Monday, June 28, 2010


****Listen, if I get all church-y and Jesus-y on you for a sec. don't freak out o.k.? I swear a lot on this blog and I talk about all manner of inappropriate things but deep down ole Jesus still has his claws in me and that's that. Just bare with me for a sec and you'll see my point.****

Anyhoo, after a year and eight months or so I've finely found my purpose here in Mexico. I'm thrilled and excited and I just hope HOPE I can keep it up and not let the meager wind out of my sails.

I mentioned the church-y thing because back home in Michigan I went to the First Baptist Church in South Haven for years.... 10 I guess, and in the six months before I made the move to Mexico they were there for me any time I needed.

I was part of a really cool small group that got together to hang out, socialize and do bible study stuff and they had a huge impact on my mental state of being at the thought of leaving my home, job, college, family and friends all behind to go to someplace unknown and scary. They, and the faith that I'd slowly gained over the years planted the seed in my mind and made me feel, that God had a purpose for sending me to Mexico, and in time he'd show me.

Now, LOLOLOL don't freak out and think I've gone crazy and gonna start spouting out on the street corner on a soap box that Jesus has made me Queen of Mexico and I'm here to save the world or that I'm THE CHOSEN ONE or some craziness. Christians believe that God has a purpose in EVERYTHING that we do, from the most simple or benign or mundane of daily tasks, to grand things like becoming President or you know... big stuff.

We talked in the small group about what God's purpose might be for me down here, tried to think up things, but it was all too vast to even truly contemplate.

Aaaaaanyhooo, the thought has never truly escaped my mind, no matter how far it was pushed in the back of my brain, that perhaps there is something for me to do here. Perhaps the truth is that I NEED something to do here. Yes, I work 40 hours a week with an added 10 hours of commute, and I have a new baby to take care of and a house to clean and a husband to love and take care of and I've even made a couple of friends....but for me, it's not enough.

I've always needed PURPOSE. Back home I could volunteer at church or in old folks homes or help out people in need or whatever came my way and that made me feel good. Plus I was in college and I had a great job where I felt useful - but down here in Mexico there's nothing like that for me. Or at least I thought.

So, here it is. It's small but I'm truly excited, I'm just about bursting!

It took me Eleven months to find a friend here in Reynosa. A friend who spoke English, and was a woman and was an American who understood me and understood what I was going through. Yes, I had Chino's family but the language barrier was so great that no matter how good the intentions there was no way of making a friendship, making a CONNECTION with another human being. Eleven months - the FIRST months - the months of mourning the loss of my former life and family and friends and trying to except being poor and blah blah on and on - that could have been made so much easier with a friend that understood me.

Here where we live in Reynosa, it is one of the largest places that deported Mexicans are sent and booted back into Mexico. Many scatter to all parts of Mexico from here but some stay and some of those are fortunate enough to have their family pack up and come here and live with them.

Americans in Mexico. OR, people like my husband whom were raised from a small child in the U.S. -brought over illegally by their parents - who have been deported back to a country that they've never known as home. A place where they don't speak the language, don't know the customs or money or how to do anything at all. Don't freak out on me, I don't want to hear a freakin PEEP about immigration laws or what not - that's not what this is about so don't even go there - this is about helping out fellow lost people that came here just like me.

There are 2 other American women here in Reynosa that I personally know, in a city of over a half a million we've managed to find one another. But there are more.

We've run across more women like us from time to time but never - and I can't figure out for the life of me why - made much of an effort to make further contact.
I spoke to an American woman and her husband last week that live in Monterrey Mexico and she told me that in Monterrey they have a huge network for Americans or other Expats from all over that come new to the city. They have a network so that they can make friends, get information on the best places to shop, the safe places to be, how in the HELL to get things like electric and water and cable and Internet (those things are crazy difficult in Mexico!) and all manner of things like - lol - where you can buy brown sugar. A huge support network that makes it so new people aren't alone.

