Tuesday, June 21, 2016


A tale from my life of crime . . .

From mid 1987 until late 1991, SWMBO and I lived in Mexico as ex-pat retirees.

We went to Mexico on a tourist visa which was good for six months.

That meant we had to make a trip to the United States and then return to Mexico with new papers every six months.

Most of the time that was fine.

A nice trip to the land of milk and honey to do some shopping for items we couldn't find in Mexico at that time, like cheddar cheese and regular-size Vitamin C and a Sunday New York Times.

We would occasionally visit friends in the States, maybe go to a restaurant for a good steak, have a good time before heading back to our new home, over a thousand miles below the border, in Guadalajara.

But one time the trip to El Norte, as the time drew near, began to seen onerous.

One of my new friends in Mexico said I could buy papers right here in Guadalajara and not go to the border.

It was understood that these papers were forgeries of the official documents but were said to be perfectly passable.

So I decided to do it and was given an address in downtown Guadalajara.

(Guadalajara was the second largest city in Mexico at the time, about four million people strong.)

I parked my car in the garage at the huge downtown market, walked down the cement stairs and crossed through the market, past butcher shops where the heads of sheep and pigs were on display, past many small food stands, past every thing under the sun that could be sold.

Out on the street, I walked another block or so and found the address I had been given.

An open doorway with a young man idling in it (standing guard?) led to a steep and dark stairway.

I climbed the steps and found an office with several more young men standing around, staring at me.

Eventually I was escorted to an inner office where a very old man was seated at a desk.

I gave him my information, he told me a price and said to come back in a week.

I did, paid him the fee in cash and was handed my new papers.

Then I retraced my steps once more and drove home with a smile on my face.

I was good for another six months.

But my experience had me nervous, not sure if I was going to be robbed, beaten up, or worse, arrested by police posing as a forgery ring.

I never did it again.

The six month drive to the border was more preferable than the (imagined?) danger of buying fake papers.

That was many years ago in a foreign country.

I think the statute of limitations (if there is such a thing in Mexico) has passed by now.


  1. Great story. I understand your degree of concern and it was probably not paranoia. The way things work there, you probably would have difficulties.

  2. Huh. Ever had more than the usual questions at immigration, coming back to the US from abroad? I doubt this escaped the agencies that started cooperation back then, the US and Mexican FBI, interpol, etc. I bet you are on a list somewhere, deemed "not a threat".

  3. Le Carre characters do this all the time. No sweat. Well, most of the time.

  4. That is why Mexico will pay for a wall; to keep out riff-raff illegal immigrants like you and your kind!

    PS-Id'a peed my pants.

  5. I promise not to squeal on you the next time I'm in Mexico.

  6. If you make a movie of your scofflaw escapades, you can call it "The Six Months of Living Dangerously."

  7. P.S. I see it's 83f there, when I got up at 7am it was 35f on the back porch, very comfortable sleeping at night. Might hit the high 70's today.