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Getting into a Pickle in Baja, MX

January 9th, 2023

Currency: MX Peso – $.053 USD – $.071 CDN

Gas Price:  around 21 MX peso per litre – about $4.60

Beer:  Corona, Pacifio, Modelo, Tecate – take your pick!  You all know our fave 😉

Straight off, we want to apologize for the length of this post – a lot happened and we didn’t want to break it into two posts as we wanted the story told in one shot.

We made it to Baja, Mexico!  The crossing at Tecaté was pretty uneventful; the agent at the gate wanted to see inside the trailer and in the truck bed and told us to park to get our FMM tourist visa.  We went into immigration where there were only two ladies in front of us and filled out the form.  The immigration officer sent us to the “banjercito” to pay the fee, bring back the receipt and return.  She scanned our passports, stamped both the visas and the passports and handed us back the receipt, the FMM card along with our passports.

We returned to the truck and drove to the main drag to find an ATM and a TelCel shop.  Fran finally got cash after trying a third bank and Doug managed to get us some data and set up our sim cards.

We decided to continue on to Ensenada.  Here we hoped to get doctors’ appointments to get a few things checked out (nothing serious) but unlike back in 2020 when we’d had full checkups almost the same day, appointments were only available in at least a week.  We looked for some pharmacies to get our meds; Fran was successful on her meds; Doug only managed to get a two months’ supply of his statins so that will cover our time here in Mexico but we wanted to get enough for a year so we’ll keep checking as we go south.

We wanted to get the dinette cushions re-stuffed while in Mexico as well and tried an upholstery shop in Ensenada; while they had the right foam and the price was good, they would not cut to size and we don’t have the proper tools for that so we gave up for now.

As it was approaching 4 and wild camping options here in Ensenada with a trailer are slim, we decided to head to a campground on the highway to San Felipe – our next destination.  There was also a welder in the town of Ojos Negros so we might be able to get more things taken care of there.  The MX3 highway to Ojos Negros was narrow and windy but we made it to the town just as the sun went down.

Right before town was our first military check point crossing.  There are a good number of these in the Baja and we expect to encounter more and will probably count those instead of tunnels as we do in Europe!

The campground was part of an event salon and restaurant.  The office was closed but there was a phone number to call so we drove in looking for the camp spots; didn’t find them but found the bathrooms and decided to park there when an employee of the restaurant drove up in a pick-up.  He had to call the owner and he asked for $20 USD for the night with power for a trailer – it was higher than quoted on iOverlander, but he claimed it was because we had a “trailer and we were not a camper/van”.  Oh well, it was now dark and we settled.  There were toilets, power, water and COLD showers so it was really not worth it especially because there was no Wi-Fi and the cell signal was an “E” but we didn’t want to move as it’s quite a distance to the next option and it’s dark.

We got parked, Doug got us power and we had some hot air popcorn and cold beer for dinner!  This town is up high and it was cool tonight so we needed heat so the power was a good perk in the end.

Tuesday we awoke to cloudy low skies and a little misty rain.  Fran noticed a dump station right by the bathroom block so we decided to take advantage of it and after some maneuvering, got to a point where we could do it (thank goodness for excess sewer hose), rinsed and then filled the fresh water.  As we are now in Mexico, we will begin adding some bleach to our tanks and use our water filtration system for drinking water just to be safe.

When we left around 9, we tried to find the welder but the place looked closed – there was just a cow in the yard.  Driving out of town we spotted a different welder and stopped to ask if he could help with our three issues.  He was able to help with one – two of the bolts were missing on the skid plate of the truck and when he looked, he saw one was just unscrewed and he found one to replace the missing one and did a little jerry rigging on the corner for the other.

We left Ojos Negros, getting some gas on the edge of town, going through the military checkpoint in each direction as the gas station as a tad west of it and we are heading east.  There was a second one when we switched over to the MX5 south.

We began the drive to San Felipe on the east coast of Baja.  The drive was pretty uneventful until it wasn’t.  As we approached San Felipe (about 6km / 4mi north) on the four lane MX5 (a divided highway but the median is patch of dirt/grass with no barrier and you see locals making U-turns anywhere they want), we spotted a welding shop with large bays and decided to turn around and go back to it.