I'm going to start one here in Reynosa. I KNOW that there are more of us here, I've met some in passing, and so have my friends. The border guards on the U.S. side have made snarky remarks about "Oh, another one of YOU," and as of late Chino's family has even scared up a few!

There's a woman that lives only a few houses down from Chino's cousin and I went there last week to knock on her door. It turns out that she went back Pal Norte to work for a bit but she'll be returning! Last week another of Chino's cousin called and said that she had a new client come in her shop to get her hair cut, a white girl that speaks NO English that's here with her deported husband and two children. His cousin knows where the girl - she's only 19 - lives and agreed to take me there!

Chino told me that since he's moved to a much busier flea market that he sees them almost every weekend and I begged him to flag them down and hand out my phone number. Last weekend he gave a woman and her husband - just like us - my phone number, and I'm impatiently waiting for my phone to ring!

I'm going to figure out a way to make business cards for him to hand out. I have NO clue what they'll say but it'll come.

In the past weeks I've been joining Expat site after Expat site and setting up profiles for the city of Reynosa and explaining that there are Mexpats here in Reynosa and that I'm seeking them out.

I made a Facebook group specifically for it - me being the only current member -lol - but it's THERE should someone search for it.

I'll be starting a blog for it soon - ANYTHING to show up on a search engine, because that's how the three us gals found each other here.

I made a twitter account (lol gag) and I'm searching out and following everyone in Reynosa that I can in hopes that they'll look at MY page and see that I'm going to start twittering about looking for Americans or deported Americans at heart.
I put a free ad in the Reynosa Classifieds on the Internet.

And my latest idea, God help me in convincing my husband to help me - I'm going to run an ad in the Newspaper. (eeeeeeeeee!!!!)

I'm so excited. Everything is kinda floaty right now and I need to figure out some real direction and a strategy for keeping it all together when I do find people and how to keep them together and what not, but it will come. It will come because it's my purpose and I know it.

I'm going to find them and I'm going to get the word out so that when newbies show up they'll know where to go.

If you've read this far btw - you're practically a saint. So, saint person - do you have any other ideas of how I can look for people like me or places to put myself on the Internet that that they might be drawn to?

You know..... when my dog was lost... we posted up about 600 fliers around our neighborhood. Hmmmm....

So? Any Ideas?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dear Fire Ants,

Dear Fire Ants,

I've been intensly curious about you the past year and a half that I've lived in Mexico. Up North we don't have your kind and I've been terribly curious about you all and what it's like to be stung by one of you. I've asked all sorts of people and always enjoy the stories they tell about your silly anty antics.

My husband told me that when he was a kid they used to pick you guys up by your backs so that you couldn't sting the holder and run around chasing each other so that they could aim your fiery ass at each other and ..... well, make you sting somebody. Poor kids are creative.

I'm sorry to say though, dear fiery bastards that I am no longer curious about you. After being stung three times in the past week my curiosity is SATED and I'd appreciate if you'd stop educating me. I GET IT.

I guess I'd be a little pissed off too if all I did was work and never ever take a day off. I guess I'd be even a bit more pissy and a lot more retarded if my Dad was also my Grampa, brother and cousin. Maybe if you assholes stopped screwing ONE CHICK all the time - i.e. your MOM, Grama, sister and cousin all rolled into one - you might not BE so pissed off - and retarded. Inbreeding's not cool yo, in case you didn't get the memo, and if you get more than one chick, they won't be so worn out and busted I'll bet. Cuz damn. Just sayin'.

Anyhoo, I guess it's not your fault that my toes appear to be scary monsters, cuz yer retarded and all, but it still pisses me off that you've launched repeated attacks on them.

I should thank you though my dear little fiery assmonsters, for all at once I understand why it is that I live in land of concrete and why Mexicans insist on pouring concrete over every available surface and why nobody has a real yard. It took Chino and I over a year to find a house with a teeny patch of grass to call our own, and oh how thrilled I was to be able to move there! And now... not so much. Now I'm feeling rather Mexican-y and am dreaming concrete dreams.

