Monday, March 17, 2008

6AM - Doing maintenance chores!
This morning I'm up early doing maintenance. Checking all of the lights is best when it is still a bit dark. A forward clearance light was out. The ground connection was loose, and tightened.

Also, the horn was not working! On reading the manual to look at the fuse diagram, it was found that the horn and cruise control are on the same circuit. So that is why the cruise control didn't work!

Checking the horn fuse, found that the fuse was missing! Hmmmmm? Must have fallen out!?

I am sort of lazy about doing routine maintenance chores, preferring to put them off. If it were not for Auto Maintenance Pro, I probably would miss checking a ton of things.

There are soooooo many things to check!

8AM - Lavandería.
I took my clothes to the laundry [lavandería], which is just down the street from our Nite Camp. My clothes are promised to be washed and dried by 2PM.

Now to find Señorita Tioga a tire store!

9AM - Unillantas de Juchitán.
Unillantas de Juchitán is a big, modern looking tire store. You might expect a store exactly like this to be found in any city in the USA. Besides needing a new tire, I also wanted my tires rotated. And, it was just about time for rotation too.
Unilllantas de Juchitán.

Tire costs are much higher in Mexico than in the USA. I bought a Michelin tire that cost $2,447 pesos [1 peso=10 cents US]. I went over all of the costs involved. Mounting, rotating, balancing; the works. Including all the costs, I will pay $2,732 pesos.

What is the total tire price?
I've had some interesting experiences with pricing in Mexico. When I got the quotation for Chito's electrical job in Santa Rosalia a few years back, the price was quoted complete. But when the time came for payment, things were added. I was naive back then, but no more! I am a tough guy now.

When the sales lady gave me the price, I asked if there was anything more. Is this "todo a todo?" [meaning the whole price, nothing more?]. "Yes, this is the whole price", the lady told me. Twice more I asked this question, and even showed her the total price on my little calculator. I was assured that it was "todo a todo".

Todo a todo plus a little bit more.
Yet, when it came time to pay, more was added. "For the lead in the balancing", the lady explained. I told her that in my country, and in your country, "todo a todo" means "todo a todo," Not "todo a todo" and some more. And I sat down and waited for her to prepare an invoice for $2,732 pesos which was agreed is todo a todo.

After about 15 minutes of messing with her calculator, the cashier was given approval to accept the $2,732 pesos that we had agreed upon.

Mexican money fools me.
Interestingly when I went to pay, I tried to pay with $500 pesos [$50US] thinking that this amount was $500US. Even though I am here in Mexico in my 6th year, I am still messed up by the extra zero in the money.

When I receive $5,000 pesos at the ATM machine, I feel like a millionaire! Until I go to spend it!

Dynamic balancing on the axle.
The tires were balanced while mounted on the front axles. I had never seen this done before. A rotating driver is wedged against the front wheel spinning the tire while a sensor reads the balance. Lead weights are added until the wheel is in balance.
Dynamic balancing while on the axle.

4PM - Niltepec Nite Camp.
We have found our Nite Camp in a little town called Niltepec. Across the road is a family processing tamarindos, the fruit of the palo verde tree. Must be a popular drink that they make from tamarindos, because this is the second family that I've run across, selling this stuff.
Our Poblado de Niltepic Nite Camp.

6PM - Fish for supper.
I am starving! Fried fish, fried potatoes and squash and a salad is on the menu. I have to admit that I am a fantastic cook. My food is sooooooo good!

Do you see the bowl on the left in the pic below? The bowl contains my secret fish sauce. It is delicious. I would like to tell you the secret. But it's a secret!

Our neighbor brings his ox team home.
While we were cooking supper, we saw some oxen being brought back home. It turned out to be our neighbor bringing his oxen home from a day's work.
Our neighbor walking his oxen home after a day in the field.

Just before dark - Moses the brick layer.
Across the dirt road from our Camp, lives Moses and his family. Moses was born on this property, his parents lived here too. He pays no rent. No payments.

Moses earns his living making concrete blocks. He does this brick making right here on his property. There is quite a good sized stack of brick inventory for sale, alongside the house.

Nearly everything the family does is done in the backyard. Preparing meals. cooking and eating. Also washing dishes, doing the laundry, sleeping in hammocks.

I walked over there to visit. I had introduced myself earlier in the afternoon. I had some chocolate cookies to share. Moses' daughter was washing dishes underneath a palo verde tree. The electric washing machine is next to the kitchen sink in the yard. Moses was on the other side of the yard in a hammock. I walked over to talk to Moses, offering him one of the chocolate cookies.

We talked together for awhile. He told me about his life, and asked me about my trip in Mexico. After awhile, I got the impression that it was almost time for him to sleep for the night. So, I asked his permission to leave, and returned to Señorita Tioga to tell you this story.


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