The process took 22 hours, over 2 days!
I arrived at the Malecón, (which is Spanish for “boardwalk by the lake with the mountains in the background”; beautiful setting) at 7am. It was the first morning to stand in line. There must have been 400 people already lined up. Everyone was keeping their place…some had chairs, coolers, whatever.
It took 4 hours in line to reach registration , where I presented a copy of my passport, Tourist Visa and utility bill with my address on it, not my name; apparently without my name was fine (I still don’t understand that part). I had hired a young Spanish lawyer from Facebook to help me through registration. She showed up for her money first thing in the morning, never to be seen again. She had told me to message her when I was close and she would come and help me with registration. I did all of the above, many times…no show!!!
At registration I was told ‘no’, they weren’t accepting anyone on a Tourist Visa (which is a 6-month Visa) at that point. I said I had read a statement by the Mexican President that no one would be turned away from getting the vaccine. The registration people didn’t agree. I was told ‘no’.
At that point a gentleman came up to me and asked ‘can I help?’ He spoke perfect English and was a businessman from Guadalajara who was in line helping his mother. I told him my story. He said I was right, and he would help. He took me to a special office. They also said ‘no’, so he then took me through the barricades to the front of the line where we found a staff person named ‘Angel’!!
By this time probably 800 people were lined up. On the internet my savior found a statement from the Mexican President saying that all tourists should receive the vaccine. We translated the Spanish into English with Mr. Google. When the officials saw this they started to soften their stand. The problem was they had no system in the computers to handle people that were on Tourists Visas. I was told to come back next morning at 8am. At this point it was 7pm—12 hours from the beginning. Now, I should mention that I had met a very nice lady in line named Pam, and the government was supplying water, food and even music, so the atmosphere was like a party.
So, here we were: no paperwork in place and, by this time, 4 other Canadians were in the same boat. So the officials sat us in very comfortable chairs where we waited and waited for hours while they tried to figure out if they could put the right paperwork in place for us. But we had good conversations…one of the Canadians was a former city council politician from Toronto.
Finally, some very official gentleman arrived and small groups of officials started to meet. I really thought it was over, but after about an hour this senior official walked past me and winked; I was so relieved. All of a sudden a nurse arrived, stood in front of me, and gave me the shot. I was overjoyed! This wonderful moment was followed by all the paperwork which was now in place. Part of the problem had been that they were afraid, since we were tourists, we would leave before the second shot in 28 days and they would be held liable…so more signatures from both sides. The staff were absolutely doing their very best; no one lost their temper. I deserve a large gold star for my patience…22 hours later.
For those who know me, white wine is a daily occurrence in my life. But no wine for 20 days!!!!…that was a shocker.
I will be travelling to the UK at the end of May.
Enjoy the saga!
P.S. Regarding the lawyer that I had hired on Facebook: I sent her a message the next day saying how disappointed I was, and requesting my money back. She got in a taxi right away and dropped the money off, which I in turn donated to a charity here.