Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fun with Riteve

And now I'm going to try to go an entire post without swearing! Or using obscene/offensive language of any sort! Which is difficult, considering my two-year-old car didn't pass Riteve yesterday.

Riteve, for those who don't know, is the car inspection you have to do every year. Sometimes you'll see it shortened to RTV. Mine is like 8 months overdue, but esposo claims that they don't really care as long as you 1) do it within a year's time and 2) do it before your marchamo (that's the circulation rights thingy, like registration in the States) expires. The marchamo on my car expires around Christmas (I know, lucky, lucky me!), so we have a while before I have to really worry about it.

I wanted to get the darn Riteve taken care of, though, but turns out my car's rear disc brakes are poop (see? no swearing!) and caused my poor little car to fail the test. Here's what to expect if you've never gone to Riteve:

1. Make an appointment. I use their website. You can't just show up and expect to get your car inspected, but you can pretty much get an appointment within a few days, unlike, say, trying to get your cedula renewed at immigration (though you could do that at BCR, if you could manage to actually get through on their phone lines -- which is another, curse-filled post entirely).
2. Show up 15 minutes before your appointed time. Bring your registration, title, marchamo, last year's Riteve, all that stuff. There will be a line of people (probably) waiting to check in; go wait in that line. And then check in. ;-) You have to pay almost 10,000 here (you didn't think this would be free, did you?).
3. You then bring your car around to the back and get in line. If you're lucky, there will only be one or two cars ahead of you. If you're really, really lucky, you'll be the only one in line. That doesn't usually happen, though.
4. One of the inspectors will come out and you hand him the paper they gave you when you checked in. Then just sort of follow the lead of the car in front of you. Hopefully you speak Spanish or bring a Spanish-speaking person with you. Because I don't know about you, but my Spanish is pretty good, and I still don't understand when someone in a loud garage is telling me to put the car in neutral, pop the hood, slowly press on the brakes, etc.
5. They will sometimes check to see if you have a jack and triangles, but they didn't check that when we went. They will check that all your lights and directionals work, brights, winshield wipers, windows go up and down, window tinting is factory installed (if it isn't, you're gonna have to take it off, and believe me, we've gone through that before! this time the guy really picked at each window to make sure it was factory tinting, which is allowed), the seats go forward and back, the horn works, the seatbelts work, etc.
6. Then they test your exhaust and the steering, and the shocks.
7. I think at the next station they test your brakes, front, rear and handbrake. I knew we were screwed when the rear brakes only showed 38%. (Ooh, is "screwed" a swear word? Or offensive? ;-p Dang, I tried!)
8. Then you drive over an open pit, where they check something else, and shout at you from a speaker. I could not understand a word the guy said, but luckily esposo could figure it out. (Did he say Grand Central Station or your aunt's constipation?)
9. Then you wait at the end, and someone will either give you a sticker, or tell you to go to such-and-such window to get your results, or something. It sometimes gets a little disorganized at the end of the line.
10. Hopefully your car will pass and you'll get your new sticker which is good for a year -- hooray! Or, you will get a piece of paper that includes the ominous word "grave" and what's messed up on your car that you have to fix in order to pass -- boo!
11. If you don't pass, you have 30 days to fix whatever needs fixing and bring the car back for a 5,000 colones recheck. If you wait more than 30 days (me! me! me!), you'll have to go through the whole inspection again and pay almost 10,000. Which is what I'll be doing sometime in early December. Hooray for me! I still love my car, though.

Infected, addicted... you know where this is going!

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to Bad Religion's Stranger Than Fiction, and the track "Infected" came on. The chorus goes like this:

You and me / have a disease
You affect me / you infect me
I'm afflicted / you're addicted
You and me / you and me...

After my son's confusion of "addicted" and "dickhead," of course that's all I could hear while listening to the song. And, since the song kinda sorta reminds me of two different assholes, "dickhead" worked great in this instance! "I'm afflicted, you're a dickhead..."

For your listening/viewing pleasure:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mouth, meet babe.

I bought esposo Monopoly for his iPod a few weeks back, and ever since he can't stop playing it. I told our son the other day, Geez, your dad is really addicted to Monopoly, isn't he?
He said, Yeah, Daddy's a dickhead!

I couldn't stop laughing. And then I did, in fact, explain the difference between being "addicted" and "a dickhead."

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

New transit laws take effect September 23, 2009

I've written a little about the new transit laws due to take effect soon, but my friend Amy has written an in-depth examination of the laws in her new e-book, Shorty's Guide to the New Ley de Transito. It's an inexpensive investment ($9.95), and if you drive here (cars, motorcycles, even bicycles), it's worth making yourself knowledgable on the subject. (Plus, it turns out I wasn't completely correct on some of the laws. Oops. Blame it on La Nacion.)

Here is just a sampling of the things you need to know:

On September 23, 2009, there will come into effect a sweeping legislation intended to transform Costa Rica's roadways from the hazardous - free for -all that has developed in recent decades, into a network occupied by safe, conscientious and prepared drivers.

Shorty's Guide To The 2000 Ley de Tránsito is a complete guide for the English speaking driver to know the rules and be prepared for the changes, that include:
» Computerization of Licenses, where points are deducted for infractions
» Dramatic increase in the amount of fines
» Safety seats for all minors under 12 years of age
» Harsh penalties and jail time for driving under the influence
» Immediate loss of license for multiple offences
» New devices requirements, like hands free cell phone adaptor, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, GPS transponder, etc.
» Sanctions for left lane slow pokes and no passing on right, even on multiple lane highways
» Foreigners and their drivers license
» Pedestrians will be required to cross at a corner or crosswalk
Now, all these new laws are fine and good, but what is the MOPT going to do about things like this? Can we fine them?

Yes, that's a telephone pole in the middle of the right-hand lane. Could they have possibly moved the pole before repaving the street? Nah, that would mean two government agencies actually having to coordinate with each other! This pole has been here, in the middle of the street, for over a month now. Let's see how long it takes to get the pole moved, or if the barriers just keep being shifted around. I'm betting on the second.