They say the third times a charm and today after your third attack on my foot I've decided to make a trip to the Home Depot and come home with a little gift for you. I'm planning to go Hiroshima on your asses so consider this your warning.

I don't care if I throw down so much pesticide that my dog grows a third eye, mark my words, YOU WILL DIE. You and the ticks and beetles and everybody else are goin down and I'm going to stand by and smile the smile of a satisfied warrior, spray bucket in hand.

Shouldn'ta stung be bitches and you SURE AS HELL shouldn't have decided to take a detour off your path and run a scouting trail in my house last night. I was minding my own damn business trying to clean the house when I unsuspectingly ran across your little troupe and you all took offense. You stung me in my own house. On my own floor where sometimes my baby likes to hang out - or is forced to because these days she's figured out how to roll off the couch - but not how to brace herself for a fall. I'm not going to have the poor thing blissfully avoiding a concrete face-plant merely to be run-up-upon by a bunch of inbred asstankers ready to blow.

Tomorrow you die.

That is all.

Yours truly and sincerely with a heart full of hate,
- Gringa

Friday, June 25, 2010


I bought Daisy a high-chair a couple of weeks ago and have to admit that on my way home from the store I was SUPER geeked about the whole thing.

I don't know why exactly but this purchase for her seemed to trip my trigger like nothing else - it felt like Christmas!

Perhaps it's because I was getting tired of having to hold her on my lap when Chino and I were eating and try to hold a chicken bone in her mouth while feeding myself as well but... not really, I think I was just excited that she's getting bigger and is more fun and ... I don't know, it's hard to explain, just... something. Maybe I'm finnaly getting my mother-hormomones or something gooky like that.

Aaaanyhoo. She's taken to it pretty well and as you can see in the pictures she's pretty excited about the whole REAL FOOD thing she's got going on. Chino cooked the ever living shit out of some fajita meat (it's a Mexican thing, he can't help it) and it was so tough that we were able to give her a piece without worry that she would break off some and choke on it.

We're pretty damn amused during meal times these days watching her go at whatever we give her with some serious gusto and silly un-coordinated antics.

I recall in my before-baby-days to hearing parents say that they coudln't remember what was so great about life before their children, or what they DID without them and remember thinking ok CRAZY PEOPLE where's the pod that you hatched from???
But for real, I can't remember dinner ever being as fun as this. I DO remember sleeping for more than 33 hours in a week and being able to take showers and dress myself and do my hair on a regular basis and read books and watch t.v. - but whatever, that stuff will come back someday. For now though, I get the consolation prize of watching my baby attack a piece of steak like a sweet little fat.... hyena.

Monday, June 21, 2010

*********** If you're a Christian, somebody from Church, my Dad or anybody else that does not care for swearing please do not read this post. I'm going to swear a lot and say icky-nasty things. Just sayin'**********

A check out lady in Walmart made me cry last week.

The first check out girl didn't run my order through my WIC card and needed help canceling the order so over came bitch-lady. Bitch lady rang me up the right way but got cranky because I miss-counted the number of formula cans and she had to re-do the order all over again. She asked me how I could miss-count, gave me one of those look-you-up-and-down looks and actually laughed at me - not with me. THEN I took my card out of the reader too early, it didn't update properly and she had to do the order over AGAIN.

There were a couple of people behind me in line and I was already mortified so it didn't help when super-bitch turned to me and said loudly "YOU KNOW MAM, WE HAVE A LINE HERE."

The Fuck?

EXCUSE ME BITCH??? Really, did she REALLY get pissed at me and inform me that there was a LINE behind me? FUCK YOU YOU SYPHILITIC CRANK ASS HOR. I was quite aware of the LINE.

I had just got off of work and was running on about 6 hours sleep from the last TWO days so yes, I'm so sorry, I miss counted the cans but REALLY? SHUT YOUR HOR-HOLE AND JUST DO YOUR FUCKING JOB.

Of course at the time, I was insanely tired and so shocked that she scolded me in front of the people in THE LINE (that I was already embarrassed in front of) that I couldn't think angry thoughts. Instead. I cried.

