This Is What I Got for Trying to Support a Local Business

(Post 55 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I walked over to my friend’s house this afternoon to drop off his Amazon package. We stayed well apart, but did take a few minutes to chat. We marvelled that it was exactly two months to the day that I got back from vacation!

There’s a taco place that I love that is just around the corner from him. I almost never order from there from home because I have to phone in the orders and, frankly, it’s just less trouble to be able to use an app or to send a text message to another restaurant than to call them. But when I’m around there and it’s meal time, I love to pop in and either eat there or order for takeout. Like most restaurants, they are currently open for take out or delivery.

They admitted to struggling and to having  to really reduce the menu to avoid waste, but they said they were still doing brisk business on what I wanted anyway, which was just an order of four tacos al pastor.

I should’ve known something was off by how heavy my bag was when they gave me the order, but I figured that maybe they were extra generous with the salsas.

They were. And they gave me two free tacos. And they gave me double tortillas and extra meat on the others. So I basically got 12 tacos for the price of 4. 😳 Yay for leftovers! I can’t get over how many restaurants are sending me a little extras every time I order. Usually, it’s just a little scoop of guacamole with a few chips or some grilled onions — something I sometimes order as a side but didn’t that time. And sometimes, like tonight and in the case of my last order from my favourite sushi restaurant, it’s a a really generous gift that turns a meal into two, like extra tacos or a double portion of chicken fried rice! My favourite lunch place is also being sneakily generous, like sending me white meat instead of brown. It’s really good business because it makes me feel appreciated as a customer, which extra makes me want to order again.

The taco al pastor is by far my favourite fast food here. It is surprisingly nutritious, and while every place is sort of technically the same, a slight variance in the spices in the meat and in the sauces, plus the type of tortilla they use, can make a different experience from restaurant to restaurant. These folks have a spicy chipotle sauce that others don’t. Another one that I really like has a tree chile sauce that I have never seen anywhere else. My neighbourhood taquería up the street has the best garlic sauce of anybody in the city, I think. So I’m not really loyal to anyone particular taco place, but I have a reason for ordering from one restaurant over another on a given night. It really depends on what sauce I’m in the mood for!

I was really amused recently when the taquería up the street sent me a note with my order saying that the chef was bored and experimenting with salsas and what did I think of their new tamarind and habanero sauce? The lady who has the Chinese restaurant around the corner uses me for similar experiments – she figures that if the foreigner can handle the heat, the locals will also. I remain really surprised by how many locals do not eat spicy food. I still generally do not enjoy the feeling of the spicy foods, but I really appreciate that I can taste the flavour behind the heat now. So I said to keep the tamarind sauce on the menu! 🥵😋

So two months of lockdown locked down… Time marches on. I am so busy I don’t even see the days go by. I feel really bad for my extroverted friends who are struggling and finding the days are very long…

Correos de Mexico Seems to Be Making Good on Its Promises for Improvement

(Post 54 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I got mail today!

The first item was purchased on Amazon on February 29th. I didn’t realise it was coming through Correos de Mexico and would never have ordered it had I known. DHL got it to the border fairly quickly — Aduana scanned it in on March 11th, and that was the last update. Getting packages to clear customs here is like placing a bet, so lots of fun for folks who like gambling. I would say 75% of things I order from outside Mexico that don’t come from a large company with good brokers, like Amazon, get to customs and never leave.

The second item was a letter from my best friend, who now lives in New York state. She mailed it on April 22nd, so it took less than a month to get here. Transit time for mail has gone from so long that we lose hope and forget about it (up to six months) to about six weeks to now just under four weeks!

I remember when I first came to Mexico how things would just never arrive — the postal system here had a horrible reputation that was well-deserved. It was actually astounding that a country as developed as Mexico lacked a viable postal system. Correos de Mexico has been promising improvements and reforms for about a year now and I’m actually since them happening. I am going to have to give sending something to the U.S. another chance. Nothing has made it there so far and it’s so inconvenient to go to the post office (the one in my neighbourhood is just for distribution and I have to go to a larger one north of me to actually send anything!) that I have been loathe to try. But getting a letter in less than four weeks in the current global climate is making me optimistic.