Thursday, November 19, 2009


I did a double take yesterday waiting for the bus. A young lady was getting onto the bus in front of me. She had on a teeshirt with an inscription in English on the front. Over her left breast was a large circle. Inside the circle, it read, "Rub this on your butt." I bet she had no idea what it meant. Something like that would never be worn in the U.S. except by someone VERY drunk. Here, though, if it's in English, it has to be cool, right? I was shocked. And I don't shock easily.

I had another example of how small things make you happy in Mexico. For my new apartment, I needed an electrical extension cord to connect the microwave to the outlet a distance away (the microwave sits on top of the fridg). Originally, I bought a power strip, but the microwave pulls a lot of current and kept kicking off the power strip. So I thought I'd get a 3-prong grounded cord. Hah! Silly me. The first electrical store I went to said that these aren't even made in Mexico. The second said wanted to sell me a plug adapter (3-prong to 2-prong). "No, I want a grounded plug." The third store tried to sell me another power strip. The fourth store had the 3-prong cords, but only in 8 meters length. At that store I learned that I needed to be asking for a "uso rudo" type (heavy duty). And they're not called "cords" (cuerdas), but rather "extensiones electricas." I went to a total of EIGHT stores looking for a short, 3-pronged extension cord. I finally found one, a 4-meter cord, at at Tubos & Connexiones, which is another branch of the same store 2 blocks from my house. I was THRILLED. It's like finding a needle in a Mexican haystack.
The Trashman Cometh:

I was a bit worried about how to get rid of my regular trash. The city garbage truck comes to my nearest intersection around 11:30 a.m.-noon. You have to go stand out and wait or listen very carefully for the truck's bell.....and go running out like made, trash bags in hand. This isn't really the most convenient system. In other neighborhoods, you can simply leave your bagged trash on the street corner, and the garbage truck picks it up in the middle of the night. But in our neighborhood, no. I was bummed out. However, there is another way. In Mexico, there's always another way.
The city street sweeper guy comes down my block around 6:30 p.m. every evening. He knows to ring my apartment buzzer to announce his presence. I come down with my bagged trash. He's waiting in front. I give him a tip. He has a nice little "side business" going on top of his city job. He's happy. I'm happy.

Another positive experience: I went to set up a new account with the local cable company for Internet and cable TV serviced. I didn't know to take a form of ID with me (my passport). The customer service lady there said, "no problem, I'll come pick it up from you at your house tomorrow." And she did the next morning. On time, too.