A Trip to the U.S. and Reflections on Mexico

This past weekend I flew up to North Carolina for the wedding of one of my best friends. It was wonderful to see him and his bride and meet the families and catch up with old mutual friends.

What caught my eye that I just had to include here was a picture of the cake:

Hopefully you got a good chuckle from that. I sure did!

And that’s not what this post is about. But it’s our blog and we can do what we want, so there you have an odd start.

Having lived in Mexico now for well over a year, it’s become home. The scenes here in Chapala become commonplace. We love them. We enjoy them every day and we love noticing the small changes. But we no longer relate life here immediately to what was done or how it was done when we lived in the States.

So taking a trip to the U.S. brings back some of those differences. So, this week’s blog is about the differences. Not in any particular order. None more important than another. Just what we noticed.

Sparkling water: I LUV sparkling water (agua mineral here). Every restaurant serves it; every mini-mart sells it: it’s all over the place). Not so in the U.S. It’s a specialty item. Even Walmart only offers a small selection of sparkling water. I missed it.

Gas: Mexico is a fairly major producer of crude oil. Yet, the price of gas here is quite high relative to the price in the U.S. We’re paying about $4 a gallon here in Mexico. Current price in North Carolina seemed to be about $2.60 a gallon.

Car washes: Here in Mexico you see very few of the standard car washes that you see in the States. The drive-through(s) at gas stations, the standalones where you can have your car washed or you can easily wash your own. To be sure, there a few here in Mexico, but very few. What we have here are lots of eager men and women who literally work the streets in the commercial zones who will wash a car while you shop. And they will do a very nice job!

Mexican restaurants: Of course, this is a little disingenuous. Every restaurant here in Mexico is “Mexican.” What we refer to here are the vast majority of restaurants that service Mexican food. We eat out a lot here. It’s really inexpensive (if you want it to be). And usually very good.

The basic food is quite a bit like what’s served in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. (although usually much more fresh). Now every time we had gone to a Mexican restaurant in the U.S. the first thing on the table was a basket of chips and a bowl or two of salsa.

I think in the more than a year of eating out in Mexico we’ve only been served chips and salsa once. Often you can order them off the menu, yet usually with guacamole.

Last but not least, while we’re talking about restaurants I was reminded on this trip about the ubiquity of two restaurant chains that dominate the South: Cracker Barrel and the Waffle House. Gotta say, I do miss them. Here in Mexico, we haven’t found any chains that ring our bell like those. Still, we get to try lots of new places that we probably would never try otherwise.

So there you have it! Viva la difference!

 

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