I cried because I was tired and even though I work 40 hours a week I still fall below the poverty line and am eligible for WIC and know that without it we wouldn't be able to feed our baby and I DIDN'T FEEL LIKE BEING JUDGED FOR IT.

I cried because the people in line behind me were thinking that I was some spastic poor-lady living off the system who couldn't do shit right and was ruining their day by making them wait an extra 4 minutes and because a grown woman WALMART CASHIER decided to yell at me.

When I was walking out I started getting pissed and wanted to go and tell the lady's manager that she was a bitch to me but I just wanted to go home.

The next day I had to go back and lo-and-behold ended up in the same bitches line. She was polite but I SOO VERY MUCH wanted to tell her that she was out of line the day before and give her an ear-full but I didn't. I'm just not that type of person, but I wish I could be. I got up the balls to not say "Thank You" when she handed me my change and I didn't even say "You too" when she told me to have a good day. LOL for me, that is being rude.

Ah well. Shit happens. Perhaps one of these days I'll grow a set. Either that or it's all going to build up and I'm going to go postal in a Walmart - we'll see!

(p.s. thank you to Spell Check for correcting my spelling of "syphilitic" - lmao what would I do without you?!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

High Jacking Bastards!

OK, if you receive an e-mail from me that says "Re" in the subj. line please delete it!

My e-mail was taken over by a spammer today and sent (omg I'm going to freak out) Viagra and other ads to all of my contacts.

*My old church.
*Church ladies.
*My Dad.
*My other Dad.
*Respected bloggers that I've corresponded with over the years.
*A few ladies from back home that I haven't talked to in a couple of years who are really great people and used to be great friends but we you know, just sort of grew apart.
*A private school that I recently sent a resume to

You know, contacts like THAT. Aaaand all my friends irl and on the Internet.

If you'll excuse me I'm off to write a gagillion apologies and change my passwords now.

And die. Die a slow, embarrassing Viagra induced death. (lol bet it won't take long for rigor to set in!)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mi Amor

My husband is a partial stay at home Dad - PLUS a take-baby-to-work 4 days a week - Dad. He takes her to the flea market where he sells and manages to entertain, feed, change and love his baby all while haggling over prices and making change.

He's an amazing husband, so dedicated and loving and the more I see what's happened to marriages and relationships to so many people around me, the more thankful I am to have him and the luckier I feel. I gave up my home, family, job and school to move to Mexico so that we could stay together and although it's so hard, so damn hard to be away from my family and best friends - he's worth it.

He protects us.

He's strong and gentle.

He gives a lot of kisses.

And not just in my opinion but Daisy's too, he's the best place around to rest a weary head.

He's proud that he is a husband and that I am his wife. He's proud to be a Daddy and is crazy about our baby girl.

He's terribly bright about fixing things and building things but far too humble to admit it.

He probably won't read this post but luckily he doesn't need to read it to know that I love him. I love his corny humor that is so much like my Dads and I adore his smile. I'm terribly hard headed, stubborn as a mule and I wish I had more time to cook for him, but I'll be damned if I don't let him know every day that I love him.

I hope he feels appreciated, I vow to tell him more.

I don't know how to end this, don't know how it started, I just - love him.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Post Pregnancy Weird Shit: Goodbye Polyester

It's been almost 6 months since I gave birth to my first baby, Daisy. Check out her being a bad ass there to the right, she can sit up now all by her little self. I still can't grasp the whole concept that I for real, actually FOR REAL made a baby and gave birth, that I pushed that thing out into this world. I'm not sure I ever will believe it but weather I ever grasp it or not, my body - knows it. There's been a couple of strange changes that came with pregnancy and apparently are here to stay. This is a TMI post by the way, so you know... just so you know!

I am now allergic to Polyester.


That sentence makes me laugh because I know a lot of people with finer taste in clothing than I might say jokingly that they're allergic to Polyester but I never understood that notion. I have some really pretty shirts made of the Poly damn it! Aaaaand of course... I'm cheap.