Fran saw Doug checked his mirrors and he moved over to the right lane in order to take the turn wide enough with the trailer, signaled and began his turn.  As we were more than half way through the U-turn, there was a huge thud Doug completed the U-turn and pulled over to the shoulder of the north bound lanes and we got out to find out what happened; the trailer had been struck on the left side at the back of the trailer on the bumper only which pushed the entire bumper and rear frame work on the underside of the trailer nearing two feet to the right. OMG! We couldn’t believe it.  In the southbound lane, a blue Honda civic was stopped, with front end smashed in and the windshield shattered.  The driver had been helped by a passerby to sit in the narrow dirt median.  Doug recalls seeing this car in his mirror, quite a ways back.  We saw that he had his phone in his hand as he exited the car.  You could see a set of brake marks for the right tires but not the left.  He obviously tried to stop far too late.

We were absolutely fine but our poor trailer was not.  Not only was the bumper pushed over but the left side wiring was down, the underside soffit was hanging down etc.  and the trailer frame with the stabilizers was all moved to the left and the bottom corner of the trailer had some minor damage.

scene of the accident

and the other car:

Emergency vehicles were called, fire engines arrived, and the National Guard (like the highway patrol as we were on a federal highway) arrived as well as an ambulance.  The driver of the other car was a very young man not even 20. He did not look badly hurt but he was taken to the local small hospital to get checked.

Doug called our insurance company right away and when the police came over, Fran completed the call making the claim so he could deal with the police.  We were given a claim number right away and were told an adjuster would be called and on his way shortly.  This all happened just after 2 pm and we were told if he was not there by 3pm to call back.

Both Fran and the police took photos and Doug was told he’d made an illegal u–turn and was at fault; Doug disputed this saying the blue car had to have been going too fast and got too close as well as advising it appeared he had been on the phone and that his brakes didn’t work.  He also questioned whether he’d been wearing a seat belt.

In the meantime the adjuster called and spoke to the police officer.  The officer told us we were not safe on the highway and we should go into San Felipe to wait for the status of the medical situation of the other driver and meet the adjuster at the Justice Centre.  The blue car was towed away after both Fran and the police took more photos.  We were not keen about leaving the scene of the accident and we felt safe on the shoulder of the road but the police insisted.

We drove to a spot between the hospital and the Justice Centre to learn that the boy was in stable condition but they could not do the proper x-rays/ultra sounds needed here in San Felipe so he was taken north to Mexicali by ambulance (about 2 hours away) and we had to wait for the results of these tests.  We were quite thirsty and asked a small group of boys on bikes if they could tell us where a store was to get drinks.  They offered to go get them if we gave them the money.  They returned with ice cold diet coke and then Doug made them balloon animals.

We then drove around the corner to the Justice Centre and there paperwork began to be filled out and after calling the insurance company once again, we were told the adjuster had gone to the scene of the accident but we weren’t there so he left!  WTH?  Fran gave the phone to the office to speak to the insurance company explaining he had spoken to the adjuster and they said they’d get in touch with him.

We waited and waited at the Justice Centre.  We were told the trailer would have to be impounded pending the investigation and told to pack a bag or two to spend a night in a hotel while we waited.  Fran packed up more than clothes as we did not want to leave anything valuable in the trailer, and we didn’t know how long we’d be without the trailer or if we’d have access to it.

While we understood what the police were saying in Spanish, it was suggested we should have a translator to be sure and a man named Oscar (who also is a local attorney and a realtor) arrived with his friend, Brad (an American living in San Felipe) – both of them friendly and super helpful.  By this time we were told there was still no word on the boy’s condition and that his car and our truck AND trailer had to go to the impound lot until matters were settled by the insurance adjuster concerning the boy’s medical bills.  Doug was told he was being detained until such time and that Fran would have to drive the truck and trailer over to the lot because we did not want it to be towed.   It was now around 5pm and it was getting dark; she was not comfortable making that drive in the dark and Brad offered to drive and take her there (he said he’s driven trailers much larger than ours often).

