Notes From Nestipac – April 0410

Notes From Nestipac

By Phyllis Rauch

Did You Know?


large_MEXICAN20MARKET20SMLAs a Lakeside old timer, I often find myself sharing odd (as in varied) pieces of information with recent arrivals to the area. Sometimes ex-pats who have already been here for a few years, are also surprised. Let’s see how many of these facts are new to you.

Did you know that the young people who pack your groceries at the supermarkets receive no wages? Their only earnings are the tips you give them. There is a sign to this effect at my local Aurrera, but it’s only written in Spanish, of course.

Although I haven’t researched this one, I suspect the men who offer to help you unload your groceries or wave you into or out of the parking spaces, may be working if not for free, for very low wages. My policy? When in doubt, tip.

Did you know that if you can’t locate baking soda at small groceries, you’re almost sure to find it at the drugstore (farmacia)? It’s called bi-carbonato de sodio. Perhaps you are traveling and just need a few pills, for a headache, or heartburn. Many of the older, family pharmacies will sell tablets individually. Just look for the little stack of drawers.

Did you know that most Mexican doctors, including specialists, give you not only their office phone number, but also their cells, home phones, and any other means of reaching them they may have? I was shocked when I visited my mom in Ohio a number of years ago and, in an emergency, discovered that her beloved young Dr. was completely unavailable, even for a question. A trip to the emergency room was our only option.

Back in Mexico, after suffering an asthma attack for an hour, I called my specialist at 3am. He was quite incensed but not because I had called. He said, “Why do you think I give you all those numbers if I don’t want you to call me?”

Did you know that there are many wonderful Mexican wedding customs, unknown to us northerners? If you are lucky enough to be invited to a local wedding, try to sit near the front and watch out for the placing of the lasso around the necks of the couple. Sometimes you’ll see multiple lassos, made of white rope, silver, crystals, or fresh flowers. These are, as well as the arras, (a little chest of gold coins symbolizing the new financial responsibilities,)family Bible, and crucifix provided by various padrinos, godparents of the wedding couple, who present these gifts during or after the ceremony. Bolos are the little gifts that children hand out to the guests after the wedding.

Did you know that wealthy people purchase lots at the cemetery, just as we are used to in the north? People with less money have to pay a yearly rent. If after years or generations there are no family members left to pay the rent…well, use your imagination.

So how did you score? If you have discovered additional, little-known Mexican facts or customs, I’d love to have you share them with me. When I collect enough, I’ll share them here.

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