Honestly though, if I put on a polyester shirt I have an almost immediate reaction to it - in my armpits.


Not a rash, no, nothing that simple, but instead my body makes some sort of chemical reaction with the fabric and 30 seconds later I start emitting a weird chemically B.O. that's practically nauseating. (I hope you weren't eating while reading this post.) No amount of deodorant helps and it seems actually the more deodorant applied the worse things get to smelling. In short - I reek.

Unfortunately it took me about 4 months after I gave birth to figure out the correlation and another month of being a weird smelly person to give up, give in, and get rid of my clothes. Who knew one person could have so many synthetic clothes btw?? SHIT.

Goodbye Polyester, how I loved you and your wrinkle free wonderfulness. You shall be missed but HOT DAMN I can't go on forever being the werido B.O. lady. Cuz damn. No. Bye Bye now.

The other strange thing gone awry with my body is closely related, it seems there are only a couple of deodorants on the market now that I'm also not allergic to. My old favorite, Suave Baby Powder produces the same weird chemical B.O. - not a regular B.O. - worse somehow - within seconds of application. I had one HELL of a time during pregnancy finding a deodorant that didn't do this to me but figured after I gave birth the phenomenon would go away.

Yeah no. It's worse now because now that I'm not pregnant the gel that worked while I was pregnant no longer works. Gels don't do shit for perspiring and it's 100 degrees here everyday now so you know, I need some help!

It took about 8 different brands to find one that works and a lot of time being a weird smelly lady during the process. It really sucks balls to have to start a new job and be starting a new friendship when you're going through a strange alien smelly phase. Kinda hard to impress people when you reek ya know? Asshole armpits.

Asshole chemical weird after-pregnancy-weird-shit!!

One cool thing though - my face is much clearer these days. I only have the occasional blemish now compared to the ever constant blemishes of the past. How cool is THAT?

To tell you the truth it's more than a fair trade. Goodbye pimples and goodbye Polyester, may you both rest in peace. There's more but this has been enough TMI for one post and I promise that if we ever meet in real life I'll wear my good deodorant and a nice cotton shirt.

Also, I promise to make my baby wear clothing. And do something with her hair. Cuz damn, baby be busted. Busted but sitting up! Go baby go!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Old but New

My new Cookware! Hot Damn if I get any more Mexican you're gonna see me sporting a rosary.

I'm referring to the earthenware pot in the front with the lil flowers on it. Chino's been craving for me to cook guisado in one of these for a couple of years now and yesterday we finally bought one. ($3.95!!) When I first moved here I honestly thought they were just for tourists and not actually functional.

Would you believe that the food didn't stick to the bottom? And the lid, the handle didn't get hot! I don't know how any of this is possible but I've got a feeling that earthenware is now my new favorite cooking vessel. I guess a thousand years or so of other people using it could have been a clue that they're pretty rad but lol WHO KNEW.

By the way how does it look juxtaposed in front of my Gramas 1978 Sears and Roebuck Mushroom canisters and my Turtle cookie jar??? We really are fusion-ing things up around here.

I adore those mushroom cookie jars by the way. I remember admiring them in my Gramas house for as long as I can remember and when she passed away I was just crazy to know who was going to take them. After a couple of days of helping my family clean out Gramas house and nobody moving them I finally got up the guts to whisper an inquiry to my Mom as to who would take them. My Mom smiled and took me over to her two sisters and asked them, at which point they all had a damn good laugh and informed me that they were relieved that anybody would want them!

I didn't realize it until just now writing this post that for me they were a big deal because they were from MY childhood but for my Gramas 7 daughters they were just some ugly thing that their Mom bought long after they were moved out of the house. I couldn't understand until just now why they wouldn't want them! They were interested in photos and objects from their childhood, not their Moms later bad taste in kitchen ware.

