Oof, it’s been a really full day, but hopefully one that will have worn me out enough to get a solid night of sleep. I didn’t sleep a wink last night, the second time that’s happen in the last week, which tells me that I’m spending too much time in front of the computer, finishing too late, and not giving myself time to decompress before bed. At any rate, I wanted to run into Mérida today to do errands and I had someone coming by between eight (when I said I’d be up) and ten (when I said I wanted to leave) to come look at an issue I’m having with the water system.
I got up at eight as planned, made Puppy a nice breakfast (he loves scrambled eggs), and made myself a coffee, which I enjoyed outside in the courtyard for the first time. As I did so, I surveyed the absolute wreck that was said courtyard and the pool because of the winds and rain we’ve had all week. I’m never hungry when I’ve slept poorly, so once I was done with coffee, I got to work setting the pool and courtyard to rights. By the time all of that was done, it was nine and the helper was honking at the gate.
Thanks to the troubleshooting I’d done, he was able to quickly determine what was wrong with the water system (pump keeps cycling because the system isn’t staying pressurised) and he also had a look at the roof leaks. He told me to get some sealant at Home Depot today and he would have “his guys” apply it this week. He also told me to try to get another pressurizing tank for the water system, but if Home Depot didn’t have them, he had another source and would pick one up himself. Before anyone gasps, I was left funds to draw on for such situations! My hosts are lucky to have such a wonderful friend and I’m glad the ice is broken so that I have someone to call on for help if anything else crops up. I thought he was just “the solar guy” and didn’t realise the relationship was so close.
I was hungry by the time he left, so I had my leftovers from last night (mmm…), moved some money around so I could make a couple of withdrawals, put on a pretty outfit, and headed out around ten.
First stop was the Scotiabank at the Liverpool mall. Their ATM was out of order. I went to another one a few kilometres away, well out of my way for Home Depot and my other stops, and it, too, was out of order. Augh! I was therefore looking at nearly $20 in ATM fees at another bank since I would have to make several withdrawals.
Next stop was Gran Plaza, a mall, because I knew there were several banks there so I could do my withdrawals. I figured I could also do a couple of errands there and then come back after Home Depot for groceries since there’s a Comercial Mexicana there, which is the name Mega goes by in this part of Mexico, apparently. But it’s definitely the same store, has the pelican logo and everything.
Getting to Gran Plaza involved a lot of driving around in circles looking for the entrance to the parking lot. I know that I’m going to learn my way around here and things will get easier, but that was surprisingly frustrating today and more energy than I’d planned to spend so early in the day!
At any rate, I finally made it to the mall and did my withdrawals at the Santander. I decided that since I was there and had all my paperwork, I would try to open an account. There was a long line for the tellers, but I saw a stand at the back with a sign saying to sign up to see an executive. I looked at the sign up sheet and the first “reason for visit” listed was to open an account, so I figured that I was doing the right thing by adding my name to the list and then taking a seat instead of standing in line.
I waited for quite a while, probably close to 30 minutes, before my name was called. The man who helped me was kind enough, but told me that Santander doesn’t open accounts for folks on a residente temporal visa status. He said that every bank is different and he suggests I check with HSBC, Banamex, and BBVA Bancomer in that order. I don’t want to go with HSBC because of the dearth of ATMs and Bancomer will never see me again after they were so hard to get my money back from, so that makes Banamex my next choice (especially since there is one in Progreso). Unfortunately, the one by Gran Plaza was closed today. So opening an account is on the list for this week.
I really wanted to go with Santander because I like how their ATMs give small bills, but temporary residents can’t be choosers, apparently. I understand that Mexican banking has tightened up their regulations because of the war on drugs, but it’s a shame for folks who are trying to get settled in this country. They’ve very likely lost my business for life. Who am I going to be loyal to, the bank that said they don’t want my business until I’m a permanent resident or the bank eager to help me settle in on this first stage of my immigration journey? At any rate, I knew the bank account thing would be work and I’m not daunted.
Next, I went to a store called Compu8 to get a cable for an external hard drive and some ink for my printer. Dang was the woman there cranky! She was one of those rare store clerks I’ve met who prefers to pretend she can’t understand me than to serve me. Thankfully, after what happened at the City Deli on Isla as well as the Velcro Incident, I know I’m not the problem and don’t let myself be intimidated. I got the cable I wanted (pricier than I would have liked, but necessary) and they also had the ink (cheaper than expected).
