I’ve written before that nothing is easy or quick in Mexico, and I would love to blame it on someone other than myself.
However, my inability to speak Spanish and my continual resistance to learning a new language could be 99% of what makes getting things done here difficult.
My sister suggested I at least learn the words for peso amounts, but I can’t seem to master even that rudimentary task, but instead I trust the honesty of the vendor when I hold out some coins and see if they want more or give me back a few.
Dealing in pesos is like playing with Monopoly money: I never know or care how the amount translates into our dollars. If I stop and work it out, I get it, but still it has an unreal ring to it.
I have figured out that $100 pesos for lunch is a good deal. Depending on the day’s rate of exchange the U.S. dollar equivalent is about $5. Iced tea is another 30 pesos, so for $6.50 +/- your tummy will be full and your billfold a bit lighter.
Along with currency confusion, or ignorance, comes the Mexican desire not to disappoint. So, when asked for a definite completion date on a project, the answer will be somewhere in the range of reality and what they think you want the date to be. And that can vary by months or perhaps a year. Who knows?
It is better if you just nod and say, “It’s Mexico”.
Life is much simpler if your expectations are not firmly set in manmade concrete.
Another barrier is when attempting to order something online from Amazon.MX (which is not the same as U.S. Amazon), because everything is in Spanish. I have learned to have pages translated, thanks to Google Translate, but the translation may be a bit skewed, so it is beneficial if you have a vivid imagination or the ability to shrug your shoulders and hope for the best.
I have also learned taste buds are trained at the tender age of infancy, or why else could these Mexican kids be able to eat hot, hot peppers without one tear loss or gasping for breath. I can just smell some of the sauces and I begin drinking ice-cold liquids. When asked if something is ‘caliente’ never believe a shake of the head. These folks have no idea what hot means! Or perhaps its my pronunciation that is the problem.
Yes, life would be easier if I would learn the language, but I was not a star student when taking French in college, so my thinking I’m going to master Spanish at 77 may be a trip through fantasy land.
Meanwhile, I meander through each day hoping I’m not overpaying for carrots and cantaloupes and wondering what I will receive in the mail from Amazon.
The joys of gringos living in Mexico.