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Mexico FAQ

19 March 2010
Dave Clingman

I finally got our tub installed and working, and I enjoyed a very long soak late one night last week.  The next day, the water heater decided it didn't want to work anymore.  We have checked several places before finding just today a store that sells the element for this ancient electric water heater.  Most people in Mexico use gas water heaters, because electricity is very expensive here.  Fortunately, we enjoy free electricity here in the San Jose del Tajo RV Park.  One of the places we checked had a small portable water heater used to warm a cup of water for coffee or a basin of water with which to wash.  Andrew pointed out that it cost only thirty five pesos (slightly less than three US dollars), and so we bought it to try it.  It works perfectly.  It warms the entire tub to just the right temperature and no hotter.  Yay.

Because the free internet (from our neighbor, one of the Park's owners) that we have been enjoying for the eleven months we've lived here (yep, we've been living here in Guadalajara, Mexico for nearly a full year now) has become a bit flaky lately, we decided to check into other options.  We decided to sign up for an eighteen month contract with the big cellular company here in Mexico,
Telcel, for fast internet by cellular.  We spent over an hour last week asking about options and filling out the contract, and were told it would take three to five days to begin receiving cellular internet.

The next day, someone visited the Park to check that we live here, but no one was in the office to let them know that we do live here.  They left a note, which we picked up the next day.  We called the people, and they said they would visit us the next day (Saturday) around noon.  They never visited, never called.  We called them again Monday, but that was a holiday (Benito Juarez's birthday).  So, we called again on Tuesday and were told everything was fine with them, that Telcel should have our cellular internet ready for us.  We waited one more day to be sure and then drove uptown to the Telcel office, where we waited over half an hour before being told they had no record of our contract.

We had been talking about other options during the past week, and we weren't even sure we really wanted to buy into an eighteen month contract for $654 pesos (a bit over fifty US dollars) per month.  So, when they couldn't find our contract, we simply walked out.  Ten minutes later, they called us to say they had found our contract and could give us the modem and service in 20 minutes.  We weren't interested.  We went over to the mall across the street and bought a prepay month to month cellular internet with the other Mexico cellular company,
Movistar, which costs less but also has a lower data limit.

We also signed up for a landline telephone and unlimited internet.  So, in a couple weeks, we'll have an actual telephone and "real" internet.  Meanwhile, the cellular internet modem wouldn't work on our computers, because we are running Windows 7.  We drove to the mall to get a refund on the modem, but the store told us we had to go to the main cellular internet office down the street.

We drove down there and waited another half hour before someone could wait on us.  The Movistar office is much smaller than Telcel, but the wait was nearly as long.  After nearly half an hour talking about options with the salesman, he gave us a driver to get our cellular modem to work.  However, when I got home, though the modem found a signal and linked up, I still could not internet.  It would work for a minute or so, and then everything I tried to do would route me to one of Movistar's websites that showed a blank page.  Very frustrating.

Needless to say, we returned the modem today.  First we went back to the Movistar office and waited twenty minutes for the same man who served us yesterday to tell us they do not issue refunds there, that we would have to return the modem to the store where we bought it.  Yesterday, the store told us that we had to get the refund from the Movistar office.  Very frustrating.  When we returned to the store, they finally did refund our money.  So, until our telephone line is installed in a couple weeks, we'll continue limping along using our kind neighbor's internet wifi.

But the week has not been all frustration.  It has been quite a good week overall.  I finally acquired the information I need to begin working for a new website design client.  Another new client has accepted my offer to work on her site.  We got Mela spayed, and she is healing nicely.  The tub is working again now.  We finally did get the modem refunded.  We'll have our very own landline telephone and our own fast internet soon.

We also enjoyed a free concert Tuesday evening at the
Ex Convento del Carmen near downtown Guadalajara.  They often have free concerts on Tuesday.  We attended a few of them last year, but then they became so popular that it was difficult to find a seat.  This week's concert was a trio of piano, oboe and "fagot" (please no gay jokes), according to the Guadalajara Reporter, the English language newspaper for which I write an article every other week.  We looked up the word "fagot" in our pda dictionary and found that it is a bunch of metal pieces that are struck with a hammer.  That sounds interesting and fun.  It turns out, though, that we should have looked up the word in our pda's Spanish dictionary, for "fagot" is Spanish for "bassoon".  Still, we were very pleased with the concert and enjoyed it immensely.  We arrived early hoping to be able to get somewhere near the front, and we actually got two seats on the front row at the center aisle, the best seats in the house for a free concert!

Andrew gets two weeks off from work, both from the school and from his private clients, for Easter, beginning this coming Friday.  We are considering what to do, or more accurately, where to go for part of that time.  We're considering
Puerto Vallarta, though we'll probably not go there again at this time.  We are considering making another trip to Patzcuaro and Morelia area, and maybe returning by the coastal route, way out of the way but a good way to see more of Mexico.  Or we might make a short three day trip to Manzanillo, which is south of here on the coast.

Well, I am off to soak again.  Such is the good life.

Have a great weekend!

Read update 10 March 2010

Read update 28 March 2010

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