I felt as if I were receiving a huge treasure and they were just happy they wouldn't have to toss them or sell them. Brave from their response I got up the guts to ask about my Gramas Owl Lamp that also, know one had touched. I think my aunts about peed their pants laughing at this request and were just as thrilled that some crazy family member would take the monstrosity in.
I remember this two foot owl sitting on top of my Gramas gigantor wooden t.v. console and being in awe and half afraid of it as long as I remember the cookie jars. You can't tell in the picture but it's about two feet tall and the eyes and everywhere in the feathers that you see orange actually light up when you flick the switch and turn on the lamp. Bad. Ass.

Could there be a more hideous lamp on earth, I'm not sure, but I love it anyways. I love it because of the memories and I love it because I've always been a fan of misfits. My Grama loved it because her daughter made it for her in ceramics class and she had gaudy taste.

I keep it outside in our yard to freak out the neighbors and make them think I'm a witch or just a tad loony but would you know though that since we've moved here I've had not one but two inquiries into it from neighbors asking if I'd be willing to sell it?

....???..... LOL!!

It's nice to know that my Gramas taste did fit in somewhere in the world, just not where she lived.
Anyhoo I started this post to write about my new pot and here I've ended up. The earthenware pot really IS awesome and and it's a neat addition of old and new all in one. Here in Mexico more than ever I appreciate things with roots.

(p.s. really goofy might-not-make-sense-but-might guisado recipe in my comments section - share a better one if you've got it!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

For the Love of Potatoes

We might have corrupt police and funky water but it's not all bad. Case in point - these bitches to the right - HAM FLAVORED POTATO CHIPS.

LOL Betch ya don't got those back home!

Hammy goodness in a crispy chip - and I'd know - I tried them yesterday and honestly, they TASTE LIKE HAM.


I wonder how they'd go with a bologna and avacado sandwhich? Perhaps it would be too much of a clash of meats?

You realize, if they make a bologna chip, I'll die. Just sayin'

(p.s. how is the picture of a raw pork leg on the front not creepy as hell? Ew.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

More Fun With Police

I'm really jazzed up by the comments from last post *insert jazz hands if you wish* and I've got more to tell. It's fun and sort of a relief to finally share this stuff!

Ok, here's one of the crazier stories from a couple of months ago. Chino went off to the recycling center to hand in a bunch of coke cans and on the way there a traffic officer who was standing out on the corner of the street suddenly stepped IN to the street and in front of Chino's moving vehicle. Chino slammed his brakes and swerved to avoid lambasting this guy and then the officer waved at him to pull over. He read Chino a big riot act about how he was going to have to take him to jail for nearly killing a police officer and that it was all Chino's fault and many horrible things were going to happen to him. Chino tried to argue that the it was the officers fault and much arguing later came to the inevitable compromise of Chino giving the man some peso's "for the cokes" and heading on about his way.

When he arrived shaken at the recycling center and relayed what happened they laughed at him and said that that officer stands there all day every day doing the same exact thing to passers by. I know it's wrong, but I hope one of these days he really does get hit. Just a wee bit, not to kill or anything..... just you know.... a good wallop.

MATHILDE in Puerto Vallarta mentioned in the comments section of the last post that she's brave enough to refuse to pay the officers and make them take her to the actual station for a real ticket. We're too afraid to do that - especially with me, an American in the car. We've heard many stories about how if they think you or your family have money they'll "hold" you (i.e. kidnap) and try and scare you into taking out as much as you can from your ATM card or even making your family wire money. One man I know paid 2,000.00 USD to get out and that's something we're to scared to risk.

Chino was super pissed on night when an officer pulled us over for running a light (falsely, we were in the green) After arguing and much voice raising and chest puffing he officer told Chino that he should just pay him because otherwise the fine would be 400 dollars if we went to the station and if we didn't have the money that they would take our car away from us. Chino called the officers bluff and for the first time it backfired and the officer called CHINOs bluff back! (shit!) He told us we would have to follow him to the station but he warned first "Do you really want your pregnant wife walking home?" Chino was sooooo pissed (CHISPAS!) and didn't care at this point so off we went.