Then, I thought I might as well check out the food court since I was getting peckish again. Chinese sounded good and the stand that got my business was the one handing out free samples. 🙂 I couldn’t believe how generous the portion was and I actually ended up not being able to come close to finishing. But dang was it all yummy. I got chicken balls cooked in orange juice with big chunks of pineapple, chow mein, and broccoli.
Next up was Home Depot (almost right next door), where help and my plumbing vocabulary were lacking, but with some perseverance, I was able to confirm they didn’t have the right kind of tank. Thankfully, the sealant was easy to find and someone helped me with it because it came in a very heavy bucket! A cart guy at the exit asked if I needed help getting the bucket into my truck and my answer was oh… yeah. 🙂 He asked if I had a roof leak and I told him how I’m minding a house and the owners are in Canada and nobody’s ever been here during the summer and, well, I practically took a shower in my bedroom last night, the recitation of which left him in stitches. He asked me what I had to seal (glass against cement) and he said that I had the right product (Thermotec) and that it is excellent. Well, it’s what my hosts wanted, but it’s good to hear another positive review of it.
I then went back to Comercial Mexicana and managed to find parking fairly near the store. My list for there was all the imported sauces and condiments I can’t get at an average Mexican grocery store. I got most of the stuff on my list, just missing tahini, but I have another source for that that I’m holding out for. Their bakery had the black bread I loved in Maz, but not the raisin bread. I treated myself to a pair of goggles for the pool ($25, $30 off!) since I like to swim underwater and my eyes have been getting irritated. I’d been tempted to buy a pair before, but the ones I’d seen were over $100. So I knew I was getting a great deal. I didn’t buy anything I could get at an average store since the prices are so much higher. But I got sushi vinegar, sesame oil, sweet chile sauce, udon noodles, etc. The only thing I struck out on was the Earl Grey tea, but I have a few more places to look for it before I give up.
My final stop was Costco where I dropped a whopping $2,300, but it was absolutely a planned and smart shop that should save me from having to go back into Mérida for groceries for a while. It was the shop I wanted to do when I landed, but didn’t have the money for.
I’ve been looking for a drying rack for my clothes, really necessary now that the rain has started, and Contessa suggested I look at Costco. That was good advice because they had a really heavy duty stainless steel one for $550. That’s something I’m going to need in my own home when I move, so it made total sense to drop the pesos for one that pricey, never mind that I haven’t seen any drying racks at other stores!
I also stocked up on meat and a bunch of things that made sense to buy in bulk, like these bags of limes and lemons for just 4.50CAD and 6CAD respectively (WOW). I can just throw the fruit in the freezer and pull out singles as needed. Once nuked for 15-30 seconds, they’ll produce more juice than when fresh.
Philadelphia cream cheese lasts forever and I was able to get four bricks for just $90 or 6.75CAD, when one brick is normally about 4CAD in Canada. Cream cheese is a total luxury back there, but here it really is a staple (and goes so well with black bread!). I also got a giant bag (900G) of grated Parmesan for just $193 or 14.50CAD. I buy a small wedge for that price in Assiniboia
I think the only thing I felt stupid paying for was $250 for four big containers of Clorox cleaning wipes, but they really do help me stay on top of my housecleaning and were a great deal. Well, I was delighted when I checked my receipt to discover that I got a $64 discount on them, so they only cost me $186! So, really, even though I was shocked that I dropped over $2,000 in one trip, there was nothing I didn’t need that didn’t make sense to get a bulk purchase discount for.
One other thing I like about Costco is that you get a discount if you pay with cash rather than plastic. I saved $150 on top of my other discounts for using cash!
Well, that was enough money spent for one day and I was beat, so I headed straight home, really enjoying the drive now that my truck is running well again. 🙂
At home, Puppy was on his best behaviour. He let me tie him up so I could open the gate and bring the truck into the yard to unload and laid quietly until I was done unloading and unpacking. We then played for a bit before I jumped into the pool!
Well, I thought I was going to get a full day off, but I just looked over my task list for tomorrow and realised that I’ll have to get a very early start to get through it. So I’m going to try to get a start on it right now, but I firmly plan to quit before eight!
The cleaner is coming on Tuesday and I’ll try to get away again to do a fun trip to Mérida. We’ll see how well that plan works out. 😀