Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cancun day and Luis, paisano de Miguel

Yesterday we went to Cancun for what I thought would be a quick trip. We wanted to go to Telebodega and Costco. Sounds simple and quick...right? I always make a list for myself but my first clue should have been when Miguel sat on the couch and made himself a list.

Armed with our lists, we hailed a cab to the ferry (the golf cart has been out of service since Tuesday). First delay - when trying to buy the ferry tickets they checked my Ultramar passcard and found it expired. "Go over there", we were told, to get a new card. The new rule for foreigners to get an Ultramar pass is to provide a copy of the FM3. I don't carry around a copy of my FM3, so that left me out of the renewal for now. Miguel, having lost his passcard when he lost his wallet a few months ago, needed a copy of his electoral id in order to get a new passcard.

Off he went to make his copy while I sat on a rock beside the ferry office and people-watched. He was gone long enough that we missed the ferry, and I was beginning to wonder what happened to him. Seems he only had a 500 peso note to pay for the copy and they couldn't (or wouldn't) change it for him, so he had to walk over to the lottery office and buy some tickets in order to get change, and then go back and get his copy.

So, we made the noon ferry. Luis, our Cancun taxi driver, picked us up at the ferry. 'Happy New Year' pats on the back and hand shakes and we were off.

First stop - the IMSS office beside the IMSS hospital. Luis was not sure about this office deal, he just knew about the hospital and the offices at the back of the hospital. Nope, we knew about those offices too, but we wanted to go to the one beside the hospital. I knew he didn't think we knew what we're talking about, but we assured him there was an office there as well, and that's where we wanted to go. If we were keeping track, that would be 1 for us, 0 for Luis.

At the office Miguel ran in to check on the status of his transaction; he has been trying for almost a year to move his pension money from another bank in a city far away to one in Cancun. Last we checked (several weeks ago), it was 'in processo'. Yesterday, it was still 'in processo'. Even Miguel has run out of patience with this 'processo'; he fully expects he will never see that money.

Next stop, some electrical store near Mercado 23 where Miguel needed some stuff to prepare the electricity at his property for 220 volts. Luis and Miguel debated about exactly where it was he wanted to go. Luis was correct. Now we were even. 1-1.

Third stop, the drug store where we buy Miguel's burn gel and my medication. We didn't have to explain any of this to Luis, he knew exactly where we wanted to go. Luis was now ahead, 2-1, and that's how it goes...hard to beat a Cancun cab driver at directions.

Next stop, Telebodega. "Which one?", asked Luis. The big one, I said - the one with three levels, on a corner. Luis knew where I meant. In there we purchased a stacking washer/dryer, to be delivered in two weeks. This means we will no longer have linty clothes, maybe? But it also means taking down some shelving that has only been there for a few months. We seem to do a lot of 'undoing' of former projects. Not really poor planning, just replanning, is how I like to think about it.

After Telebodega we were off to Costco, and by now I was hungry and thinking about the delicious pizza they have there. But first we decided to shop. And there were no people handing out free food samples, must be too late in the day?

My gosh, we loaded the cart - a memory foam mattress for the bed at the apartment, two plastic patio chairs, and two big boxes of other stuff, mostly fruit and food. At the cash, they told me my card was expired (or about to expire?), but they let me pay for my stuff and I could have just left if I'd wanted to. But I didn't want to, I wanted to renew my card, and unlike Sam's, they cannot do it at the cash.

So we headed over to customer service and there I was told that she could not renew my card because it originated in Canada. I would need to take out a new card, Costco Mexico. Ok, fine. And I can have one person added free, and a second added for 100 pesos. So Miguel and Luis got added too. We all got our pictures taken, and our new cards. I guess that makes it official - Luis is almost like family now, he's on my Costco membership.

By now I was really hungry but Miguel asked - do we want to eat here or do we want to go to La Parilla? I knew that meant he wanted to go to La Parilla - pizza just isn't his favorite thing to eat, but beef at La Parilla is near the top of his list.

But first we had to go to Walmart because Costco didn't have everything we needed. At least 45 minutes later and we were finally done shopping. At Walmart we bought a big plastic tote and loaded it full and had to rearrange everything in order to stuff it into Luis' car.

La Parilla didn't disappoint us. Miguel had beef something-or-other, Luis tried the Pollo Frita at my suggestion (chicken breast covered in a sauce made from the squash flower), and I had chicken fajitas Maya delivered on a sizzling cast iron platter (it was tasty but did not come with the usual fajita sides).

Luis took us back to the ferry and we said our farewells. Until next time. And then it suddenly dawned on me that we did not have our golf cart to get our load home, and I wondered how hard it would be to get a cab to take the time to load our stuff at the dock so we could fit in just one cab. By the time we tipped the ferry workers, I had just enough to pay one cab driver.

We were lucky that we got a station wagon taxi, and after loading up and pulling out of the parking area, he waited while I ran to the ATM and got some cash. Ah...all was well now. We had all our stuff, we had money, and we were back home. Seven hours after we left, not quite the quick trip I had envisioned. But productive! Should do us for a couple of weeks, I think?!


Islagringo said...

And that's why I hate to go to Cancun! It is always one extra thing on top of one extra thing and before you know it...a whole day spent over there!

If you haven't already, you should at least check out the big Telebodega on Lopez Portillo.

Ann said...

I know it was a long trip, but it sounds like you got alot accomplished!

IslaZina said...

Your Telebodega is the one surrounded by tallers and happens to be the only one that produces a computerized factura. Helping a friend with a factura find where he was going led to this knowledge. We stopped at one that wasn't open and asked a security guard if he could identify which one, since there was no address on the factura.

Sue said...

Wayne and Zina - yes, it's the one on Lopez Portillo. I have never shopped at the other one(s), I like to see the full selection.

And yes, I got a lot accomplished. Feels good!

Bennie said...

Well heck Sue, I'm in Toronto, maybe I should have renewed your Costco card while I'm up here.

I can see why you are in Cancun, the weather here is going to be brutal this week. I know why you like Isla so much now.

And what's this about getting a new washing machine? I thought you loved your old one? I thought all you were going to get was a dryer?

Sue said...

Bennie - weather is just one reason I love being in Mexico (but it's a BIG one!). Sorry you have to endure the gloomy Canadian winter there in Toronto, and sorry I'm not there just to meet up with you for dinner. You'll just have to come down here.

I plan to use my old washer for most things, but the new washer is heavy-duty so I'll be able to do bedspreads and mattress protectors better with the new washer. I'll move the old washer to the back terrace and do the laundry there, which will make it easier to hang up as the lines are right there too. Casi Mexicana!