Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shopping for School Supplies

The school here gave us a list of school supplies needed for each girl. So, we went school supply shopping...Mexican style!

We entered a local Papeleria, which essentially sells any thing: cards, ribbons, gift bags, glue, notebooks, sewing supplies, etc. is a mix of anything and everything!

Close to the Ajijic Plaza is Papeleria Hidalgo, with a very nice couple who has owned the business for over 20 years. It shows, because there are so many things hidden in every nook and cranny (and perhaps some are as old as the store?)! I

We handed them the school supply list, and let them try to knock off as many items as they could. It was a good 30-45 minute wait, but we enjoyed browsing and relaxing on the front stoop...until we walked away with nearly $100 worth of school supplies (and there are still some items we missed!)! Ouch! :-)

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mexican PO

The Mexican postal system is known to be lousy and unreliable. If you have something important, you send it via DHL or Fedex. However, people do use local PO boxes to avoid the unreliability of having an envelope delivered to your home.

Since we're in this for the long haul, we went to the PO downtown to get our own box. The letter carriers drive old motorcycles, which they park in the front entry. Go up the stairs and you find yourself in a humble post office.

The manager was on the phone as he helped me fill out some very basic paperwork and pay the $300 pesos per year fee. I know he was the manager because I was told to come back to get a PO box while he was there...since he is the only one authorized to open a new box.

Although I didn't understand what he was saying as he talked on the phone, it was very clear that he was on a personal call, and just chatting. Just one of the many things you wouldn't see in the US!

Here are the PO boxes...I love the fact that some of the boxes don't have front doors anymore, but they still have mail inside of them! That's trust! I guess they assume no one else wants their bills...
Posted by Picasa

The supermercado...

They love their cactus...

Personally, I find it a bit gooey when cooked up...but I have been told by my Mexican friends that you can wash the gooeyness off.
Maybe I'll have to try that sometime (or maybe not?!)!

One funny thing...they actually peel all of their onions before putting them on display. You know how in the US all of the onion layers are left on? Not so, here...I guess they like to see exactly what they are getting!
I also went into Walmart one day, and discovered a massive and eager group gathered around the oranges. Turns out there was a GREAT deal, and people were walking away with bags upon bags full. I joined in the fun once I realized that the oranges were about 4 cents a piece! WOWEE!
The only downside is that they have very thin peels, which are surprisingly very difficult to peel. However, they make excellent juice (if I can only get myself a juicer...)!

Posted by Picasa

Joco Market...

Hats, anyone?

And for those fish eaters out there...please note that the gentleman here sets up a table of ice that the fresh fish sit on. The buckets below catch the necessary drippings...

UGH...I have to hold my nose!
Posted by Picasa

How to massacre mangoes...

Anyone who knows me know that I LOVE produce. I would choose fresh fruit over candy or desserts any day!
Our first week back in town, we visited the Jocotepec market, which is my favorite in the area (there are 5 each week within a 20 minute drive). There was a fruit stand set up, and I just couldn't resist the temptation...could you?

(can you see this? I think it is a cup full of shredded radish, carrot, zucchini, jicima, and perhaps squash? I have no idea what the yellow stuff is on top! You should see how the kids gobble this stuff up!)

I was dying to get a big cup of MANGOS, one of my favorite fruits that I have only had fresh a handful of times (I used to buy frozen mangoes from the Candian Superstore in Whitehorse).

I told the gal working which fruit I wanted, and she grabbed the cup and began to pick up a heaping spoonful of chili powder to put on it. "Oh! No! No chili!" She looked at me funny...silly Gringo...and proceeded to put spoonfuls of something white on the fruit, instead. I thought, "hmm...coconut? Okay...I'm willing to try that..." Then, before I realized it, she had grabbed a lemon, and was squeezing lemon juice all over my perfect mangoes. UGH. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE lemons...but on my MANGOES?!

She handed me the cup, and I paid my $20 pesos. I took a bite, and LOW AND BEHOLD...that white stuff was actually large granulated SALT...and the mix of salt and lemon made for a VERY salty/sour cup of once-perfect Mangoes. At least it wasn't chili powder...

I will know better next time :-)
Posted by Picasa

Large load coming through...

Remember when I posted the photo of Pregnancy parking at the Walmart in Mexico several years ago? Well...this one was new to me. Pregnant women get to use the special checkout aisle at the Walmart, too!

Posted by Picasa

We're BACK!

Well, it's ABOUT TIME!! Nearly 2 years since our departure from Mexico in 2009, we are finally back "home"! We drove for 2 long days to the border of Texas/Mexico, where we spent the night in Del Rio. The last leg of the trip (in Mexico) took 1 1/2 days, and we couldn't have been happier to be done driving! Here is a map of our route through Saltillo and San Luis Potosi.
For those of you would like a better frame of reference...The "A" flag is where we now reside! We can now officially call ourselves Expats, and we happily join the American/Canadian retirees in the Lake Chapala area. Of course--we Gringos are still a minority, and the Mexican population and culture is alive and well in this area! Time to learn Spanish (and FAST)!!
The moment we crossed the border from Del Rio (your typical American city) to the Mexican border town of Ciudad Acuna, the streets and construction immediately changed to typical Mexican style. It is amazing how 1 mile difference is a HUGE difference when you are talking about this international border. Different language, different customs, and different culture! We were bubbling with excitement!

We booked it South of the border without stopping for several hours. Finally, we pulled over to get gas, and a Mexican girl offered us her warm "taquitos" at our window while the attendant pumped our gas (have I mentioned they pump the gas for you, here?). Assuming they'd be like American taquitos, we purchased 5 for $20 pesos. They turned out to be mini soft tacos, instead. 2 had a mix of beef and potatoes, and the other 3 were a VERY spicy mix of beans and jalepeno. It hit the spot, and the girls were soon begging for more, so we took a break on the side of the road to refuel and get the baby out of the car seat.

We spent the night in San Luis Potosi at a hotel we stayed at back in 2009 when we left Mexico. All went well, and we pulled into our rental home in Ajijic (on Lake Chapala) the next day!
But not without seeing some great views and "trees" along the way!