Friday, January 20, 2012

Buying STUFF

I know, I know. I told everyone that I was traveling light for 6 months in Mexico, cause it's a civilized country and you can buy anything you need. HA!!

John told me to bring an electric blanket. The sheer volume of it took up most of my suitcase but it was worth it. The nights here are quite cold and even with three layers of covers that electric blanket has been a God-send. He had told me there were none to be had here. I think he was right.

Malena's baby, Mateo (Yessi's little brother)
with one of the cooks at Malena's restaurant.
My search for a goose neck lamp goes on. Yesterday I hiked up the hill to the area north of the Santo Domingo outdoor produce market. There are a number of stores selling everything from plumbing pieces to plastic everything. The electric store had plugs, extension cords, light bulbs of every imaginable size and shape, but not one lamp. The furniture and appliance store had lamps but they were large ceramic affairs with gaudy lampshades. The cell phone and electronics gadgets store had the tiny clip on reading lights that require batteries, and one saleslady told me the kind I want does exist, but she had no idea where I might buy it. Yesi suggested the Office Depot in Tuxtla or WalMart. We even treked over to Bodega Aurera, a store that is owned (I think) by WalMart. You can certainly get a WalMart credit card there and they sell all the same type of merchandise, except lamps. The only lamp in that store was a clamp lamp, the kind mechanics use under the hoods of cars.

Hmmmm. I have a small goose neck lamp I bought for my Eastern Trip to use in the van, I could have brought it with me, if only I'd known.

On the other hand, all that shopping netted me other things the casita needed: a dish drainer, hangars, a potato masher, a clear plastic box with snap on handles, and for me, another pair of socks. At Bodega Aurera Yesi and I got all kinds of food and personal things like hair conditioner and shampoo for her mother. The trip wasn't entirely a lost cause. Malena (Yesi's mother) gave me a cellphone to use in Mexico. Yesi showed me how to charge it with minutes at the OXXO store. So now Malena can call me. I have a US cell phone which is cheap for me to use but not for someone in Mexico to call me. So far Linda and Malena have both sent texts and called, so it's come in very handy.

I met with Arnolf at Tierra Adentro for lunch and we had a nice visit. He told me about a Russian friend of his who was robbed by three men at Palenque. The Russian refused to hand over his back pack, so the robber whacked him in the head with a machete. He woke up in the hospital with stitches and a really bad headache. Back here in San Cristobal, he went to the hospital to get the stitches out, but since no one spoke English and he didn't speak Spanish, they sent him away. Arnolf, with his own limited Spanish, managed to find the Russian a doctor and get him fixed up.

The street I walk up to the mercado.

Chiles!!

A sucker vendor.

Rebosos for sale.

Wonderful murals on the wall of a home.

Closeup of the mural.

I feel quite safe in MX, really, but I still take many precautions like not carrying much money with me, keeping my passport at home and carrying only a photocopy of it and the Visa, stashing money in pockets as well as in my billfold, and staying in fairly peopled areas. I think the Russian had gotten himself somewhat isolated for that to have happened. Yesi thinks it's funny that I want to be home by 8:30 at night. I told her I didn't like to walk at night because I don't see that well and might trip and fall. But that's only half the reason. And San Cris is not Palenque. It's a real town where little children in grade school walk home together without adult supervision, teenagers gather in groups on the streets and people sit outside of bars drinking till the wee hours. But I'm more cautious when I'm alone. With John off in Oaxaca, I'm a lot more careful.