Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Getting a Honduran Driver's License

I had already heard the nightmare tales of getting a driver's license in Honduras. I have put it off and put it off and dreaded it. I came time that I just had to deal with it. I got our friend, Milton, to go with me and blocked off a whole day to do this. I left here early Monday, picked up Milton, and was at Transito by 8:30.

Transito consists of several buildings. Thankfully, Milton, knew where to go to start this process. We went to the main building and talked to someone, then went to the second floor and talked to two or three other people. We then went to one of the other buildings. I had an eye test. I had to tell the three colors on a chart on the wall. I had to read the eyechart with and without my glasses. Then I paid for that. I had a physical. Rather, I had my blood pressure and pulse taken and asked if I had had any surgeries. I paid for the physical. I had my blood typed and paid for that. I had my picture taken and paid for that.

Back to the main building. The first floor, the third floor, the second floor. I was told at that point I had to be a Honuduran resident before I could get a driver's license. Marc is not yet a Honduran resident and he has his license. Oh, by the way, my residency has been in progress almost a year. If I had to wait for that, I might be waiting until eternity. That is a whole other story.

I called Marc. I called my lawyer. All the while, Milton is calling people and stopping different policia and asking them to do him a favor. He even gave my paperwork, including my passport, to one of the policia and the man left with my papers. I nearly died. My papers maybe, but not my passport. He did bring all my papers back and said he had tried everything and could not help us. It is approaching 11:00. I was not happy. I do have a piece of paper that says my residency is in progress. I did not have it with me because Marc said all I needed was my passport and my Texas driver's license. That is all Marc needed when he got his license. But this is Honduras, and rules change. I was told to bring the paper back tomorrow along with a solicitud. That was just great. I had no idea what a solicitud was.

I came home. I found out what a solicitud was. It was a letter in spanish soliciting the police for a driver's license. Fernando helpled me write the solicitud. I have trouble enough speaking spanish; typing a letter was out of the question.

Since I had to go back on Tuesday and Milton was going back with me, Fernando and Dorian decided to go get their licenses. They took the same paperwork I was taking. Same drill. Leave early, get Milton, get to Transito by 8:30. Dorian and Fernando started with the eye test, blood work, physical, and picture.

Milton took all my paperwork and left. He came back and said we were ready to start. He also told me he had talked to a friend that is really high in transito. We went in the middle building. There are several desks in a small room. The first desk had a man with a large notebook. The pages have been neatly columned by hand. Everything that goes in it is hand-written. The next desk has a lady sitting behind it with a typewriter. At the third desk is another lady and at the fourth desk is a lady working at computer. The fifth desk is empty.

We start at the first desk. There are people in front of us and each one is taking a few minutes. When we get there, they look at my paperwork, begin to sign it and fill in the notebook, fingerprint me. He takes one of my pictures and a gluestick and glues the picture on a card. I am thinking this will eventually be my license. We move on to typewriter lady. She asks me to write my mother and father's name. She then types something on my papers. The next lady looks at everything and oks it and we go back to the main building.

Once back in the main building, we go to window 4 and then to window 6. Then to station 9. My paperwork is looked at again and signed again. We go to window 2 and then to the bank to pay and then to window 3. Even Milton was laughing over this.

We, once again, head for the middle building and have to wait in a fairly long line. We go to computer lady. She takes more fingerprints and another picture. I leave all the paperwork I have accumulated to this point,including the card with my picture that was glued on earlier. We go back to the main building to yet another station and sign my name one more time and am handed a license. It was 9:45. Unbelievable.

In the meantime, Dorian and Fernando were sitting and waiting for Milton to finish with me. I took their seat and they left with Milton. In just a few minutes they all return, saying their paperwork is not in order and they have to return tomorrow.

I could not help but laugh. Both Dorian and Fernando got their licenses today and Fernando does not even have residency in progress yet. Go figure.

The only thing I can say about the inefficiency is, if the system was efficient, hundreds more would be out of work.

I am thankful that is over. Now to get the residency done.



Anonymous said...

Good grief! Well, all I can say is "Congratulations" & praise God for Milton! love you, Janet :)

Ginger said...

I would be as nutty as the hondurans if I had to live in Honduras and cope with this type situation on a daily basis...

Will you turn into these wierd people?

Thanks for sharing this adventure with me.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a week. I had been wondering what was going on there. I cannot imagine all you go thru for just little things. You are a true trooper to be able to handle those inconveniences. Makes me appreciate all the more the things you have to do just to exist there. Hang in there. You are appreciated and loved. linda