They had a police escort to the lot both in front and in back of us and it was good thing Brad did this huge favour for us as getting through the gate into the impound lot proved challenging with the extra width of the trailer due to the pushed out bumper; it probably took him 6-8 tries to make it into the lot and then required a fair bit of backing up.  Fran and Brad were given a lift back to the Justice Centre and while they were gone, our insurance adjuster, Angel, had arrived and the ball began to roll although not well.  Since we still did not have firm details of the boy’s injuries, the police were going to detainDoug and he would have to spend at least one night in jail!  He told us there would be an attorney at the jail in the morning to represent him and an amount for damages would be determined in order to release the vehicle to us but there was a good chance there would be a hearing on Friday afternoon and it was possible Doug would have to stay in jail until then.  It was also possible the vehicles would be released tomorrow, latest Thursday, so we could get our “house” back and not have to be in a hotel.

Brad took Fran to a restaurant to get us some take out and Oscar continued to help with translation.  We both made statements that he worked with the police to translate into Spanish.  Doug was then read his rights in front of Oscar and Fran, asked to remove any loose articles from his clothing like his belt, his shoe laces and then his personal items, like his phone etc. were given to Fran. Oscar said he’d go by the jail later and bring Doug a warm blanket and check to see what he could have brought to him.  Fran packed a small bag with his toothbrush, his kindle, his meds and a book in the hopes that Oscar could get that to him.

They took Doug away to the jailhouse and Brad and Oscar took Fran to find a hotel and after checking out four, she chose Hotel Hacienda Don Jesus (best price and it looked the nicest).  They help her bring in all our packed stuff to wait till morning to see what will happen.  We got a king sized room, with a table and chairs with a large bathroom.  There was an AC/heater unit and wi-fi for 1100 MXN a night (about $57 US).

The adjuster, Oscar and the police had all told Fran that all would be well and this was just “the Mexican way” as someone had to claim responsibility for the hospital bills and he could not be released until this had been sorted.  Turned out Oscar could only give Doug a blanket, no books or personal items.

It was all so strange because the drama level just kept increasing – a night (s) in jail for an accident that we didn’t feel was completely our fault!?!?!?

Today we passed through 3 checkpoints – one twice and another before turning onto the MX 5.

Doug has written a lengthy explicit story sharing the inhumanity, ineptitude and disfunction of the Mexican handing of a car accident, which we feel is too long for this blog.  Please reach out if you would like to read it – just use the contact us “get in touch” link at the bottom of our home page – thanks.    What follows is a more general telling of this trying time.

On Wednesday morning, Fran (with Oscar’s help) brought him breakfast that morning but was not allowed to give him anything else, not even a toothbrush or even to see him.  Oscar advised that he learned that the other driver is fine and is back at home today.

That afternoon when she brought lunch, once again with Oscar’s assistance, as well as an unopened mini tube of toothpaste with his meds, she was allowed to see him for a few minutes.  The cell was awful but at least it was large (maybe 10×10) and he was not in with several others like the other cells she saw- he only had one cellmate but he was sick.  He was quite livid about how he was being treated: no food, no water, no TP etc.  It was really hard to see.

By this time, we had heard that the insurance company had appointed an attorney and he would come down to San Felipe from Mexicali tomorrow once he knew all the medical bills and the other guy’s vehicle repair estimates were in place and they would reach an agreement to settle with the injured guy and the prosecutor.  Oscar advised that Doug will see the prosecutor tomorrow either way and since the kid is not injured, legally they cannot hold him any longer than 48 hours but they can ask for another 24 hours if they feel there is still a chance we will “skip town”.   As the DA’s office needed copies of our vehicle titles, he gave Fran a “permission slip” to enter the impound lot to get them.

Fran and Oscar tried to go to the trailer after the visit but the impound lot closed at 3 and it was now 3:30; we need to provide the original title documents to the DA with a translation.  We had digital copies so Fran had already forwarded them to Oscar’s translator so once we have the originals, we can provide that.  They will go back in the morning when it opens.

We also heard this morning that the FMM we applied for online will be refunded in full so that was some good news.  We’ll know for sure in ten days.  Later in the afternoon Fran managed to get six more months’ supply of Doug’s meds.

Oscar came by the hotel to pick up Fran around 6:30 that evening; he’d been at a friend’s for dinner and they had left over fish tacos so he brought some for his dinner that night and more blankets along with a thick yoga mat.  Fran was unable to see him.

Oscar did advise that a public defender saw Doug (not the DA) this afternoon and his hearing will be scheduled once the DA receives the medical report on the other driver.  Why he doesn’t have it yet, is a mystery – nothing moves quickly here.

