Spoiler: In Which I Get a Mexican Bank Account (and 21st Century Connectivity)

Yesterday was an absolutely insane work day. I woke up thinking I had at most two hours to do of typing only to receive an actual call from a client in a panic — one of her typists got in a bad accident and was out of commission, leaving a mountain of work that needed to be done. The amount of money I was offered to work a 14-hour day was worth it and, thankfully, the files were easy and mostly interesting. But even with how committed I was, there was really too much to do in one day and I was grateful to have a few hours to finish up this morning.

That done, just as I was about to head out, I got a text about the shelving I was going to go pick up — apparently the husband sold them under his wife’s nose. 🙁 She was quite upset and sent me pictures of other shelving she had for sale, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. At least she got me before I left and drove to the very south of Mérida!

Since I now had some extra time, I loaded a few more things into the truck, including the shelves for my bookcases so there will be less to move on furniture moving day (possibly this weekend).

I then headed to the house and got there around 11:30 after stopping at the bank. The maintenance man was there doing a final clean, which was really appreciated. I’ll still want to go over everything, but he did a lot of the heavy scrubbing for me, especially in the guest shower. This was his final visit to the house and I got his keys after. The house is all mine now! 🙂

Since I expected to not have internet and wanted to go to the internet office in person (since I had such a hard time understanding the rep on Saturday), I’d parked on the street instead of wrangling Moya into a parking bay. So imagine my delight that I had internet and phone service! I promptly did some downloads to test my internet and called my mother to test my phone (again, I can call Canada from both the cell and the landline at no extra cost).

I cannot believe how easy and fast it was to get my internet service! Yes, today is a week from when I had the techs come in, but remember that I haven’t been at the house. If I was actually living there, I would have known something was wrong by Thursday morning, called, and solved the problem straightaway.

Since 50Mbps was the last reasonably priced speed, after which costs went up exponentially, I decided to start with that. I was delighted that I just about get that speed with wifi:

I Facetimed with my parents later in the day using my phone to give them a virtual tour of the house and while the connection wasn’t perfect, I had service all over the property. Woohoo!

Compare that to my speeds in Chelem:

The connection in Chelem has been absolutely fine! Really! It’s very stable and except for a few outages and uploads being a tad painful, I’ve been satisfied. I mean, I can watch Netflix without buffering! But it really was great to download and upload in a blink while doing my tests in Mérida!

My landlady showed up around 1:00 and we did a final walkthrough. Then, she suggested that we go to the bank together in her car and that she would drop me off later. I said that I definitely wanted to go with her, but that I’d make my own way back since I was meeting very near the bank a guy selling a faucet.

We got to the bank, HSBC, at just shy of two and waited and waited. There was a gentleman ahead of me in line and by 2:10, I knew I wasn’t making my appointment at three. Well, imagine that the guy let me go ahead of him! He said he’d been waiting for 2.5 hours (OMG) and that an extra 30 minutes wasn’t going to kill him. I still can’t believe that.

The bank rep had to speak to his manager and a few other people before he could confirm that he could open the account for me on a residente temporal visa. The manager said that if I had my passport, migratory document, proof of residency, and an existing client right there to vouch for me, we could proceed. I did have to explain that my FMM (“tourist card”) had been changed for the residente temporal card.

I was a bit shocked, though, that even for their most basic account I had to deposit 2,500 pesos and was thankful I’d gotten some cash earlier or that would have been embarrassing. Other banks I looked at only wanted a 1,000 peso deposit. I was reassured that I would have access to those funds within 24 hours, but warned that if I don’t keep a 2,500 peso balance, I’ll have to pay 100 pesos per month in account fees instead of only 30 pesos. Business is slow right now, the current US-CAD exchange rate is killing me, and expenses are high, so I’ll take door number one please. 🙂

My account will be linkable with PayPal (for which I’ll need a separate Mexico account) and I’ll have online banking (including the ability to pay bills), and a debit card. Seems very similar to having an account in Canada. I do know that Mexican accounts tend to nickel and dime their clients, so I have to go over my account documents very carefully to make sure I understand all the fees.

