A quick story about getting my plates last week.
The first thing you should know when you buy a car is to get it registered in Pedasi. That way when you renew your plates every year you can do it in town versus having to go to wherever you bought it to get it done.
I had not done this before as a friend did it for me last year but this year I wanted to try it myself. It turns out the place to do it is right in town on the main street across from the bakery, at the wicket where we renew our garbage permits every year.
Firstly in order to get your new plates you do have to go to Las Tablas to get your vehicle registered and have pictures taken of it every year.
So as I was walking up to the wicket with a file folder full of paper work in no particular order from the day I bought the car, I tripped and the papers went flying everywhere.
It was windy and I was running around doing the 'one foot hop' trying to gather each and every page.
Once I got them all together again I went through them all trying to find the relevant paperwork as I had many that weren't, so in my haste I ripped up a few thinking they were old and threw them in the big garbage can close to the wicket.
I proceeded to the window with the paperwork to get my new license, gave it to the really nice girl behind the counter, and she said it was last year's papers so I then realized that the ones I needed were in the garbage can all torn up in small pieces.
So there I go head first into the garbage bin, which was thankfully empty, but of course the papers were at the very bottom and I was half in it trying to retrieve each and every piece.
I then took them back to the wicket with a smile on my face knowing that I hat at least retrieved them, gave them to the woman and she then tells me that 'no, no, I can't accept torn papers'.
She must have seen the blood drain from my face, lol, and at this point she came out of the booth around to the front, kind of smiled, grabbed the whole file from me, took it back to her desk and proceeded to tape up the ripped paper for me, double punched all of the stuff that I had in the folder, sorted them out in order of date, and put them back in a neat fashion in the folder for me.
She also taped the insurance package on the opposite side of the folder as well so it was clearly visible when I needed it again.
At this point I was 'good to go' as I should have been when I first walked up to the wicket which was now about twenty minutes later.
She then does four forms with carbon paper all by hand and when she was finished she also put them back in the folder for me and handed me the plates and said in her broken English, "your documents are in better shape now".
The whole episode cost $37 and I gave her a $5 tip for lunch which she was very reluctant to take.
I went home license plates in hand with a smile on my face and later on that evening Connie and I enjoyed one of the best steak dinners we have had since arriving here in Panama over two years ago, steaks that were purchased from Super Carne in Las Tablas.
Just another story that I wanted to share about how nice and helpful the Panamanian people are.