Thursday morning, was a frustrating morning for Fran.  She heard nothing from anyone despite reaching out to the insurance company, the insurance company’s attorney and the adjuster.  She brought Doug some breakfast (but could not see him) and took it over on her own as Oscar messaged her in the early morning saying he was tied up with a client all morning.  The jail is less than a kilometre from her hotel.  At 1:15 Oscar came over to get her to go to the impound lot to pick up the original vehicle titles to show the DA.  She got those and asked Oscar if he could take her over to that welder we had tried to get to on Tuesday and he did and was able to translate for her.  We asked if he would come over to the impound lot (very close by) to have a look at the damage and assess as well as provide an estimate.  He agreed and spent about five minutes assessing the damage and said it was not as bad as it looked as the axles had not been involved but the back third of the frame is pushed over and said there was a couple of ways to go repairing it but that can be discussed when we bring it to him.  We think we’ll need a second estimate but we’ll see.

Oscar then took Fran to the DA’s office to drop off the titles and get an update.  A hearing has been scheduled for tomorrow so that meant another night in jail for Doug but at least now there’s an end in sight to that part of the saga.  Apparently they could have kept him jail until the cheque is written to the other guy but because they figure we can’t go anywhere without the truck and trailer, they will release him after the hearing tomorrow.

Fran has no idea how she could have done this without Oscar – he has not asked for money but she did fill his gas tank today when they were out.  He got involved as a favour to the DA to act as a translator (and does this once in a while but does not get paid by them).  He cannot “represent us” because he was acting at the request of the DA.

Late that afternoon, Fran went out and got Doug some lunch/dinner and dropped it off at the jail – hoping tomorrow’s breakfast would be the last meal she’d have to do that for.  As it happens,  Doug heard her come into the jail and say “hasta manana” to the guard when she left so that’s how he learned he’d be there yet another awful night.

Friday, the hearing day finally came Fran took Doug some food around 10 and then met Oscar at the courthouse at 11:30.  We went to see the DA to show them the certificate of insurance as apparently they were told (by whom Fran could not get clarification on) that our insurance was not valid as we had not paid for it!  WTH?  Anyway we showed the certificate and they will subpoena the company to come to a second hearing next Tuesday to get this sorted.  Seems no one from the insurance will come today as this hearing is about the “legality of his detention” not the responsibility for the damages.

Doug was already there – in chains – with an officer right behind him at the defense table.  He also had a translator present alongside his public defender, Sofia.

The judge came out and the proceedings began – very slow – and stopped a few times for clarification and translation.  Nearly two hours later, he was released on two conditions: he had to turn in his passport within 24 hours and was told not to leave the city; they took down the name and address of our hotel.  A second hearing regarding the insurance and more has been set for Tuesday at one.  He was given a big file with copies of all the documentation from the PD presented at the trial and we went back to the jail to get his personal items (watch & ring) and get the blankets Oscar had lent him which we insisted he get cleaned on our dime.  Upon returning to the hotel, Fran got on the phone with the insurance company who confirmed our policy was paid (otherwise how could we have an adjuster?) and that an attorney was being appointed and to call back in two hours to find out more.

Doug had a nice long, hot shower; we went to get cold drinks including a cooler with ice as we’ll be at this hotel for at least 5 more nights.  We cannot get access to the trailer until this situation is resolved.  We learned in court that the kid does have a couple of broke teeth he needs repaired.  Fran spoke to the hotel about getting a discount on the rate since we’ve already been here 3 nights and it will probably be almost a week more.  They said they’d check.

We went out for fish and shrimp tacos, beer and margaritas for dinner and then called it a night after some TV time.  Doug took a long time to get to sleep and did not sleep soundly – his mind and body took a trauma and it will take a while – also the stress of needing to get the trailer repaired is weighing on us both.  We heard from the hotel that they will give us a 10% discount on the nightly rate and are paid up to Wednesday now.  We are now paying 1000 MXN a night which is $53US.

Weekend was non eventful; Doug went to turn in his passport and get a receipt; we mostly walked, got food and ice and went online – the hotel as very good Wi-Fi.  Doug just needed rest to settle his mind and body after this trauma to both. It was a little cooler over the weekend and mostly cloudy – barely hit 20C / 70F but we’ll take that over snow any day!

