This season on the Amazing Race, teams race around the island of Nevis competing in challenges to correctly purchase a car....
One of my favourite shows is the Amazing Race. This past weekend I actually felt like I was on the show. Kyle and I bought a car...yay! Once we made the sale from another med student, there was a lot of paper work that had to be done to correctly transfer ownership and get insurance on the car.
So for anyone traveling to this lovely island and want to purchase a car listen up!!
Once the deal was made over the phone, the next day Kyle and I were up early and made our way downtown by 9:00 am. We had to get the money to pay the guy for the car. Well, first of all the bank wouldn't do a cash advance on our Visa, even though we had talked to someone on the phone from Scotia and they said it would work. The bank wouldn't even really talk to us unless we had an account. So we drove to the ATM machine that spits out US, but of course we couldn't get the amount we needed, probably because the machine has a limit, even though at the bank, the teller said they don't. So then Kyle said he needs to connect to WiFi so we can pay the guy using Paypal. We were trying to avoid this because it charges us a large fee. Anyway, back to town we went to find WiFi. Kyle manages to get a sketchy connection and on our way to pay, he told me he was about to break his number one rule of banking; never do online banking on an public Wifi connection. Well he definitely ate those words because he got locked out of his Paypal account due to suspicious activity. Bah!!
So we drove all the way back home, the drive to and from town takes a good 30 minutes each way. After some frustrations, phone calls and some Googling, we figure out how to pay the guy, and make the transfer. He sends us paperwork which we were told that the seller and the new buyer of the vehicle have to go to a police station together and sign the documents in front of an officer. So off we went, back to town. The police station we went to was close to the seller's house. He gave us the documents and the police officer didn't say one word to us! It was so weird! We filled out the paper work to transfer the ownership, and then the police officer took the paper and signed it without a word. Luckily the seller had an idea of what to do next. We had to take this document to the police station down town to the traffic department. (Our next clue). Luckily I knew where the police station was. Parking is just an issue when going downtown, and of course it started to rain!
Anyway we found the police station, and we went to this one spot called the Magistrate Court, we walk in this room and Kyle says we are transferring the ownership of a vehicle, we had the document signed in front of a police officer and were told to come here. The guy looks at us like we just spoke a different language. He took a couple minutes to respond and then says you need the next building with the traffic department. Well of course nothing is labelled around here, so quickly we run outside and go next door to avoid the rain. There are about 4 officers sitting at computers, and the guy says oh just have a seat the traffic officer will be here in a minute. #islandtime and 15 minutes later we get called up to see the traffic officer. We show him our paper, and he looks at us and has the most confused face on. Then he passes it to another guy who takes the longest photocopy ever and then eventually stamps it. He then gives us our next clue: Go to the Inland Revenue Department. We ask him where it's located and he says its across from the main square downtown. I had an idea of the whereabouts so I told Kyle we can just walk there. It's raining more now, and I'm only in flip flops, and trying not to get our documents wet and fall on my face. Note to self: When competing in the amazing race, wear running shoes!
The reason why we were rushing a bit was because it was a Friday afternoon, and we had no clue when all of these places close.
We made it to the department, and we happen to run into our other friends who also just bought a car and were doing the same process as us. I had a party in my head when I saw them, because that was the moment I truly felt like we were in this race. It took awhile for it to be our turn, and while we were waiting I see a sign on the wall that said what you needed to have in order to transfer ownership of a vehicle. Insurance was one of those things, which we did not have. I said to Kyle, I think we are at the wrong place, but our clue told us to come here, so I was confused. Our friends ahead of us, had all there documents, and they had paid then left. It was our turn next, so we just decided to wait. There was another women waiting going through the same process, and she could tell we were confused but she assured us we were in the right spot. So we speak to the lady behind the counter, and after some fiddling on a computer she prints out a form with an amount and says we need to take this form to the insurance company and then come back here and pay the amount. Our next clue! (Although I didn't understand why we couldn't have just paid the amount right away).
Okay, off to the insurance company, luckily it was pretty much across the street. So through the rain we hustled over to the building. I was nervous it was going to be closed because it was already after 1pm. But it was open! We show our documents to the lady and she starts clicking away on her computer. After about 15 minutes she asks us when the previous owner is leaving the island, we said within a week, and she says he needs to cancel the current insurance package. Ummmmm.
So she phones him up and he basically gives permission over the phone, but no, he has to actually come down the office and sign some paperwork. The seller was really nice, and he came to the office. He lives pretty close so it wasn't to bad. I just wish we had known that before hand. Oh well, live and learn!
So he signs the papers, then leaves, and something is not working with this girls computer so we get passed off to another women to make the payment. Well they don't have a debit machine, so they have to call the St.Kitts office and then they have to fax over the receipt! You guys keeping up??!?!!
I asked them what time the Revenue Department closes at and she said 3pm. By this point it was 2:15, and I was starting to get nervous. The server in St.Kitts must have gone down, because the fax wasn't coming through, and the guy calls the office to ask if we were paying in EC or US. The amount was in EC and he almost charged us in US which would have been awful. So we are waiting...I'm checking my watch, tick tock tick tock. The nice lady apologizes, and offers a free calendar. I love free stuff! Tick tock. The printer starts going! Yay! We get our receipt and we are all set. So it's just about 2:30 and I'm praying this Revenue Department didn't decide to close early. We race back over, and the lady seemed surprised to see us. Umm of course we were coming back! We pay the fee, and then it's off to the pit stop! PICK UP OUR CAR!
We get the car from the seller, and make our way back home. What a day!!
I mean at least we know how this whole process works, so when it comes time to sell the car, it should be pretty easy. On the way back home, I was remembering what it's like to stand in the long line ups at the DMV back home. How annoyed you get, your patience runs out, it gets hot and sweaty. Babies crying. Well I actually missed that. Although this experience allowed me the chance to be outside, I think I would have preferred the DMV. It's one line, and you can get everything done at once.
Well here is the pic of our new beast. She isn't much to look at, but it drives just fine, and we got a great deal for her!
Thanks for reading, sorry for the long post. This week coming up will be busy, Kyle's parents are coming for a visit and will be here on Thursday :) Kyle has his finals this week on Wednesday and Thursday. Wish him luck!
Miss you all!