Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What's Spanish for "Red Tape"?

Since I live in CA and the GT3 has been in NY, I have not had a lot of seat time in it. So no sexy track pictures like Emil has posted. But I do have a few pictures from when I tracked the F430 at Pocono earlier this year:

Do it like this...

Again with the Instructor

Ok. So I finally have a moment to post on our blog! I guess I should introduce myself...

Hi. I'm Keri. I'm a Leo. I love long walks on the beach and men who aren't afraid to cry. (when I pass them on the track.)

So far, my preparations for La Carrera have been much less glamorous and exciting than Emil's. I am in charge of making sure our paperwork gets completed way before we get down there, in the hopes that we (and I include the GT3 in that "we") don't get deported before or during the race. Seeing as how there are about 5 "official" Mexican websites dispensing "official" information about the "official" paperwork and no two sites agree on any of the important details...deportation is definitely a concern.

We have secured our transport vehicle to get the car in and out of Mexico. Also, this transporter will provide mechanical support, if needed. So that's a done deal.

We need to acquire the following, prior to our arrival in Mexico:

  1. Temporary Importation Sticker for the GT3
  2. Tourist Visas for Emil and me
  3. Mexican Sports Racing License for Emil and me
  4. Mexican Car Insurance
  5. Any necessary international health insurance that ideally would include the services of US Chopper.

Doesn't seem too complicated, right?

Well, according to the organizers of the event, the people you get these important permits/stickers/visas etc. from are not the same people you PAY to get them. There are rumors of online payments, but no evidence to back that up. So from what I can tell, you have to apply for the permit, pay for the permit, show proof that you paid for the permit, then hope they'll give you the permit.

Also, each car entering Mexico requires a deposit to ensure that the car leaves Mexico before the importation sticker expires. Only 1 website (out of the 5) has mentioned this. They have a chart to tell you how much the deposit is, based on the age of your car. It stops at the year 2003. Is that an indication that it's not a good idea to bring in a car that is 3 years old or newer? Or is the fee then dependent on the car itself and how much they think they can squeeze from a person who owns such a new and shiny car? And I'm not sure if I contact the issuers of the sticker, the people I pay for the sticker, or some other random "official" government agency to find out how much my deposit is.

The tourist visa is something I believe we can get when we arrive at the airport in Mexico City. I have to call the consulate to confirm this and to clarify that when they say on their site that I need a "Valid passport, certificate of naturalization or an original birth certificate and a valid government issued ID (a photocopy of the documents that you present is also needed)" what they really mean is that in lieu of a passport, I need to show a government ID and either a cert. of naturalization or a birth certificate - which is the case in Canada.

I haven't delved too deeply into the procedure for getting the racing license. I suspect it will be equally as confusing, if not more so.

You know what would be an excellent solution to all of this? If Mexico just said "Pay us $1000 and you can do whatever the hell you want as long as you leave in 30 days." I'd pay $1000 for the convenience of not having to call 15 government agencies in order to get 3 "official" pieces of paper.

My next task after finding my way out of the ball of red tape...gather all of the things that are vitally important on any road trip, but that only women think to bring: Bug spray, antibacterial wipes and toilet paper for the public restrooms, 5 kinds of lotion depending on the climate of the regions we are driving through, a MacGyveresque collection of hair pins, duct tape, twine, swiss army knife, vaseline and a ball-point pen (the ball-point pen is crucial for fixing broken fuel lines. Season 2 episode 10. Wikipedia! I'm not that much of a geek!), and an assortment of OTC medications (and old expired prescription medications that are surely better than nothing) to treat every possible illness, parasitic infection, or flesh-eating virus we might come across if we get lost and end up in a South American jungle.

Wish me luck!

PS: I should clarify that the organizers of La Carrera and Unlimited Class have been extremely helpful about getting us information on how to obtain all of these things - my point is that Mexico makes things seem complicated, not that the event organizers aren't knowledgable! Also, as in most of my writing, there is a grain of sarcasm and humor - since I see most situations in my life as humorous in some way.

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