...oh and maybe later we'll venture over to the beach club for a swim and some snorkeling.
Safe and sound
09/29/2011, San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
Well I survived another bus trip through what most people consider hell. It's kinda funny and very sad that so many people that have never stepped foot in Mexico seem to be experts on the safety of traveling and living down here. It seems that for some reason they put more weight on the media/US Government's account of Mexico then the people who actually live here's account of things. Well I guess that makes sense..the media and government never exaggerate things or lie to us.
I had grown more and more anxious about what I would have to do to get Si Bon back to cruising mode, when you leave a boat for two months with things not being used, it could end up as a big can of worms. I had hired Carlos to keep Si Bon's bottom cleaned and start the main engine and generator a couple of times...but what about all the other things not being used? Would all of my various navigation lights come on? would the all important stereo work? what about the refrigeration? How about my expensive battery bank...would it still be fully charged? and after leaving both toilets unused for two months, will I have to do the worst job on a boat and rebuild them? All of these things raced faster and faster through my mind as we got closer and closer to San Carlos and as we walked down the boardwalk towards Si Bon's slip. As we approached the "A" dock where Si Bon is docked Carlos walked up...it was very good to see him, Sharon and I chatted with him for what seemed to be forever before I excused myself and continued on to Si Bon's slip, as we rounded the dock and set our eyes on Si Bon Sharon mutter something like "gosh, she looks better than the last time I saw her". We still have plenty of things to check out, but the lights all work, the refrigerator was plenty cold, the batteries were just fine and as we kicked back and had a Brewski while listening to the stereo, I couldn't help but think, " I'm sure glad that I won't have to rebuild either one of the toilets"
As I later told Carlos, I was so happy I nearly cried. Muchos gracias amigo for all of your hard work and attention to detail.
Adios USA...for awhile anyway
09/26/2011, Los Angles, Ca.
Early yesterday we checked out of our Mission Beach condo, met Kim and Paul for a quick goodbye breakfast and headed north to Malibu to visit Ashley. Our Mission Beach vacation was pretty busy with getting all of the last minute things taken care of for our return to Mexico. It was pretty nice in that the condo came with several bikes, a paddle board (pic) and a kayak and all for about the same as we would have paid for a hotel. It was a great week as Sharon was able to meet both of my daughters and most of my close friends. Sharon was also able to see a few of her old friends including Betty Bo who lives not far from our condo.
Today we began the nearly 1000 mile trip back to Si Bon as we drive the rental car to Tucson then board the autobus for San Carlos.
Hurricane Hilary is still a definite threat and we are both anxious to be in San Carlos before she blows into town sometime towards the end of the week.
Hurricane Hilary; update 1
09/23/2011, Southern Mexico
Since earlier this morning the forecast has changed and as the weathermen say "Hilary is how spinning harmlessly out to sea". The weathermen obviously have not spent any time at sea. The weather guessers could change their minds again after lunch.....so I will continue to keep a VERY close eye on things and will also keep my blog updated.
09/23/2011, Southern Mexico
Hurricane season in the eastern Pacific runs from mid May thru the end of October. History shows that the Northern sea is pretty safe until September and October. Tropical Storm Hilary was upgraded to Hurricane status yesterday and is currently gaining strength off of the Southern Mexico coast...and headed north. Sharon and I were already planning on leaving Tucson Tuesday morning on the Autobus, we should be in San Carlos by Tuesday afternoon and will be able to take care of any final preparations should Hilary end up in The Sea of Cortez as the current forecast shows.
Sharon and I will be staying at a condo for the first week of our return and so there is no need for family/friends to worry about us. Si Bon will remain in her slip at Marina San Carlos, so no need to worry about her either. If Hilary does indeed come up the sea as forecast, we will be as prepared as we possibly can.