Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plan 9

Haven't we heard of this before?

So, things are in motion.

I looked at: Mexico, Thailand, the Philippines, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Chile.

Several were too expensive. Several were too dangerous. Or too restrictive. Or too potentially weird.

In many ways, Nicaragua seems nice but I have lust for the land. Ecuador's central Andean highlands were a good bet. Then I checked out Chile. Wild and crazy. Fantastic mountains. Large areas with almost no people. Endless months of winter rain. Gray skies. Maybe too expensive for now.

Plan Z has looped around and sunk its teeth into the tail of Plan A.

Probably Nicaragua.

Cheap enough. Kind of close. I sort of know people already there. I've studied it the most. I know of a place or two I can live, perhaps. I can spend a year or two getting used to things while I work on understanding Spanish, and waiting for my income to double.

After that, maybe more adventure.

So here's how you do it.

First, if you are at least 45 and can prove your income, you can be a "pensionado". This means you are either a geezer or want to live like one.

You need proof of income, a police report saying you have been good, and a health certificate. Plus a couple more things. These need to be certified as being real in your home state. The documents you get certified then go to the nearest consulate where they are certified as having been genuinely certified as being real.

Then you can go.

With one small hitch.

If not living in the state where you were born, your birth certificate goes to the nearest consulate for that, while everything goes to another consulate closer to where you actually live.

OK, fine.

My birth certificate would go to Texas and the rest to California.

With one small hitch.

The consulates don't seem to be open. Recently someone from where I am living emailed the California consulate. No response.

Then they called the California consulate. No one answered. And the voice mail was full, so he couldn't leave a message.

Then they were in the area and stopped by the California consulate, which was closed and dark and locked up.

The Texas consulate, from what I've heard, is about the same.

OK, fine.

There is a way around this.

You can get all your real documents certified and then send them to a branch of the U.S. State Department, which will give them a sort of intermediate certification certifying that they have been certified. Then you hire a courier to take them to the Washington, D.C. consulate, which can fill in for any of the others.

Once the documents are there, the consulate, as usual, certifies everything as having been certified by, in this case, your state secretary of state, and also, in this one special case, by the U.S. State Department. And then you are good to go.

With one small hitch.

The U.S. State Department apparently no longer does this, or the office moved, or installed new hoops which are not yet properly calibrated to account for the changes in gravity brought on by climate change which, as we all know, is a hoax. But it might be a relativistic effect due to the expansion of spacetime. Not quite clear yet.

Which, as you may guess, does not change anything.

But this is the procedure. OK, fine.

So right now Ecuador is worse. The immigration system was purged for corruption in late December and so were the people waiting for some purely rubber-stamping formalities. Which tends to be a good warning about not even thinking thoughts in that direction.

If I could manage getting there though, I would be in a city of 330,000, know no one, and would not understand Spanish any more than I do now. And six weeks ago I went deaf in my left ear. With luck this will turn out to be an ordinary although sort of rare odd little infection thing that probably will clear up within three months. If it does.

OK, fine.

There is a way around this.

And that is to keep at it because others have done it, and I have a secret weapon. I know about a lawyer (an "abogado") who specializes in this sort of thing. Everyone says he is straight out honest and reliable. His name is Antonio Caimán and I recently wired him $400 U.S. money. Plus $30 for transactions at his end. Plus an almost trivial $14 for transactions at my end.

OK, fine. I am all set. He got the money. Now I can finally ask questions of a real expert and get things started.

He says it is really easy.

I need income certification, a birth certificate, two photographs, a copy of my passport, a police report, copy of marriage license, list of household goods to ship, and some info about the vehicle I will import.

OK, fine. Strip out the marriage license, household goods and vehicle because they don't apply, and let's focus on the most relevant item.

Which is the "Health Certificate". I've never seen one, so I asked for a copy of it.

And more importantly I asked for a definitive list of what information I actually must supply.

I've heard just about everything. Must be free of contagious diseases, or of communicable diseases, or sexually-transmitted diseases, or various combinations. Must be said to be not crazy.

Maybe can have a handwritten note from some random doctor saying I'm OK as far as he knows. Because that worked for one guy.

Every variation seems to have worked for someone, although I haven't heard what did not work because, I guess, those people gave up, or are still trying to figure things out.

OK, fine.

So what's the answer?

I don't know. My good friend Antonio Caimán, Abogado, who received his $400 retainer, whom everyone says is the only person in Nicaragua who is absolutely honest and reliable, who knows all about this process that it is possible to know, has not responded to my emailed questions.

Heh.

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