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How to get stuff in Mexico

Every day I'm learning new things about life in Mexico. Some things are cheap, easy, and straightforward. Other things are expensive and complicated.

How to get your car washed

  1. Go somewhere and park in a parking lot. Someone will come up to you and ask if you want your car washed.
  2. Wait for someone to knock on your door and ask you if he can wash your car.

How to get pot

I was chatting with my neighbor Sarah a few days ago, and at one point she asked me quietly, "Do you smoke pot?" Turns out she bought some from a guy in town. He wanted to sell her $2000 MXN (about $110 US) worth, but she convinced him to cut the order in half. It was still way too much for her, so if I wanted some I could just have it. So I go into her house and she pulls out a gallon-size ziplock bag filled with buds. And then she takes an empty gallon bag and starts taking handfuls and handfuls of the stuff and putting it in the bag for me. 

How not to get a TV

  1. Go to Coppel. It's a nice store, and the salespeople were friendly, but after I decided on the TV I wanted, they wrote up the order and I took it to the service desk. There I learned that they didn't have that TV in stock (except the floor model, which they would happily sell me at full price), or I could wait to get it delivered in ten days. I decided to go with delivery. But then it turned out their system wouldn't accept any of my US credit cards.
  2. Go to Soriana. (For background information, Soriana and Mega, another chain, have merged. People describe Soriana as the Mexican Walmart and Mega as the Mexican Target. I kind of like the store. The one in Chapala is much bigger and has a lot more than the Walmart in Ajijic.) I had a Mexican friend with me, fortunately, and he was able to translate everything, but even so, the experience was enough to make me never go back to Soriana. First we ask the salesperson for help, and she has to get the actual salesperson for the electronics department. That takes about 15 minutes. Then we ask him if they have the TV in stock, and he goes to the computer and says yes. So I buy the TV with my credit card. Then he says to wait while he gets the TV from the back, but first there seems to be an impromptu staff meeting on the floor, so we wait another 15 minutes. Finally he goes in the back and comes out with an empty box. The only they have is the floor model. I say I don't want the floor model. So they say no problem, go to the service desk for a refund. So I go to the service desk and she says it will take up to 72 hours for the refund to be credited back to my card. I'm already not happy. They shouldn't have sold me the TV in the first place if they didn't have one. But then she hands me a slip of paper saying this is store credit. I am now getting mucho enojado. I say, "Quiero mi dinero," only in a loud voice. I turn to my friend and ask him if I'm being unreasonable. After all, maybe things are just different here. He says no, this is ridiculous, and I am right to be angry. So finally the manager comes over and says I can exchange the store credit for cash at any register. So I go to the checkout and hand her the slip, and she can't do it without manager override permission. And the manager comes over and does the override, but the cashier doesn't have enough money in her drawer, and none of the others do either. So back to the service desk, and I don't know where they went, but they finally give me almost $10,000 MXN in cash.
  3. Go to Best Buy in Guadalajara. They have lots of TVs, but no one seems to know whether they can deliver to Ajijic and what that would cost. They were trying to figure it out, but their computer system was down.

How to get a TV

Order from Amazon Mexico. I ordered it on Thursday afternoon, and it arrived Friday morning.

How to get permanent residence

This is still pending, but I hope it will work out fine. I hired a lawyer to take care of this for me. She's charging me $2200 (about $120 US), and the Mexican government charges more than $5000. She says after two weeks I will need to go to the immigration office in Chapala to get fingerprinted, and her assistant will meet me there to assist. Then two weeks after that I will have my permanent resident card.

How to get drinking water

  1. Watch and wait for the truck to come down the street. Go out with your empty bottle and they will give you a new one.
  2. Get your neighbor to give you the name of someone you can call when you need a delivery.
  3. Get an under-sink filtration system for the kitchen. I'm planning to do this, and I've contacted Antonio, but he hasn't come by yet to check out the situation and make sure he can put a filter in.

How to get American TV and a friend

I got a recommendation to call a local guy and he made a recommendation for setting me up with a VPN so I can access US television. So he came over earlier this week and did the install, but everything wasn't working right, and he came back yesterday and got it working finally. His name is Alberto (Al for short).

Al and I get to chatting and he asks me where I'm from, and I tell him I moved here from Seattle but I'm from New York originally. And he says his husband is from New York. And later, he asks me what "nocloset" is, and I explain to him, and he says, "Oh, you're gay too." 

So he mentions that he and his husband have friends who live in my neighborhood, and I should meet them. They're coming over for dinner next Sunday. So he invites me to join them.

And I now can get American TV (local stations from Missoula, Montana and a whole slew of cable stations, plus Netflix and Amazon Prime) on little TV the sellers of the house left behind and on my new 50" Samsung UHD TV.

How to get furniture

A few days earlier I made a shopping expedition on my own to look for furniture. I needed living room tables (the sellers left a loveseat and a chair). I also needed a desk and chair.

I found tables I loved. Bought a coffee table and two side tables. He said he would deliver (no charge) and his delivery team would bring the credit card terminal so if I didn't like them or they didn't fit, they'd take them back, no harm no foul. And I'm really happy with them.

I also found a desk and chair at a shop that makes everything to order. That should be ready in another week or so.

How to other stuff 

The Lake Chapala Society has regular bus trips to Guadalajara for various activities. This past Thursday they had a shopping trip to a large mall and to Costco, which is right across the street from the mall.

I didn't buy a whole lot. Some kitchen stuff I've been looking for, including dishes and a pretty bowl I can use for fruit, and a big jar of natural peanut butter at Costco. Because peanut butter.

At restaurants and coffee shops, vendors come in with all sorts of stuff. Fruits and vegetables. Household goods. Jars of what might be honey or face cream. Anything they can carry, pretty much, and stuff I am amazed they are carrying all over town to try to sell.

At a shop in Ajijic I found some coasters I liked.

And there's also a headshop in Ajijic where I was able to get a pipe. So all that pot won't go to waste. They also sell sex toys.

Coasters from a shop in Ajijic
Fruit bowl from Soriana

Dishes. Got them at a home furnishings store in Galerias Mall in Guadalajara.

Cute little bowls. They came in a set of ten (two of each design). Got them at Costco.

Living room tables

Selling baskets, fans, hats, umbrellas, and lots more, at a local eatery


  1. V entertaining! You have plenty of fodder for blogging. Have you had a boring day yet?

  2. Glad you're having fun getting set up!

  3. Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has proved your hard work and experience you have got in this field. Brilliant .i love it reading. Tramites curp


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