When in the olden days, if was getting paid off a ship to go on two months vacation, I always I checked all my ID’s needed to get back into the United States, when vacation is over. I check the dates on my Z-Card (Merchant Marine Document), My Sea Book that lists the type and class of every ship I’ve sailed on. My passport in those days I only needed a visa to enter North Korea, or Cuba and a few countries that were not on the list of “Fun Places to Visit” So why go anyway.
All my paperworks was in order, but I did note that my Florida Drivers license was within a couple of months of expiring. My Licencia de Comducir from Puerto Rico had expired the year before. So I called Florida to see what could be done to renew the Florida one. It’s quite simple Paul, just fly to Florida from Dubai in the UAE and take the eye exam. That could not happen because of time and money constraints. After vacation my next stop was San Francisco to pick up a new ship. Now what no seaman wants is have any piece of official paper that could connect you to California (Unless you just wanted to pay their income tax) and you only reside there two months a year.
I’ll worry about it later… In the Philippines my friends advise me get a license there. So I ziggy to the LTO, pay a few Peso’s show the soon to expire Florida License then ditty na back to OG’s bar for lunch and a cold beverage. The license is sent to Mega Manila for the attachment of the photo to the hard copy a couple of weeks it takes to get it back. But the official receipt (*) is fine until that happens. I flew back to SFO carrying the official receipt sweating bullets wondering how I’ll be able to rent a car at the airport and drive to the contract hotel. To hell with it, over to Avis, ask for a car from the pretty Filipina employee there and without giving it a second glance hands me the keys to a car. The receipt has power in San Francisco. Four years later I received my hardcopy and it soon expired, but this time I renewed it at the LTO in Manila and was on my way in five hours. Since July of last year I’m still using another receipt to drive and waiting for my hard copy! OH My, Déjà POO (That odd feeling the same shit is happening once more.) Last July it happened again, I’m still waiting for my hard copy from Manila, but as you can guess, I do have the proper receipt.
A month ago I told you about waiting 4 years for my I-Card that sat in a drawer at the Immigration Office in Olongapo, and now they going to Manila for my new one this month. If the Gods are aligned while you read this on Monday I should have my new I-card, or at the very least a new receipt. Yes because of medical reasons and for a slight pile of Pesos this service can be arranged. (Yes a receipt is included!)
BooBoy our friend from the LTO tag section has received my stickers for my renewed tag, After 1.5 months using a receipt (Not shabby at all, and which I feel is quite quick.) But believe me I’m not complaining because this would never work in a western country, the police would be stopping you two to three times a day making you dance and jump through hoops where in a sensible place the receipt would cover you until the situation improves. BooBoy even sent a minion to affix the new sticker to my windshield (Or windscreen if trying to keep flies out of your car.)
When I receive a receipt here in the Philippines, I realize I now have a thing that has value and worth. Not some scrap of paper someone hands you that just takes up space in your pocket for no reason. There is a large cabinet in one room of our house and within it, if I need to know what brand of rice cooker we owned in 1996 I promise you Mrs. Thompson will have the receipt and guarantee for everything we’ve ever owned. I can’t explain the why of it, but I can open that cabinet and prove it! I hope you never have to encounter the “Replacing the Lost Receipt” section of the Philippines, while living here. My advice would be to go back to the beginning and lie about ever being there and just start fresh and smile if late fees are involved.
(*) The Philippine Driver’s License Receipt or DLR represents payment for a Driver’s License. It serves as a Temporary License of the applicant for ninety (90) days from the date of issuance sometimes up to 4.5 years while the Card-Type license is being processed or lost during printing at the LTO Central Office provided the applicant passed both the Written Examination and Actual Driving Test. The DLR must be signed by the driver and must be presented in claiming the Card-Type Driver’s License from the District Office where the applicant applied..