While the mountain of virtual paperwork was being filled out, the faucet guy texted to let me know he was at the meeting point, a full 30 minutes early. I apologised to the bank man and my landlady and quickly dealt with that, telling the guy I’d probably be a few minutes late and begging him to wait. He said no problem.

Once all the paperwork was completed (and I’d convinced the guy that I don’t need to sign any IRS forms), I was handed my debit card and was able to encode it with my chosen PIN. That was pretty funny — the guy said to enter your “NIP” and then he caught himself and said, “I think you call it a PIN?” I replied, “Actually, I’m French-Canadian and do my banking in French, so it’s definitely a NIP!”

The meeting went very well, linguistically speaking. I sometimes had to ask for clarifications and my landlady had to translate (ie. repeat what was said in different words), but, really, I could have done this on my own if I’d had to.

Once everything was signed, it was 3:00 and I had to go to the teller window to deposit my 2,500 pesos. Thankfully, there was no wait for that! And I had another one of those lovely moments where someone was a bit brusque with me at the start of a transaction and then completely softened as he realised we could communicate.

Done, I was going to race off to the meeting point, but my landlady said that was ridiculous and to get in her car. En route, I texted the guy that, “I’ll be there in five minutes in a yellow car!” and he replied with, “I’m blind if I miss you then!” We pulled up and the guy was exactly where he said he’d be, in front of a hospital right by where I rented an apartment last February. That was fantastic because I knew where I was meeting him and how to get to a bus to get me home. So I thanked my landlady for her help and sent her on her way. She’s amazing. 🙂

The faucet appeared to be exactly what I wanted so I bought it. The guy bought the wrong model for his house so it’s brand new. Here it is:

It really looks strange — the faucet part is like what I imagine for a kitchen, but the handle is more for a bathroom. I really hope that it fits. If not, I’m sure I can sell it for what I paid for it and start over. 🙂 There are two covers for the holes in the sink where the existing taps are, so that reassures me. Anyway, I’ll see what my installer has to say and for 324 pesos (22 CAD) I think it was worth the gamble. It really feels nice and solid. (Edited to add: I just Googled how to tell a kitchen and bathroom faucet apart and the first link showed nearly exactly my model of faucet as being for a kitchen!)

I’d thought to hang around Centro for a bit, but it was an exceptionally hot day (you know the weather’s not normal when the locals are complaining!) and the faucet was heavy. I didn’t want to look for a bus, so I just went to the Hyatt on Calle 60 as I knew for sure I could get a bus there. Sure enough, the first bus that pulled up was definitely going to my part of town. It was only a 3.3KM ride and cost me 8 pesos (0.55CAD). At that price, it’s really not worth driving to centro and I plan to use the bus a lot, although I’ll probably use cabs to go to other parts of town. The bus system here really isn’t very good and the buses are in really dangerous condition anyway, so I’m not as keen to learn the bus routes as I was in Maz.

By the time I’d given my parents the virtual tour of the house, I really had to get going as Puppy was going to be needing his supper. I did stop at Chedraui for coffee and Costco for (almond) milk and a slice of pizza. I usually just get sauce and cheese, but they had a new flavour that I just had to try even if I had to wait five minutes. You see, my absolute favourite pizza topping for non-Italian pizza (what you find on this side of the pond at places like Dominos or Little Caesar) are red onion, pineapple, and sweet Italian sausage. You can’t get sweet Italian sausage here, but Costco came close, with their new pizza having red onion, pineapple, and… al pastor meat! OMG, it was so good. 🙂 I’m not crazy about the sauce on the Costco pizza (way too tomato paste-y), but as long as they’ve got the al pastor version, that’s where I’m getting my pizza fix. 🙂

I missed a rainstorm while I was in Costco and drove home in increasingly blue skies. Puppy was glad to see me!

Well, now that the challenges of renting a home, opening a bank account, and ordering internet service are behind me, it’s time for some new ones. Next on the list are healthcare coverage and a driver’s license!

6 thoughts on “Spoiler: In Which I Get a Mexican Bank Account (and 21st Century Connectivity)

  1. It’s good to see you are getting things done but not so wonderful that there’s still so much to do. Slow but steady wins the race, right?

    • It’s funny, but I feel like I can almost start breathing. 🙂 I don’t feel as overwhelmed as I did just a few days ago.

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