We did watch the IIHF Women’s World Cup U18 hockey gold medal match on Sunday which Canada won 10-0 (with one disallowed goal!).

Monday was a bit cooler and we began the day by trying to reach the insurance adjuster (whom in the end we had NEVER been able to reach); Doug called so maybe he wouldn’t recognize the number but by noon, had heard nothing so back to the main insurance number where the helpful lady, Daniella, tries her best to help us but it never seems to advance.  That night she got an attorney on the phone and he explained that he does not have to be at the hearing but that the adjuster is sufficient.  We are neither convinced nor less stressed.

That afternoon we went to the local free clinic to see about getting a few medical things taken care of and are awaiting test results.

Tuesday morning began with Fran speaking once again to an English lady (Adrianna this time) in Mexico City at the insurance company and being told someone would call in 40 minutes to advise who’s been assigned to come to the hearing.  In the meantime she was transferred to the Tijuana office to start the ball rolling on our repairs.  That office said someone would email us in 30 minutes with the name of the person in Mexicali who would handle that part for the claim.

Still waiting an hour later to hear from anyone, she called Adrianna back and she called the attorney (the one we’d spoken with through Daniella last who said he wasn’t need, just the adjustor) and he apparently was in his car enroute to San Felipe for the hearing!

At the hearing, an agreement was discussed but the dental estimate that the other driver provided was insufficient for the insurance company OR it needed to be vetted by them – we are not exactly sure which.  Also as the car was in Mexico illegally, the insurance will only pay for 70% of the value of the damages!  Talks during a ten minute recess where an offer was made did not resolve anything and a third hearing was set for Friday.  The attorney for the insurance company told us that they would not reimburse us if we pay the other side outright (this was quite a shame because this all could have ended right then and there).  We wanted to pay the guy out of our pocket as we are told a cheque from the insurance company could take 15 business days to cut and we cannot get our vehicles until he has his money.

Wednesday we both spent a great deal of time on the phone trying to get answers; Doug reached out to the broker that sold us the policy, Lewis and Lewis, as well as he found someone who lead him in a direction to get the repair claim started but upon Fran speaking to Qualitas in Mexico City again, she was told nothing in that regard can happen in that regard until after an agreement is reached at the next hearing.  Doug did speak to the welder about getting second estimate which he felt he could help with.

On Thursday while Fran went to the bank to get more cash for the hoped for settlement on Friday, Doug heard in the afternoon that due to non-receipt of the kid’s dental estimates OR something, no agreement will be reached on Friday; when they receive those they need 48 hours to review them.   The lawyer from Tuesday’s hearing told us later that day that he was no longer representing us and we had to deal with his supervisor, Jorge Martinez, in Durango.  It just drags on and drags on some more.

That night we went for results of our medical stuff.  They diagnosed Fran with osteoarthritis in her spine and hips and she already knew she had that in her knees and probably her thumbs/wrists.  She was told to begin taking a Vitamin B complex including B12 and take pain meds if necessary which she rarely does.  Tylenol does nothing and she can’t take NSAIDS as they do not do well with her BP meds.

Doug’s bloodwork came back good and he had his ears cleaned out.  Unfortunately, the doctor punctured the membrane doing it and he’s on antibiotics now.  He was also given some exercises for his left shoulder issue.

Friday finally came and we attended the 1pm hearing knowing nothing would probably happen and advised Oscar he need not attend – even a insurance company lawyer was not coming.  He did say he was busy from 12-1 but could come if we needed him if something did happen.  He’d been in touch with the DA and apparently he wasn’t aware of the 48 hour review period so probably another reason nothing will be resolved today.

That was pretty much what happened too.  Other than the changing of the mind of the other driving in that he will no longer accept the amount offered last Tuesday, as it was a “one time in the moment offer”.  No one from the insurance company showed up and they said another hearing would be held on Wednesday.  We went out for burgers on the malecon tonight for dinner.

It’s definitely been cooler these past few days but we can’t complain too much; highs of 16-18C / 60-65F and sunny most of the time; locals are wearing winter coats and commenting on the cool weather.  Fran’s still in flip flops and capris so we’re good!

We learned today that the fees for the unreceived FMM visas have been completely refunded.