After about 1/4 of a mile of following the officer to the station he pulled over again in a grocery store lot and made Chino talk to him some more. He said "You're real brave, you must think you're really something to have the balls to go to the station." Chino told the man that he didn't HAVE 200 pesos to pay him and that he didn't have a choice but to go to the station. Thankfully the officer finally gave up and told Chino just to empty his pockets and give him everything he had and that would be fine. I think he ended up with about 86 pesos in change. Chino DID have the 200 pesos - he actually had our rent money in his wallet (2,500 pesos) but was smart enough to leave the wallet with me. (By the way, I was SOOO shitting my pants during this ordeal but Chino said he knew the whole time that the officer wouldn't go through with it.)

It's like a ritual that you have to carry out, it reminds me of some elaborate dance and sometimes it gets pretty elaborate. There's the arguing, the threatening, the excuses and finally the bargaining (we always bargain them down) and finally payment and telling each other to have a good day.

On Mexican Time mentioned that she was surprised that they pull us over (I think it's been about 12 times since we've lived here) sometimes without reason. They always say that they're just doing a random check to see if you have all of your paperwork in order or they'll come up with something silly like maybe your license sticker isn't in the right spot or your license plate is crooked. So yes, it really does happen and here it's actually not directed to tourists but to everyday citizens. Here on the border anyone with a vehicle is considered to have money and therefore is a target.
Anyhoo, it doesn't freak me out anymore but is sure has been fun to share it with you all! It's nice to be able to share what happens here and hear that it's not just us, and be reminded that the some of the Americans that don't know what it's like here find it shocking. I remember when I used to be shocked. LOL those days are long gone.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Fine Art of Bribery

I've officially lost count of how many times Chino and I have paid off the traffic police here in Mexico. The traffic police are separate from the regular police and this is what they do - they drive around (or sometimes just stand in the street,) pull people over with reason or at random, scare the shit out of them, threaten them and then let them go after they've offered a "solution" to the problem not involving going to the police station.

The "solution" is perhaps paying the officer to do you a "favor" or maybe it's pretending to believe that he's offering you a discounted fine if you pay him there on the street, others just strait out tell you what you need to pay them to make them go away and sometimes they'll just say "Give me money "for the cokes" and I'll let you go."

"For the Cokes," meaning - so I can go and buy some Coca Colas - is a HUGE figure of speech here and it seems everybody uses it. Sometimes it's used between friends like when if they give you a ride and you ask how much you owe them for gas and they'd say "Oh, just for the cokes." Usually though it involves bribery.

You need to get a new location in the flea market? Pay the guard "for some cokes" and he'll find you a good spot but you'd better be prepared to pay him for some MORE cokes to get the number of the person who owns the slot. Honest to God, when Chino and I were robbed the 3rd time and we had a lead on who did it and the real police (not the traffic police) came, they said they'd go check on the lead but first told us that we should pay for the cokes because they were doing something for us. We'd just had about $2,500.00 in stuff stolen from us and the police were asking us to BRIBE them to do something about it. Chino refused and the police never called us to say what they did.

Last January Chino went to get his drivers license and they told him he'd have to wait till July for it to come in (and unlike in the U.S. you don't get a paper that says you're legal, you just keep driving around with nothing) but a few weeks ago one of his family members told him that he has a friend at the DMV who would get it put through same-day - for a "favor." Forty dollars and one hour later and Chino was finally driving legal. On the way home from getting his license he was pulled over for a random inspection by the traffic police and ended up STILL having to pay the cokes because while the officer couldn't find anything wrong, he said that he would make something wrong if he didn't get some money for cokes.

Chino's getting really good at it these days though and I'm relieved. As soon as we're pulled over I stuff all of Chino's money and my money in my bra and we leave 20 to 50 pesos (2 - 5 dollars) in his wallet so that when he's asked to pay TWO HUNDRED dollars (because yes, they will try to scare amazing amounts out of you) Chino can say that we're horribly poor and are trying to feed our 10 children and that we're homeless and that he doesn't have a job and blah blah on and on until the traffic cops gets worn down by the talk and just takes what ever Chino has in his wallet. Sometimes it gets ugly and they have to do man-chest-puffing and yell at each other and say "chingow" a lot, but in the end they take the 20 and go.

