A Day of Firsts

I didn’t sleep well again last night, sighs. I’m really hoping that if I can get my room completely dark I’ll at least not getting woken up right at six by daylight creeping in….

First order of business was work, then I put together a shopping list of odd bits I needed. It became evident that hitting up a Walmart might not be a bad idea. I decided to wear my grey and white striped dress that I probably haven’t worn since Mazatlán and which is fabulous in this climate, made from some sort of microfiber that breathes and looks quite “luxe.” I’ve been wearing slummy clothes most of the summer so it’s nice to break out the pretty things. When I was at the house in Chelem, I didn’t want to wear anything Puppy might ruin and as the summer wound down, I was doing grubby work in town so it didn’t make sense to dress up.

Around eleven, I hopped on a bus toward Centro to go to the Walmart at Paseo de Montejo (their “Centro” location).

I wanted to get off no further south than the Convention Centre, but kept passing signs saying buses can’t stop on that stretch of 62. When we passed Avenida Colon, I finally got up and asked the driver to please let me off as soon as he could. It ended up being about a block or two further south, which was fine. I doubled back to the Colon and then shot over to Walmart. Crossing Paseo de Montejo at that corner is something I remember from last year and it’s just as much sport this year!

Walmart had a lot that was on my list, but not everything. I wasn’t desperate for anything so if I didn’t like what they had of something, I held off.

One thing I did find that I am inordinately pleased with is a rack for my shower so I don’t have to store everything on the floor. I found some wire racks to hang from the shower head that were just about useless — only enough room for one bottle. This one had room for at least two bottles and the picture showed a loofah and razor hanging from the bottom section, two things I needed storage for as well (as evidenced by this picture!). There’s also room for my pumice. Best part? This rack was the cheapest option at only $75, $50 less than the wire racks!

Another thing I was looking for was another cutting board so I can have one for meat and one for veg. I got all of these for only about $70 and the label even showed examples of how the colours can be associated to a specific food. They are also non-skid and will work great on my tile counters.

I found a stopper for my kitchen sink and am pleased that it fit. I guess those things are universal. Now, I can wash dishes in the sink and use the basin for rinsing, or vice-versa.

I also picked up blackout curtains in a brand I have in Miranda, but, spoiler, they are NOT blackout curtains. 🙁 I’m so disappointed and will return them.

The grocery section was quite nice and I picked up a few things there as well. I was amused that one block of Philadelphia cream cheese was $29, but I could get two and a very nice container for $50… I also picked up this loaf of bread, curious as to whether the spots were olive, chocolate, or raisins:

I paid for my purchases with my debit card and asked if I could make a withdrawal. I didn’t even know if such a thing is possible in Mexico the way it is in Canada, but what the heck. The man asked how much I wanted to withdraw and I said $500. So far, so good as the max was $2,000. He then held up the card and said, “This is a Mexican debit card. Right? Not a foreign credit card?” I confirmed that it was a Mexican debit card. “Okay! No problem!” So far, there are only perks to having a Mexican bank account!

I came out with my mound of shopping and decided to treat myself to an Oreo McFlurry at the McDonald’s desserts-only counter. They only had one size (ginormous) and they put fudge in it. So good, but definitely lunch!

After that, I decided to try Uber again, adding “cash” as an additional payment option when I was once again unable to get a car. That did the trick! After a few minutes, I got a call from the driver. Turns out I didn’t place my map pin exactly right and he thought I was somewhere down Pérez-Ponce, oops! I was able to tell him I was at the corner of Pérez-Ponce and Paseo de Montejo in front of the stairs to Walmart and that was clear.

The driver helped me put my shopping in the trunk and off we went. I’d done some research and knew to sit up front since Uber is not quite legal here and drivers don’t want to make it obvious that they are with Uber. He tried to speak to me in English, but I stuck to Spanish and he was happy to not only converse in Spanish, but also corrected me the whole way home. That sounds terrible, but it was so helpful!!! The trip cost me $40. Taxi service here is notable for being terrible and expensive. I got an estimate from a cab for the same trip and it was almost double!

One thing of note in our conversation that I’ve been meaning to mention is that Mexicans aren’t shy about asking how much rent I pay. To be honest, I’m always embarrassed to answer because my rent is really high for a single person here.

I got in just as I received a text message from TelCel that I needed to top up. I used their new app, which I linked to my Mexican PayPal account (linked to my Mexican bank account!), and was able to top up in just a few steps. It was so much more convenient than going to Oxxo and I got 500MB of free data for trying out the app!

The electrician texted shortly thereafter to say he was incoming. He got in and did the work quickly, but my UPS is still unhappy. I had him reverse the polarity, just in case, but that didn’t help. He didn’t have a working multimetre, outlet testers aren’t a thing here, and I was stupid and left all that stuff back in Canada so we had to leave it at that. I’m going to pick up a multimetre and see if I can get an outlet tester online. We both suspect that it’s a low or high voltage issue. At any rate, my Macbook Air charges fine in the outlet so I’m still way ahead of where I was when I didn’t have a three-prong outlet by my desk. He insisted on charging me $100 less ($600 total including materials) because the job wasn’t a success and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I think he knows I’ll likely have more work for him in the future.

So all that to say, really didn’t do a great job of checking out the wiring in the house before renting. Visually, it looked fine and well finished, but there are issues right to the junction box at the street. Anyway, everything but the UPS seems to work fine and folks who lived in the house previously had no issues. I’m just going to make it a point not to buy myself any super expensive electronics!

It was about five when he left and I was famished. I remembered seeing a taco joint a short ways down Calle 60 and decided to walk there on the off chance that it might be odd and open for business at about 5:30PM.

It was… And while they weren’t fully up and running (they had to cook a portion of al pastor meat on the grill for me), there were Mexicans eating there at that hour. I asked for two al pastor tacos and while I really wanted Nestea, asked for more “Mexican” jamaica (hibiscus) tea, which I’m not fond of. They were out of jamaica so I got my Nestea. 🙂

They were so good! I should have just gone ahead and order a few more. Next time, I will get an “orden” to go or even delivery, which is enough fixings for about five tacos. I asked for my tacos “con todo” after the server came to ask me once if I wanted onion and then came back to ask about cilantro.

I was surprised that there was a creamy sauce option to put on them. It was a bit like tzatziki, which, now that I think about it, makes sense for these tacos modelled on gyros/donair/shawarma. There was also lime, green and red sauces, and guacamole.

I doubt I’m going to find a closer taco joint with better hours so I really want to break the ice on getting delivery since their food is so good and cheap (al pastor tacos are only $11 each!!!). They don’t do Whatsapp and their store is VERY noisy so I’m worried I might have troubling giving them my address. To be determined…

It’s been another long day and I am exhausted and a bit footsore. I have some easy work to do tomorrow, then my priority will be getting my desk set up. I’m now back to thinking about painting, having noticed that the movers did more damage than I realised (they tied it down with rope, which rubbed off some of the finish). But that can wait as long as I deal with the structural issues.

Oh, my landlady just called as I was about to hit publish to see how things are and I complained about the water heater. Her husband is coming in the morning. Here’s to hoping I can take a hot shower tomorrow. It’s chilly here at night! I actually regretted going out without a shawl or something to get my tacos!