A second quiet weekend at our hotel but today they brought us a fridge so no more trips for ice and maybe we can keep a few more things now.  We plan to make another trip to the trailer on Monday so maybe we can get some other items to enable us to eat healthier with fewer PB sandwiches!

we see pelicans checking out the fishing boats

Monday we made a trip to the trailer in the morning and Doug got second estimate as well as speaking to the first welder once again.  That afternoon Fran called the insurance company AGAIN and was told someone would call her back.  They, of course, never did but Doug got a call from the supervising attorney, Jorge Martinez FINALLY and they discussed many things through a translator (we’re not sure what prompted that call as it was out of the blue – maybe that was the “call back”).  Senor Martinez claimed they are stilling vetting the dental bills – again WTH?

Tuesday, Doug wanted to take a third welder over to the trailer to get another estimate but the DA would not give permission.  He went to the PD and found out that there is no hearing tomorrow and will not be one until a deal is reached!  WTH?  So while he was still there, the PD called the insurance company lawyer and they said they are still awaiting approval from the claims department on what of the dental bill will be covered and need vehicle documents from us to get them out of impound.  We have no idea why they don’t have these documents as everything was in the police file but Doug returned to the hotel and sent the required documents and will call back tomorrow to see if we can proceed.

Wednesday started slowly, legal wise, then in the afternoon, Doug got an email from the Qualitas lawyer saying they sorted the dental numbers and they are prepared to pay the full amount of that estimate and then quoted an amount for the damages which was not the 70% that was mentioned at the second hearing but more than 60% so we questioned that and they claim to have NO paperwork with numbers – WTH?  Again this was ALL in the police file.  So we have sent a copy of the estimates page to him and someone is supposed to call us tomorrow.

Today we received the THIRD change to our flights in May from American Airlines.  So Fran got on the phone once again and this time, got us a flight with only one stopover and shorter all around so hopefully, that is the last change but there’s still time for them to screw us over …..

Thursday, discussions continued and we had to send the complete police estimate report over to Jorge (not just the page with the numbers – again why didn’t he have these?).  They finally agreed to the full dental estimate and the correct 70% of the damages number and they could wire us the reimbursement directly as we plan to no longer in Mexico once this is sorted and our trailer is fixed to receive a cheque.  We have completed the wire information and sent it on. Doug went over to the PD’s office and asked him to make an offer to the other driver of just slightly over those two amounts.  We heard later in the afternoon that he accepted (it was just about the same offer he’d made in court at the second hearing).  The PD prepared the “request for a hearing” and Doug took it over only to be told, he’d have to return in the morning to do it!

Getting hold of this Jorge fellow, is a nearly a futile endeavour; he never answers his phone or his WhatsApp – his voice mail does not work and we don’t believe he checks his emails.  It just makes this frustrating journey so much worse.  Also since he needs a translator, another person has to be involved.

During all this the sun continues to shine, the temperatures are warmish, just need a light jacket at times, and it’s not raining or snowing.  The hotel continues to keep us connected to the world, gives us great hot showers and is in a convenient location.  Today the wind was especially strong for some reason and dust and sand were blowing everywhere but this was an exception.  Doug’s runs are getting better once again.

So a third Friday morning dawned on us here in San Felipe – we never expected to be here this long ……

The day began with Doug heading over to the courthouse with the request for a hearing – no results.  Fran dropped off the laundry, paid for four more nights at the hotel and we went about our day learning nothing new; even getting Oscar involved but no luck.

After over indulging with burgers, beer and margaritas at a local bar we spent a relatively quiet weekend just going about our usual daily routines.   Saturday, Doug found an upholsterer and was able to have him order the foam we’ve been looking for to replace the existing foam in our dinette that is getting quite flat.   Should be here midweek.   Sunday he had great run and feels so much better with his times.   Fran has been doing yoga for her osteoporosis and this past week her back was actually hurting quite a bit but it’s slowly getting used to the adjusted poses and she hopes it’s going to help.   It was so weird that she never had any pain other than the one spot periodically and now she’s so aware of it and every twinge.  She is working on her posture and more aware of seated positions and maybe that’s all working different weak muscles.

Before lunch on Sunday, Fran did her daily walk by going over to pay the foam guy, Alberto,  and he’d told her to ring the bell when she arrived as he was closed but would be there.

