Saludos Desde Mexico


#1

I thought we’d send some semi-regular updates as to how we’re adjusting to life in Mexico (where the peppers grow and the women are so gay. Ole!) Two weeks in and we’re starting to make a dent in the boxes. The kitchen and dining room are done, and our office is, mostly. The master bedroom is still a mess, with boxes of clothes everywhere, and we still haven’t assembled the bed. Ruth forgot the screws, so I have to see if I can find them here and find someone to help me put it together. We also haven’t unpacked either of the televisions, but that’s OK since our internet service is far better than I expected, and we’ve just been streaming everything on our computers. We went to a potluck on Sunday and met about a dozen couples, all snowbirds, who come down for 5 or 6 months a year. I’m sure we’ll see them around and maybe we’ll remember their names. In the mean time we’re adjusting to the difference in cultures.

What we’ve learned so far:

Just because there’s no stop (Alto) sign on the corner, that doesn’t mean there isn’t supposed to be one. On the other hand, most drivers just treat them as a suggestion anyway.

When the sanitation department tells you pickup is early Friday morning, every week, expect them some time Monday afternoon. Or so.

When ordering a Hawaiian pizza, there’s a good chance it will come with maraschino cherries.

When ordering tuna salad (salad atun) there’s a good chance it will contain peas and red peppers.

Temperature can drop 20-25 degrees at night.

It’s the metric system, dummy.

Americans really are spoiled rotten when it comes to choices in the supermarket. Here there are two, maybe three, brands of any given item, and no wide variety. You can find any kind of salad dressing you like as long as it’s ranch, and any kind of mustard as long as it’s yellow. Sugar-free or fat-free products are few and far between. The frozen foods selection is miniscule, and there are no frozen meals. I still haven’t found peanut butter, but Nutella is everywhere. On the other hand, we’re getting the most by shopping old school, buying meat, produce, and seafood from individual vendors around town. Seems like everyone has someone in the family who fishes, and fish markets are like Starbucks around here. Every corner seems to have someone with a little pop-up and half a dozen coolers selling whatever their cousin or sister caught that day. We had some excellent fresh shrimp last night and trigger fish the night before.

I’m hoping we have time to get out to Barb’s Dog Rescue this weekend because I want to volunteer, but I have a feeling it’s going to be another week or 2 before we have the time.


#2

That actually sounds tasty. Glad you’re doing well.


#3

Yeah, it was actually pretty good.


#4

This sounds like a blast! I look forward to more updates.


#5

Lo siento. I forgot to post a link.


#6

Next time a Q2T meetup is held at JJ’s. the cervezas are on me.
http://www.jjscantina.com/


#7

So how good is your Spanish? I can understand more than I speak from working with many hispanic (is that a bad word to use? Should it be latino?) individuals. I’m told I speak with a Castilian accent. That’s because my high school Spanish teacher, Ms. Sais was from there.


#8

High school Spanish and Google Translate get me by. Tourism being the No. 1 industry now, combined with all the expats, means English is spoken in most places.

My feeling is when in Rome…more than once we’ve walked into a store or restaurant where I’ve tried conversing in Spanish, only to get a response in English.


#9

Once, in a restaurant in Moscow, a waitress fed up with my iffy college Russian asked me to proceed in German. “That’s not going to go any better,” I thought, but could not say.

I’m enjoying your stories. My father-in-law grew up in Mexico, so it’s a place of interest to me.


#10

The first time my ex and I went to Cancun we decided to take a cab to an out of the way restaurant. We get in the cab and I tell him in broken Spanish that we want to got to a place that isn’t a tourist place.

He turns around and he says, “Hey guys, where are you from?”

Turns out that the guy was from Brooklyn. He came to Cancun and decided to stay there. Our cab driver was from my area in NYC.


#11

Growing up in NY, we all took Spanish. We figured Puerto Ricans speak it, how hard can it be?
(I keed,I keed).


#12

That was my experience in Florence, Italy. I had a few prepared lines in Italian to speak, and most would answer in English.


#13

I must have missed it in a different thread, where in Mexico are you staying? I assume from the context that you’re doing the expat thing for retirement?

Wife is from Tampico so we visit every so often.


#14

As someone of northern European descent, one of my favorite parts of visiting Germany was deciding if I wanted to try my decent accent but crummy vocabulary German or proceed in English by greeting someone with “hallo” or “hello”.


#15

Semi-retired for now until the wife can start getting Social Security. We’re living in Puerto Penasco.


#16

I had the same issue in Italy and being pre-Google, it took me a while to figure out it just wasn’t a thing there, at all. Also similar was the retro-ish method of going to a butcher a baker a farmers market a fish stand, etc. Superstores and even 24-hours stores just weren’t a thing. Go with the flow man. Change some of those habits and embrace them with new equivalents because it will get you past that culture hump.

With restaurants being so cheap and limited shopping choice I’d probably eat out more or at least a meal a day.

Gaeta wasn’t quite as good in that regard. There was a subset of English speaking businesses near the U.S. Navy base there and also right off the pier (food/bars/taxis) but once you were out in town you needed to know more Italian.

I had a roommate who ended up dating an Italian woman who didn’t speak English well but they had apparently both taken Spanish in school and they used that to converse. Love … finds a way.


#17

Absolutely not a bad word. “The Hispanic world” is something you’d see in respectable print. The only problem I can think of is when you use it to refer to Brazilians, because they speak Brazilian Portuguese. Thus they are latinos but not hispanic.

Then you have people from Belize and Suriname and Curacao and all those weird little ports you remember from Pirates, but whatever.


#18

I had it explained thusly some while back:

“Hispanic” - comes from a Spanish-speaking culture.
“Latin” - comes from an ethnically Latin (aka colonized by Spanish/Portuguese) background.

Certainly there are people in this thread with better/fresher information though.


#19

I love this. I learned more about those areas while trying to get wind in my sails than all of the classes I took in school.


#20

I learned a lot about those places too while sewing my oats with the daughters of several Governors and drinking at every port bar just to one day catch a rumor about my missing family. It was a hard life.