|Sunrise – new day, new experiences living in Mexico.|
Living in another country and learning the idiosyncrasies of our new culture is an infinitely humorous experience. Thousands of articles have been written about the never-on-time habit of the Mexican culture.
The party or dinner invitation says six in the evening but the host doesn’t expect you before eight o’clock. If you are meeting someone for coffee and they are twenty minutes late that’s early, no apologies are expected or given. Civic events are posted as starting at eight in the evening and might get underway by ten. We still arrive on time. It’s a conditioned response that even after ten years of living in Mexico we just can’t shake.
|Waiting for 3 hours with friends for a parade to start.|
But there are other lesser-known quirks in this culture.
For instance if you purchase a can of spray paint, you must remember to ask at the checkout for the nozzle or at the very least pull the cap off to check. Most of the stores keep the two separated. When we asked why, we were given two different answers. The first reason was to prevent children from stealing the cans of paint, and then sniffing the contents.
The second reason was to prevent older teenagers from stealing the cans to create graffiti in public area. Both sound like sensible reasons. But, there are only two or three types of nozzles so why wouldn’t the kids just keep a nozzle from another can and reuse it? Kids are pretty smart at figuring out the solution to a problem.
|Towing service for a moto.|
Another funny little quirk that was really common, but we haven’t seen it recently, was the testing of light bulbs before you left the store.
Every single bulb was tested to prove that you were purchasing a good bulb.
Apparently it was to prevent someone returning later with a burned out bulb claiming the new one was defective. It doesn’t happen at Home Depot anymore, but probably is still common in smaller mom and pop operations.
|Counting every single whatchamacallit.|
Removing coffee pots, toaster, and lamps from packaging to prove that everything is include is still the norm, as is rechecking each individual part of an item that is being returned. We had that joyous experience at Home Depot a couple of years ago when returning a brand new ceiling fan that neither Lawrie nor our electrician could get to operate.
The young woman at the return counter laboriously removed every screw, every washer, and every whatchamacallit, checking it against the master list of parts included in the box. She counted fan blades, knobs, and thingamajigs. She unwrapped the electrical cord and poked around in the Styrofoam packaging. I’m pretty sure the return took three-times longer than the purchase.
|Kara bashing the empty birthday pinata!|
We have also fallen for the piñata trick. A few years ago I purchased a Cinderella piñata for a family member’s sixty-fifth birthday party.
I wanted to create a cool cross-cultural birthday experience. We had a great time, kids, teens and adults, bashing the stuffing out of that poor piñata only to discover the doll was empty.
No one had enlightened this clueless gringa when I happily purchased the empty shell.
Like batteries for toys, the candies are sold separately.
|Ink sold separately.|
And our most recent chuckle about our adopted country occurred last week. I had the bright idea that I could create a sticker of Sparky’s paw print to be affixed inside the novels as his autograph.
After a bit of hunting around we found a stamp pad at Office Depot and proudly brought it home. I had just enough time before the first Artist Fair on November 23rdto ink the dog’s paw, scan and email to a printer in Cancun to create decals.
The plan was to apply a sticker to the inside of each novel as it was purchased at the Artist Fair. Except, of course, when I unwrapped the cellophane packaging I discovered the stamp pad was just a piece of thin foam inside a metal container – no ink!
|Working on the decals for next week’s Art Fair|
The next few days were a national holiday and the stationary stories were closed. There was no ink available on the island.
We chuckled and shrugged our shoulders. Oh well, mañana.
It’s what you do when learning to live in another culture. Laugh at yourself, and adapt.
Cheers from paradise
Lynda & Lawrie
$300.00 pesos per book – Thursdays at Artist Fair