Friday, August 8, 2014

It's a cultural thing

August 8, 2014
Having been raised in the United States, I didn’t realize the cultural changes that I would face down here.  While some are a little surprising, most are just the way things are done in a foreign country. 
  • Many incomes are supplemented by tips.  The following receive tips: the man who directs you into a spot when you pull in a parking lot, the person who bags your groceries in the market, the man in the parking lot who will take your purchases to your car, and the person who stands behind your car and whistles as you pull out so you don’t hit another car.
  •  At every major stop light, there are people selling candy, cigarettes (one at a time), roses, phone charges, and some strange apparatus for killing flies.  Sometimes these sellers are children.  We’ve seen a whole family waiting at lights to dust off your car.  The five year old children are weaving between all the cars.  There will also be men carrying water bottles full of sudsy water to wash your windows.  They do it while you wait at the stop light.  It’s hard to stop them because they spray your car window before they look at you! 
  • The aisles in a store are always full of food – even if they don’t have a variety.  Example:  I walked down the “oil” aisle, and the entire aisle, except for a very small section, had the same brand, and size of vegetable oil.  There were hundreds of identical bottles. 
  • Some things are hard to find:  brown sugar, chocolate chips, vegetable shortening, bag clips, and Rice Krispies.  I understand there is an import store somewhere – just haven’t located it yet.  You can buy US candy bars – they run about $1. 
  •   It is cheap to eat in Mexico, if you eat Mexican food.  American food is available, but it is 10-25% more expensive than the states.  Contrast that with a little restaurant that we ate at yesterday.  Four of us had a full meal, including soup and bread in the beginning, for 227 pesos – or a little less than $20. 
  •  Prescription medications are not prescriptions here.  I have bought everything from prescription allergy medicines to anti-depressants over the counter here.  We have LDS doctors that direct us on what to purchase, but there seems to be little restrictions.
  • Final info item for the day:  You have heard us talk about combat driving down here.  I heard it put the best way:  Laws in Mexico are only suggestions.  Police drive with their lights always on and they are often parked on the street.  They love to blow their whistles as they stand on the side of the street, waving their arms, and directing everyone to keep moving.  Horns are loved by drivers in Mexico!

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