As she approached the building she saw two doors; couldn’t see a door bell at the door that faced that street so she began to walk towards the toward facing his car in the driveway – suddenly, out of nowhere a dog sprang at her without a sound and bit her right calf pushing her over and then he tried to bite her face but she rolled away and he bit her lower left butt and then tried to bite her left knee on the outside.  It was terrifying and she was screaming.  Alberto came out.  The dog was on a long leash and she was about 3 metres from the door that she was looking at and it never barked the entire time.   It was a black medium sized dog with a wide girth and it was quite strong.

She got up and Alberto began apologizing and she raised her jean pant leg to see a hole and a longish horizontal cut bleeding profusely.  She had to ask Alberta to get her something to clean and press against it and meanwhile texted Doug.  She could feel blood on the top of her left leg where it reached her butt and a lot of pain on the side of her left knee but little blood.  Alberto brought some TP and Fran thought she needed the hospital as the cut on her calf looked deep.  She asked if he could either call an ambulance or a cab and then offered to take her to the hospital.

The hospital is right next to the clinic we visited recently so not far from our hotel.  They took her immediately and she lay on a gurney.  She had to remove her jeans and then saw all three places were bleeding and there was another cut on the side of her foot and blood running down her calf into her sandals.

She lay on the gurney and they gave her a shot for the pain when she said it was an 8 out of 10 and then began cleaning her up. They got the bleeding to stop and luckily the female doctor spoke English and after they cleaned it up she was told it was better to wait to see if she would need stitches for a few days as it could get infected.  The Doctor spoke to the owner who took fully responsibility and said it was fully vaccinated.  While a gentle nurse cleaned up the wounds, Fran could hear the staff laughing and talking about dogs and dog bites.  One doctor even made jokes with her!  Very insensitive!  Doug arrived and they only let him in after Fran was cleaned up and we could both still hear those making jokes.  He told the doctor he wanted to make a police report and she said yes.

Since Fran’s jeans were the skinny leg type the asked if they could cut them to get them on her and she said no so Doug went to get her a pair of shorts from our hotel.  The wounds included a set of bite marks on her left knee, not very deep; three scratch also not very deep on her left butt cheek and on her shin there was a deepish hole from a tooth, a nearly 3″ gash, another small hole and two 3″ gashes at the knee. These were the worst.   The hospital gave Fran meds including antibiotics and pain pills as well as the report to give the police.  However, after the ordeal we’ve already been through with the police, she didn’t want to take it there but this gave us something to sure further insurance or another hospital, what had happened if necessary down the road.

She has to return daily to get the wounds cleaned and by Wednesday they will decided if she needs stitches; they want to wound to begin to heal and see how that goes.

She was pretty shook up and keeps seeing the attacking dog approaching her face.  The pain subsided by bedtime with the help of some paracetamol and by morning there was only stiffness and no pain.  She took a walk in the morning and then went to the hospital in the early afternoon.  Today they cleaned all three wound areas and said two (the left knee and butt cheek were only superficial and healed enough to no longer require bandages.

The third still needs a few days and they are still uncertain about stitches. Fran walked over to the courthouse today was told still no hearing date.

Monday and Tuesday just passed with no news; the only difference was we had a good deal of rain on Tuesday! It cooled off quite a bit but as the week continued it began to warm up once again.

Wednesday, Doug went to the PD in the morning; no progress.  Fran went for her wound cleaning and the doctor determined no stitches required but she still has to get it cleaned daily.  Then Doug tried the courthouse once again and the clerk went inside for a few minutes (he thinks she may have gone to see the Judge as there was a hearing going on) and she came back with Friday morning at 9 am.  We reached out to Señor Martinez, the Qualitas attorney, with the usual, no reply and a full voice mail box, so Fran called the translator and he said he’d call his boss.  Then Doug got a reply to his email with just “okay” – WTH?  Doug replied again and said let’s meet at 8:30 before the hearing and we’ll bring the required cash.

