Who knew getting a certified copy of my Mexican birth certificate would be this complicated? I have tried on numerous occasions to get a copy of my birth certificate. I called the Mexican consulate general and they were of no help. I thought that when Cindy was in Mexico City, she could do this for me, but alas she was crazy busy with her students and Mexican governmental offices pretty much are nonexistent for any holy day (in this case; week). So yesterday I decided to try my luck in person. I knew I was taking a chance and that my experience there would be quite different from Fernando's visits to his consulate general (consider the difference in number of Spanish immigrants in L.A. vs. that of Mexican immigrants...staggering), but I ventured anyway. Let me describe the scene: Parking was surprisingly easy, so I was encouraged. As I walked towards the gate, it became clear that there was an entire street economy all based on the needs you might have once you entered the consulate...this typically signals a long wait and unexpected surprises. There was a lunch car selling everything and anything you can imagine in edible goods. There were people selling black ink pens trying to convince anyone that would make eye contact that you couldn't get anything done inside the gates without their pens. There were people asking if we needed help filling the "overly complicated" forms. There were so many people there, I was a little taken aback, but proceeded. Anyway, as soon as the guard took a cursory look in my purse, I was in the gate and told to go up the stairs to the 4th floor (somehow we were already in the third floor so there were not so many stairs...what do the old or disable do?) The 4th floor was EMPTY. Why are there so many people outside if this place is empty? So I tell the lady my issue and she says; "we probably can't help you, but sign in and take a seat." I wait, and wait, and wait. There are people, who work there having casual conversations, going in, taking a seat and having conversations with their buddies. I read, and read, and read. Finally I get called into an office. The man behind the desk greets me, I began telling him what I needed, and suddenly he says; "excuse me." He reaches to his waist, picks up his cell phone (which apparently had been vibrating) and proceeds to have a lengthy conversation about what time he got home last night and how much fun it was and blah, blah, blah. Unbelievable! And I had to sit there and pretend this wasn't bothering me, because he might be able to help me and I don't want to upset him and ruin my chances at getting my birth certificate! After he hangs up he gives me some feeble explanation of his wife, I give him a courtesy laugh and try to move on to business. He explains how the consulate has no way of attaining these documents and I just sit there, quiet, listening. I think that made him a little uncomfortable, because he began to make some phone calls, gave my information to someone and finally said; "call this number next Friday and they will be able to help you." After thanking him profusely for, I don't know what, I left empty handed but oddly accomplished.
My next stop, the county recorders office to pick up a more recent copy of our marriage certificate. That took 3 minutes, $13 and I was on my way with documents in hand.
While I did all this, Fernando had his turn at the CIS fingerprinting, HA!