Last summer when I was in Washington State I visited the Social Security office in order to make sure everything was in order for my upcoming birthday, as I was going to be applying for benefits. After sitting in a queue for more than a half hour watching a video loop of them encouraging people to apply online I decided to take the hint… I’d apply online once I was back home in Mexico.
So a couple of months ago I applied for benefits online. A few days later an email came from a SSA employee saying that there were issues with my application. Oh No! It scared me for a second but it turned out that it was only a little problem with a form I’d submitted in the long ago past. They needed me to appear in person at a SSA office to sort it out. I could visit Guadalajara or an office in the US. I chose to make an appointment in Guadalajara.
So after a two week delay due to a sick dog we hit the road on Easter morning without even considering how awful the traffic would be after the entire region spent Semana Santa in Mazatlán! Still, it’s a beautiful drive and I always enjoy watching the mango orchards, the volcanic rock, the blue agave fields, and the sugar cane. A picture from the car window of the sugar cane is below.
We finally made it to Guadalajara and had an enjoyable stop for a late lunch/early dinner at the Indian restaurant Goa. We checked into our hotel and headed out for a walk. We bumped right in to an handcrafts fair that was really amazing. There were huge tents set up covering at least a football field I’d say. We bought a few goodies but I was most amazed by the Huichol beaded deer, below. I’ve seen pictures of the amazing beaded VW but this was the most spectacular item I’ve seen in person. The deer (venado) is very important to the Huichol. Mazatlán even means “Place of Deer” in the Nahuatl language.
The next morning it was time to head to the US Consulate for my appointment. The picture at the top of the post is a Google image of the Consulate. Sure is ugly and fortified, isn’t it? Really awful. We could tell right away that parking was going to be a major problem… but, no, not in México! I rolled down my window to ask someone standing on the street corner if there was a parking garage anywhere and he asked me first if I needed parking for the Consulate. He ran ahead leading us to the place and for 70 pesos we parked in a spot that is watched, etc. That’s important because to go in to the Consulate you can’t take any electronics, liquids, key chains, medicine, makeup, etc. So everything valuable had to be left in the car.
We asked directions and were sent to the other side of the building where we showed our passports and were checked off the appointment list. We had to take off our belts and pass through a body scanner while my purse and paperwork was scanned as well. Then off to a large room full of chairs to wait for our name to be called. After a short wait we headed to Room 5 where we met the woman who had been handling my file and passed an enjoyable 10 minutes getting everything sorted out. After that we headed outside to find our car unmolested, and pointed ourselves in the direction of Costco and then home.
The traffic was sparse and the drive was pleasant all the way back home. We even got to take advantage of the new bypass road that lets you skip Tepic. All in all it was a successful trip and I look forward to seeing that Social Security money hitting the bank account soon! Makes me happy that I finally get to see some benefit from all the money I had withheld over the years.