Mexico Trek!   Trekkers DISPATCH: August 25 Monica's Log

"I’m not tardy! I’m on Mexico time!"

Trivia!The next time you’re late for class, try telling this to your teacher. Tell them it’s all part of experiencing Mexican culture and you should get extra credit for coming late. (OK, maybe it wouldn’t really work…)

Here in Mexico you have to allow LOTS of time for EVERYTHING you do. Take today for example:

I was supposed to meet Shawn at the Tasquena station (the blue line of Mexico City's extensive subway system) at noon. Let’s just say I didn’t exactly make it...

At the "Casa de Cambo," where I went to change my American dollars into pesos, they informed me they didn’t have any more pesos (Mexican money) ("nada, cero, no hay, no"). So I had to go to the Banamex bank. At Banamex, you pick a number and wait to talk to the teller. I was number 153. The display was on 138. I waited and waited, then I waited and waited, and then for fun I waited some more. I kept myself busy thinking about the money I wanted. When you change money you have to be careful about how many pesos they give you because it’s not like for every dollar you get one peso. For every dollar you get 9.175 pesos. I wanted to change $40, so I had to figure out how many pesos they would give me. (Do you know the answer?) Well I had plenty of time to do that!

To give you an idea of prices here, I ate excellent tacos at a "puesto," or small street store, for 2 pesos each. Muy delicioso! But in a restaurant where you sit down, the tacos might be 6-8 pesos. (How much is that in dollars?)

So it was finally my turn and I went up to the counter. BUT they saw that my checks already had a date on them: August 18, 1998 (Shawn and I are sharing traveler’s checks, and when he originally signed them, he put the date on a few). I tried to explain in slow Spanish what had happened (it wasn't my fault! It was SHAWN’S fault!). This helped, plus my name, which is very Spanish, plus my passport, finally got me my 367 pesos!

So I met Shawn at 12:40 pm, forty minutes late. As the locals here say with a shrug, "Asi es Mexico." That's Mexico!



Related Dispatches: 
Monica - Personal Journal: CULTURE SHOCK!
Monica - I’m not tardy — I’m on Mexican time!
Monica - What’s bigger than Godzilla and has 250,000 heads?
Monica - Food fit for emperors!
Monica - Montezuma’s Revenge — An Ode
Shawn - Personal Journal: Is the Internet broken, or is it just me?!?

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