Does anybody still own a typewriter?

Aerial view of marina, cruise ship docks and d...
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January 23, 2011 – It has been a very busy month.  We have been inundated with friends and relatives coming to escape the cold and snow of Canada.  It has been a great 6 weeks.  Lots of places to take people, lots of laughs and lots of great food and drink.  It did cut my blog writing time down but it was worth it having everybody here.

The kitchen renovation is complete save the refinishing of the tile floor.  That starts tomorrow.  We are looking forward to seeing the finished product and finally being able to fill the new cupboards.  More importantly we will be able to stop living in a construction zone!

While Sergio is sanding the floor I will be wandering down to the Vialidad ( car registration and licensing office) to register the Jeep for the coming year.  That should be entertaining.  Sure hope the dot matrix printer does not break down.  Yes, that was not a typo, dot matrix printer.  They are all over the country.  Office Depot carries an entire rack of printer ribbon as do all of the other business supply stores in town. 

An Epson MX-80 dot matrix printer
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It was quite a surprise the first time I heard one fire up when we moved here.  I am not sure how they get parts for them anymore but they are in use everywhere and especially in every government office.  It’s funny.  The Vialidad issues the registration on a dot matrix printer but the licensing division across the hall can issue you a fancy new security holographic drivers license in two minutes.  

It is this that reminds me of our first trip to Immigration in Puerto Vallarta to register that we had arrived in town a couple of years ago….

November 20, 2008 – Immigration day.  We were told we had to register with the Immigration department locally even though we already had the documents we needed to be here.  We had a quick breakfast and headed out the door at 8:00 am to walk to the office to be ready when they opened at 9:00. 

We arrived there about 8:20 to find a line up.  Hmm, a line up for immigration, that seems a little odd.  It was even more odd when we found out that one guy got there at 4:30 so he could be first in line!  At 8:30 the security guard starting handing out numbers, we were 14.  This won’t be too bad, should be out in an hour. 

While we sat there waiting for the office to open clutching our number so we would not lose our place in line Heather struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to her on the sidewalk.  Her name was Patti.  We talked with her until the office opened.  Nice woman. 

When the office opened, like cattle we all tramped up the stairs into their cramped waiting room and they started calling numbers.  An hour went by and they were at number 4.  Well maybe this won’t be that quick.  Another hour goes by and hey we are up to number 10.  Things are moving along.  I am watching the traffic at the windows because it seems like people are coming in and cutting in on those with numbers.  It was then I realized that some of the people at the windows were dealing with papers for lots of people!  Whats this then??? 

Patti then explained it to us.  She and a lot of the people were helpers who dealt with immigration.  For a fee they took care of the paperwork and the filing of the documents.  Ok, that makes more sense now.  We took her card for future reference.

At 12:15 our number was finally called!  Up to the window we moved quickly so nobody would muscle in on us.  We handed the woman behind the counter our documents and said we were told that we needed to register our presence in Puerto Vallarta.  We thought we would just need a stamp on our books.  Noooooooo.  That was too easy. 

She handed us back more forms to fill out.  She told us to fill the forms out and return with them along with our original FM -3’s, photos (front and side views) and a copy of a utility bill for proof of address. We realized that this is more than a stamp and it is going to require more than one trip to immigration.  It could be 3 trips and 6 hours of time judging by some of the comments we had overheard this morning.  Then she dropped the bombshell….the forms had to be typewritten, not filled out by hand.  The typing also had to be lined up with the lines or they would not be acceptable.File:Underwoodfive.jpg

TYPED!!!  Who are they kidding?  Who has a typewriter anymore?  Yes typed.  Crap.  So we walked out in stunned silence wondering where the heck we were going to find a typewriter.  We know 3 people in town!  Good luck with that one.

We mulled it over for a few days wondering what we were going to do about this when we finally decided that we should call our Property Manager and see if he can help.  He did have typewriter that we could use if we wanted.  The next day we headed over to his office to try to type this document. 

For fifteen minutes Heather tried to line up the paper on the roller so the type would hit where it was supposed to.  It was futile.  Half of the problem was that neither one of us had used a typewriter since the early nineties so we were out of practice.  She finally got it lined up to where she thought it should be and pressed the first key.  Damn, not lined up correctly.  Erase, try again.  Nope, not right.  This went on for at least an hour and she was unable to get one line on the form done.

Frustrated was not the word.  Anger was building and building quickly.  After about an hour and a half of frustration Heather threw in the towel.  We thanked them for the use of their typewriter which both us wanted to throw out the window to see it hit the parking lot below and left the office. 

Now what are we going to do?  We were miserable failures at typing and that is how the form needs to be filled out.  We got home, opened a beer and called Patti. 

Patti did it all.  We only had to go to immigration once to be finger printed and get our documents.  It was easy and we spent no more time in line. 

We phone her every year now.