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Friday, August 26, 2011

Licensed to Thrill, or Kill, While Driving in San Jose

Today we went to get our Costa Rica drivers' licenses. This involves the following steps:

1. Call Jorge Calderon our taxi driver in time to get us to the 0800 bus from Atenas to San Jose.
2. Arrive in time to board bus.
3. Bus is kind of late into San Jose due to this and that.
4. Arrive in San Jose with about one half hour to have breakfast at the soda near Casa Canada that we always frequent. Gulp down breakfast and head over to our lawyer at Casa Canada.
5. Where we meet with our lawyer's assistant.
6. Who takes us to a Banco Costa Rica, to withdraw colones to pay for what comes up next.
7. Hail a taxi and go to the doctor's office.
8. Where we have blood drawn to determine our blood types, eye exam, blood pressure check and then on to the next step.
9. The drivers' license office - where we are put into a foreigner's line-up (well, you get to sit in chairs), which didn't seem to move very fast. Eventually we are all sent upstairs. In the meantime, we have been admiring the extremely high heels the Ticas wear as they traipse back and forth.
10. Once upstairs, you wait to be called to the Scary Lady's desk (in all fairness, it appears she had a really bad headache today).
11. I made Lance go ahead of me to see what I might expect. She looked at his passport and counted the months since we arrived here - so close to the 90 days when you have to get out of the country. We were under the wire but Lance got the wagging finger from Scary Lady.
12. Lance disappeared into the next office room. And I got called to the Scary Lady. No problem. Then I went into the next room.
13. Stamp, stamp, stamp documents - then we both leave with instructions to go to the bank and pay another fee.
14. Thank goodness for our lawyer's assistant - he was waiting for us, led us to the bank, we pay a fee at the special teller's office.
15. Back to the license office - present our bank fee paper - get our picture taken - wait outside - they call your name - pick up license with hideous photo of self.
16. That's it!!! We are both licensed to drive Heavy Vans, but not motorcycles or taxis.
17. Get taxi back to Casa Canada, meet with our lawyer, and pay him his fee. Shake hands, pick up our copies of Comprobante Requisitos (Certificate of Presentation) and we are good to go and we don't have to leave this country next week. It will probably take a year to get our pensionado status.
18. Take taxi back to Coca Cola bus station, board Atenas bus, arrive Atenas, get cab home.
19. Relax.
20. Best advice to other Canadians wanting to immigrate to Costa Rica: get a Costa Rica lawyer. You are wasting your time and money if you don't do this.

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