Welcome to Mexico!
By Victoria Schmidt
After living here a dozen years, there are still things that confuse me about Mexico. For a culture so easy going, why do some things have to be so difficult? Take telephones. If you are new here, you are learning that first you’ll need to have to know if the number you are calling is a landline or a cell phone. If dialing cell-to-cell, you can dial the 10-digit number. If dialing landline to cell, you need to add 045. That’s for local calls. I get confused on long distance calls cell to landline.
And the older I get, the more confused I get on international long distance, there are different numbers to dial from Mexico to the USA if you are using a mobile phone than if you are calling from a landline. Oh, and do you realize how many people no longer have landlines? But rumor has it that some of this will change this coming August. I am sure someone will explain it to us.
Locks. I quickly learned that there are a lot of locks. The first place we rented had a different key for every single door in the house. I felt like a jailer. And locks here in Mexico, are different. Insert key, turn twice to the right (or left) and we all need to jiggle them. Some of the newer locks are easier.
Driving. Last week I saw a car driving down the ciclopista. That is a bike path! But there were also three dogs chasing the car. I was in fear for the life of the dogs. The driver finally cut off the ciclopista. But this isn’t the first time I’ve seen the ciclopista misused. I’ve seen motorcycles, “quads” and electric carts using it. Yet, even with the beautiful bike path, what I don’t see is bicycles using the path. They are out in the traffic, usually going the wrong direction.
We, as drivers, must always be on the lookout for bikes and motorcycles, but it would be really nice if those riders/drivers weren’t weaving in and out of traffic and passing on the wrong side of vehicles that are in the actual driving lane. I had a bicyclist shake his finger at me because he felt he didn’t have enough room as he was illegally passing me on the right (outside of the ciclopista) when a large truck was driving over the ever-fading center-line.
Now, it may seem like I hate driving in Mexico, but I don’t. I enjoy a challenge. And I also enjoy how polite other drivers are compared to my native Minnesota. Here, people actually will allow you into traffic even when there is a very long line. In Minnesota, we had to put lights everywhere…even in the merge lanes because many of the drivers had a “This is MY spot and NO ONE will be allowed to cut in front of me” attitude. I feel I can point this out as a former member of this club.
One thing I noticed, and loved, when I first came to Mexico, are the laws about trees. Trees are good. Trees make oxygen. Trees give shade. But has anyone in the Mexican government and businesses ever thought of how many trees are needed to produce all the paperwork they require? Copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses, utility bills, CURP cards, Passports, visas are needed for anything official. For me the strangest was not one, not two, but three letters of recommendation for a Permanente resident to get a contract on a phone for 18 months that was being paid for by credit card. Really?
Column: Welcome to Mexico
Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. She is a graduate of Moorhead State University, Minnesota and graduated Cum Laude with a BA degree in Radio, Television and Film. At 23 she was hired at multi-national media corporation, where she worked 10 years as their Director for Operations and Finance. She then ran her own business consulting company. She has won multiple community service awards. Writing has been a passion of Victoria’s since Junior High. She has been active in the writing and publishing business for over 40 years and has been a columnist for the Ojo del Lago since 2008.