Everyday life in México…

February 1, 2009

I thought I’d do a little series about how I know I am adapting to life in México. Here goes!

1. I like covers on things. Washer, Dryer, Mixer, Blender, whatever. Why not? It is dusty here and the geckos like to run around on things and it’s just neater. (above)

2. Below is a picture of the little coin bag that we keep in the car. In the car you need coins handy for the random stoplight purchase, window washers, grocery store helpers, backing-out-of-the-parking spot whistle guys, and various charities that stop you here and there. I have learned the hard way that you are a total jerk cheapskate if you don’t even have a few pesos for someone who helped unload your cart. So don’t run out!


3. At first I didn’t understand the way pills are packaged…all in little foil things ten or twelve at a time. Now I get it. Humidity is not the friend of pills. So we buy only what we need for a short while and there’s no problem.


4. Are you expecting a delivery? Get out your buckets or cans and put them in the street to save a space for the truck. And not just any old buckets or cans…they have to be old, over the hill ones no one would want. If you put out a good bucket, no holes, and with a nice working handle it would be gone in a flash. The car wash guy on our street, Cuahtémoc, locks his buckets up to the wrought iron when he goes to lunch or home for the evening.


5. Have coins handy at the front door. Here’s our container that is on the table near the door. Right now there’s not much money in it – we need to make an effort to accumulate more coins and stockpile again. The water delivery guys need money, the crazy guy needs a taco, the one armed guy needs a few coins, and the little girls selling raffle tickets for a new car, too. It never ends!


6. Sweep, sweep, sweep. I am actually starting to get into it. The zen of sweeping. We sweep the sidewalk. We sweep the street. We sweep our window sills. We sweep everything. Or some of the time I do, and the rest of the time Guadalupe does, I should say. And she scoffs at the blue plastic bristled broom and loves the one pictured below. And the recycled can dustpan is a standard down here, too.


That’s it! A bit of everyday life in México.

More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. Marvelous post. Great mix of information. Do the washer and dryer covers help to cut down on rust? The house in Melaque has a new “stainless” steel range. It began corroding within a month. I am wondering if a cover would help?

    1. Did you make those covers for the washer and dryer? I recognize the oil cloth pattern and think perhaps you bought it and made the covers. I think they are wonderful and very practical, but no way could I make them. Maybe Theresa could and would get interested in oil cloth cover making and I could get her to make them for me… heh!

    1. Covers for the washer and drier – amazing! Actually driers are unique here – too expensive to operate in the Hood. We have one still in the box – I have been embarrassed to connect it up 😉

      The coins in the car – a must. We ALWAYS donate to the Ambulance people and the Red Cross; and anyone with actual physical signs of being unable to join the work force.

      A peso a bag (any size) to collect our garbage – but we tip – so also need the coin plate at the casa 😉

      Good tips Dona Nancy.

    1. I hadn’t thought about it in a connected way but I agree, you need coins all the time. There are a couple of deformed old beggar ladies that I try to give something to when I pass them so I try to remember to put the coins where I can reach them easily on my way home from buying groceries.

    1. We are coin horders, too. I try to always have a selection in my pocket. We also discovered that the slots for nickels and dimes in the truck hold 2 and 1 peso coins perfectly, so we always have a sorted supply.

      My friend Lupita explained the plastic broom thing to me. They are not for sweeping. They are for wet stuff, like scrubbing the garage or our bizarre tub box.

    1. Nancy, Interesting post. We hoard coins and play the change game. Whenever I buy something I am always calculating how big a bill I can use to pay. The supermarkets always get the larger bills and the tiendas get the small bills or coins. We put coins in the money holder of our car too.
      Jonna, they sell those covers in the super markets! But if you want custom covers for a housewarming present, I think it can be arranged.

    1. Yes, the change game and trying to break a 500 are constants. We always ask for an odd amount at the cash machine so we’ll get at least a couple 100 or 200 notes. Change is weird, sometimes we have a lot, sometimes it is all those tiny centavo ones that I never make use of.

      The washer and dryer covers were bought from our housekeeper, Guadalupe, who also sells Avon products. But I’ve also seen them in the supermarkets here. Steve, I don’t know if one would help the stove, it might trap in moisture, not sure. Paul met a woman yesterday who lives a half block off the beach here and she is replacing all her exterior wrought iron after only 2 years! That salt air is really something. My aluminum orange squeezer is getting pitted after living in my kitchen for a year but our stainless stove is aging normally.

      Jonna, sounds like Theresa might be about to hook you up for some washer covers!

      Jennifer, that makes sense about the broom, I’ve been using our plastic one lately and it really isn’t very good for normal sweeping, especially the clumps of dog hair that get stuck on the bottom.

    1. Nancy – you might want to try using the ATM at the corner of Zuniga and Serdan. The largest bill it dispenses is a $200.

    1. Ohh this makes me giggle!!! I still to this very day have to laugh at the whistle guys… I’m really still not sure what they do?? I don’t even know if they are watching me back out, or if they are just whistling and waving the red cloth?? Oh well… a few pesos here and there. I – like you, don’t know what to do with the little 10 centavo coins… I always give all of them to the bag boys at the grocery store?? They never seem to mind. I do throw in a tad more to make it look better anyways!!

      Oh well, this is a reason why I stick with Costco – I just loooove Costco!!!

      Great post!!!

    1. Do you remove the covers each time you use the machines or are accommodations for use?

    1. This is the kind of post I really like. You help coach so many of us for our future life in Mexico with these kind of daily tidbits of life.
      I am always so amazed at how many establishments cannot even break a $200. I cannot think of one place in the USA that I could not break a $20. I have talked to many business owners on Isla about this and they are like “everyone tries to cash a $200 so how can I possibly have enough change? Hello, it’s called “go to the bank and get some”. I managed a deli right out of high school and one of my daily tasks was to go to the bank and get small bills and coins for change.

Comments are closed.