Monday, October 19, 2009

Me gusto mucho Mexico!

I know.  Every place I go usually turns into my new favorite place.  Well - Mexico is no exception.

The people are as warm as the Hermosillo sun.  Really --- we went to a BBQ last night with friends we've met over the last month (check out the Mexican feast in the pictures below), our lawyer's wife took me to her hairdresser (that rates right up there under "necessities"), the cable guy fixed our air conditioner while he was hooking up cable TV, and our landlord and her husband want to take us out for dinner.  The amazing thing is --- most of these people speak very little English and are willing to put out such an effort to make things better for us.  Now, THAT's warm hospitality.

We settled into our third house in less than a month and are very happy here.  It's a big, sprawling bungalow in a gated community and is close to the office and airport.  Best part is we have two guest rooms, so please consider this an invitation!  Our landlord did an amazing job of decorating the house and ironically, there is a lot of African art, including masks that are similar to ones we have collected on our travels.  As I've said before, this is a long way from living in a tent in the Kalahari!



   

The pool apparently closes down in the winter because it is "too cold". As in most things, "too cold" is a relative term as the day time temps should be around 20C in January --- I remember Brad, Anette, and friends from school tubing on the May long weekend in Idaho when the water temperature barely hit 10C!



I'm still taking my on-line Spanish lessons, and when I get a bit better, will also see if there is a school nearby where I could do some volunteer work.  Roger hasn't had much time to learn Spanish so jokingly says he is getting by on his boyish charm --- thing is --- he usually does!  In the meantime, we continue with "Spanglish" and hand gestures to make ourselves understood --- sort of an ongoing game of charades.

I'm not sure if Sonora is different from other parts of Mexico but we are once again, learning how to live and work in another country:

  • Where Spaniards routinely kiss everyone on meeting; the Mexicans are a country of hand shakers (which may account for the spread of H1N1).  Whether it is the person delivering bills, employees arriving for work, or general greetings - a warm handshake is always offered.


  • The country is clearly trying to stem the spread of H1N1 and it is not unusual to have security guards offer hand sanitizer gel when entering stores or restaurants.  Shopping carts are routinely sprayed and cleaned as well.


  • Every bill and cheque is delivered and picked up --- no using the excuse "the cheque is in the mail" around here!  Roger has found that typically invoices need to be paid within 5 to 14 days --- and often cash is expected --- a far cry from 30 to 60 days terms in Canada.

  • At the parking lots of larger stores there are older gentlemen, fluorescent vests and whistles at the ready, whose job is to help unload your groceries, take back your cart, and help you back up!  We keep change handy as a few pesos are always appreciated.
The name game...

Wherever I travel, "Heather" still appears to be a difficult name to pronounce...In Madagascar I was "Miss Heffer", in Botswana I was called "Mma or Auntie" by the locals, in Spain I was often called "Mrs. Roger" and in the office here in Mexico I am known as Maria.  The guys were having trouble with my first name which apparently translates to "Hester" so I told them my middle name was Mary which made things easier.  Roger translates to Rogilio so now we just have to remember our new names and answer when people call out for us!

Roger is going to Veracruz, Mexico on the east coast at the end of October for a mining convention.  And what luck --- there is a deep sea fishing trip as part of the organized events that he is signed up for.  Can't wait to see those pictures when he returns.

"A journey is best measured in friends, than in miles"  Tim Cahill

We experienced Mexican hospitality first hand last night with an evening of making new friends, drinking cold beers, listening to Latin music and eating undoubtedly the best tacos we've ever tasted.  These aren't the ones you make from a taco kit, or eat at Tex-Mex restaurants --- these were fantastic and my mouth is still watering.  Fortunately Perla and Roberto, our hosts, sent home leftovers so we'll be able to have more today.  Flour tortillas that melt in your mouth, grilled green onions, peppers, homemade salsa and guacamole....it was heaven on a plate...and the dessert was amazing, too.



Perla (above) was the realtor who found us this great house and was the hostess for our first social outing.


The tacos were muy delicioso..



And the cake was ... magnifico!


Left to right: Edwin (our lawyer), Rogilio, Roberto (Perla's husband who is a Federale policeman and soon to graduate from law school), Javier (Edwin's uncle and who is the Importer for goods from Canada/U.S. for Roger and was the catalyst for introducing us to Edwin and Perla in our quest for a house)


Left to right:  Sandra (Javier's wife), Perla (who is a realtor and real estate lawyer), me, and Julia (Edwin's wife who is also a lawyer).

It was just one big happy family gathering where sisters and cousins have fun together.  These lovely girls were so well behaved and polite and who are all learning English.

So, we've started a new chapter of Kinley Travels and hope we can put down some roots.  It feels good to have made some friends, and experiencing more of Mexico than just the resort towns we've been to over the years.  And remember, if you tire of bundling up to beat the cold....our welcome mat is rolled out and waiting for you.

Hasta luego.

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