These days we never pay more than 50 pesos unless Chino forgets to carry around change and gets pinched for 100 or 200 pesos but all in all it's not so bad. We don't complain about it because we pay the same when we're doing something wrong and when we're not. He DID drive the wrong way down a one way once, he DID drive without a license for about two years, got caught running a yellow light, and even took a turn where there was no turn allowed (he's kind of a sucky driver ;D) and he's never received a real ticket for any of it.

Actually though, here where we are there are no tickets. When you have to pay a FOR REAL traffic fine (if they exist?) you don't get a slip of paper to pay later, you are escorted by the officer to the station and you pay then and there or have your family bring you some money or you leave on foot because your car is no longer yours. So no, we don't complain about having to pay the officers off weather we're in the right or wrong.

It all seemed so shocking when we first moved here and now it's so common place it amazes me to think that I've sat here and wrote out this whole post with nothing but a glimmer of "this is insane" shining in the back of my mind. In case you're wondering? We tried to go to the station and pay a real ticket once, but the officer wouldn't take us, it just doesn't happen.

Go out to get tripe fajita tacos, drive around a heard of donkeys, grab a snow cone from a man selling them from his bicycle cart, pay off the traffic cop and go home to your neighborhood where dogs live on roofs and chickens live on the side of houses. Who needs to fall down a rabbit hole when you can just come to Mexico?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The little ways we tell the truth....

Chino and I have found that Daisy loves LOVES getting the HELL out of our house - and going to the mall. The mall here is freaking awesome because it has two arcades a huge movie theatre and a CAROUSEL!!! A beautiful carausel that runs all the time for only 13 pesos (1 dollar) and that my baby happens to love.

I noticed though a bit of a difference in the choice of animal for Daisy to ride when it comes to my husband and I. This first picture is her very first time and for her very first time on a beautiful carousel with lots and lots of sweet white and brown and pink horses to ride - Mommy chose the only gigantic dragon in the lot. LOL I'd like to say it was just because green is my favorite color or that I've got a boner for dragons but I'd be lying because the exact thought going through my head was "I need to find something that fits her personality. Ahhhhhh a dragon... perfect."

And Chino? His choice? A perfectly sweet little zebrah pony - how nice. Difference? A tad. LOL he knows damn well she's a devil baby - all those smiles be damned - but he at least has the decency to pretend it's not so and chose a nice figure for his baby to ride.

Okay OKAY so we love her to death - demon or not - and she IS getting better these days although she's still deamed "The worst baby they've EVER seen" by Chino's family. So proud.

Every once in a while she'll go up to 15 minutes without being held in our arms - and for that we're quite grateful - and when she's being particularly difficult I break out into my impression of a horribly over exaggerated,, stereotyped, 85 yr old Southern Baptist, Black woman - to make myself laugh and freak Chino out.

"Whooo laawwwwddy. LAWWWDDY da deyvils CHALLDD. Oh spirit abiiiddee in me for dis here is a deeemon baby dat I be a holdin' LAWWD HAYLP meh! DAYYYVIL baayybe. DAYVIL! You ole dayvil you step on back uh now!"

It makes me laugh ok? I promise to never do it in public. Chino would divorce me I think.

After she went the second time with Chino I pointed out that at least he didn't choose the LLLAAAAAMMMMEEEE chair that they always have for the pansy kids to sit on if they're too afraid (lol bring on the hate mail, I'm playing ok?) of riding the horses - and he said that he'd never even noticed it, and if he'd HAD he would have used it! SUPER lllaaaaaaaammmeee. Just when you think you know somebody, geesh.

Ah well. At least I know he's not too far off from me - it didn't take much prompting to get him to pose her for this last picutre.

That btw - is a trash can.