Thursday was quite an up and down day; first thing in the morning, Fran called the Señor Gomez, the Qualitas attorney’s translator, and he advised he’d just been told that he will be representing us on Friday and will drive down for the hearing from Mexicali.  Later in the morning, Doug went to see the PD and he advised that the hearing was not in fact on the calendar and actually showed it to him; he was told to come back at 2. Fran heard from Oscar a bit later by phone confirming that the hearing was NOT on the calendar and he was pushing to get it up on at 9 as Doug had been told (so nice to have someone who knows everyone including the court clerk and DA).  The court clerk claimed that she told Doug “maybe” on Friday but Doug is positive that is not what she said.   She thought maybe in the afternoon but Oscar told her the impound lot closes at 3 and we’d prefer the hearing in the morning.  Around 1:30 he called back and it’s all good.  Around 5:45, Doug got a call from the PD’s office asking if we’d received the notice of hearing via email – we hadn’t but upon checking his SPAM folder, Doug found it.  We forwarded it on to Señor Gomez and Oscar.

So there are many things that could still go wrong but we do see the glimmer of light at the end of this long tunnel.

One bright spot we are proud of that happened during all this, is that we both reached 1100 days practicing Spanish with our app:  Duolingo!

So the momentous day arrived and we got to the courthouse about 30 minutes before the hearing; Jorge Gomez showed up shortly after and Oscar arrived just as we were entering.  We handed over our ID as usual before entering the courtroom and the hearing started at 9:22 – everyone announced themselves to the judge as usual and then the DA set out the proposed agreement, questions were asked and answered and Doug handed over the money.  After the victim and the DA counted it, the Judge said a few more things and it was considered settled.  A document will be drawn up and we will be given a copy of the audio recording if we want.

We were told they would be ready in five minutes and Doug could get his passport.  After receiving his passport, we waited about ten  minutes with Oscar and Jorge before being told that the DA needs to sign the agreement and he is on his way from Mexicali so to come back at two; the agreement will be signed and we will be allowed to get our vehicles after that.

So we returned to the hotel to wait.  Doug went over to check out Mario’s place – the welder he’d arranged to do the repairs – only to learn that that shop was his father-in-law’s and he’d being doing the work at his place.  Mario took him over there and it actually seemed safer (away from the main part of town) and the lot is level so the plan would be to stay there starting tomorrow IF we get the truck today.  Mario will give us power as well.  We both have data left on our TelCel plans so we’re good in that regard.

We met with Oscar at the DA’s office at 2 and got the permission to release the vehicle and next door at the court house office, Fran got the signed copy of the settlement.  Oscar and his girlfriend, Nubia, took us to the impound lot.  Enroute Doug called to find out how much we owed:  12,500 MXN which is $666 US !!!! Ridiculous!  Oscar called the owner only to be told it was 95 MXN a day per vehicle plus a towing charge!  What?  Our vehicles were not towed as Fran and Oscar’s friend, Brad, drove them there – but the tow truck and its driver were waiting the entire time so he’s going to charge us.  He reduced the price to 10,000 MXN ($532US) but would not relent.  We had to stop at a bank machine and went to the impound lot only to discover this permission from the DA was not the ONLY thing we needed but a release from the National Guard! So off Doug went to Oscar to get that (the HQ is very close by) only to be told it was too late in the day and to come back tomorrow.  So as one door opened today, another closed.

Next morning, we decided to be proactive and gathered together PDF’s of every document the police could possibly want and Doug took them over to the copy place to print.  He walked the two miles to the police headquarters and after 55 minutes of useless paper shuffling, he got the paper he needed.  It was a short jaunt over to the impound lot and there he paid the outrageous fee and drove the vehicles out after pleading not to pay the additional 300 MXN they wanted for yet another day in the lot.  How another day at 95 per vehicle adds up to 300 not 190, is beyond us.

In the meantime we noticed on our policy that we get up to $300 for towing so we called Qualitás again to see about this.

After significant maneuvering, Doug gets the trailer parked at Mario’s (the welder) disconnects and goes to get propane as our fridge had died due to lack of gas and picked up the foam we ordered.  Afterwards he drove over to the hotel  where we’ll spend one last night (25 in total!).  We plan to sleep in the trailer at the repair lot tomorrow night.  Doug has given Mario some cash to go purchase the supplies he needs to get started tomorrow.

Fran went to the hospital for her daily cleaning the worst wounds are coming along nicely; hopefully, that all ends around the same time as the trailer is done.  NOTE:  Everything we’ve had done at both the clinic and the hospital has been free of charge!