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Phone Calling “101”, Mexican Style
Dec 28th, 2009 by Les

Jack Handy, an American writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1991-2003 once said: “A good way to threaten somebody is to light a stick of dynamite.  Then you call the guy and hold the burning fuse up to the phone.  “Hear that?” You say.  “That’s dynamite, baby.””

That might actually work if you could, in fact, get the phone call to actually go through.  This brings me to the thread of this blog – Phone Calling 101 – a course that should be offered throughout Mexico for those of us who seem unable to consummate a phone call….of any kind.

David has several friends who meet each day in the town square at 10:00 a.m. for coffee and conversation.  He asked, at one of these get-togethers, how does one dial any number and actually get the person to whom they wish to speak?

Without being too loquacious I will try to synopsize some of the answers he received.

If someone gives you a phone number, you dial it.  Pretty upfront and one would think easy to follow.  (My suggestion, don’t think…just dial.)

If, after dialing you don’t reach the party you intended to reach, or anyone at all for that matter, place a “33” prior to the number.  By placing a “33” prior to the number you are calling a Guadalajara number.  (Makes sense.)

If after prefacing your number with a “33’ you still don’t reach the party you intended to reach (now I feel like I’m doing a Lilly Tomlin “Ernestine the Telephone Operator” act), it is probably a cell phone number.  You ask, quite reasonably, if it’s a cell number, why don’t they say so?  This query usually simply gets a look like – well, if it isn’t one then it’s the other. (I can accept that.)

Okay so if it’s a cell number you place a “045” and then a “33” prior to the number.  (Please folks, if I’ve got this all wrong, bear with me.)

By way of further information they also explained Mexico City and Guadalajara have 2 digit area codes followed by an 8 digit number.  All the rest of Mexico has 3 digit area codes followed by a 7 digit number.  Yes, for those of you who are counting, both equal 10 digits and, if you are like me, your head is spinning and the word “duh” is coming up frequently as both a noun and a verb.

To add to all of the above information we have two phones.  You’ve got that right folks, a US phone and a Mexican phone.  No, they do not translate (Spanish to English or visa versa).  We’ve found it unnecessary for them to translate as we never get through on the Mexican phone anyway.

Another problem for us is we are used to phone numbers in the states (that’s reasonable given we both have lived there most of our lives)…a number such as  414.214.4444 tells us instantly the phone number is a Wisconsin number and, if we happen to be out of Wisconsin (we are way out of Wisconsin now!), we will need to dial a “1” prior to that number.  When you are given a Mexican number it can look like, for example, 765 5249 y 50 or 763 2330.  Looks pretty simple up front, doesn’t it?  Don’t let that fool you.  By the time you are through you will be puzzled, perplexed, mystified, baffled, bewildered, befuddled, your dialing digit will ache… well you get my drift.

The series of pictures accompanying this blog are of the various phones we have in our house.  The phones are labeled both in the pictures below and at home (don’t go there it’s the only way we can remember which phone number goes with which phone).  These are followed by several pictures of David in the act of using said phones (and I “use” that term lightly).  The last picture is of the only “person” in our house who has been able to do anything with the Mexican phone besides grip it firmly and pray for some type of connection and a friendly voice on the other end! One good thing, neither of us will be threatening anyone soon as neither of us has received our certificate of graduation in Phone Calling “101”.  Viva La Mexico!

Phones at Rest

Phones at Rest

US Phone, Diabolically Simple in Appearance

US Phone, Diabolically Simple in Appearance

Mexican Phone -  Glibly Facile in Appearance

Mexican Phone - Glibly Facile in Appearance

David – Remaining Calm Under Pressure

David – Remaining Calm Under Pressure

David – Audacious in Spirit

David – Audacious in Spirit

Senior Parrot in Charge

Senior Parrot in Charge

Poinsettias
Dec 24th, 2009 by Les

The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C.  This wasn’t for any religious reasons.  They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. 
Jay Leno – Humorist

I awoke this morning thinking how interesting it will be celebrating the birth of Christ here in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

My thoughts then began to wander, as we’ve discussed before…they often do.  I haven’t spent many Christmas’s outside of Wisconsin – David has…he’s been in Europe (too many places to mention), Hawaii and, of course, Dallas.  I was in Dallas two years before we moved here to Ajijic.

I mention all of this to put things into perspective.  A Wisconsin Christmas does actually have snow, frigid temperatures, chestnut roasting on the open fire and the obligatory white Christmas…and lots of it…if they are “lucky”.  I say lucky because it turns gray or yellow pretty darn quickly after the first beautiful white, fluffy stuff.

Dallas has cold weather – occasionally – and should they have snow it sets an almost humorous series of actions in motion.  To explain, we went out to the only large store in Ajijic – Wal-Mart – today to pick up a few things mostly for dinner.  As we entered the parking lot David commented: “Gees, it looks like Albertson’s (grocery store in Dallas) when the mere mention of snow hits the airways in Dallas!”  We watched as people exited the store with carts piled high with food, water, milk, etc….much like Dallas when they think they may be “snowed in”.

Please people, before you think this is a critique of Dallas, it is not.  I found it almost loveable the way everyone left work early when a “storm” was predicted and hit the grocery store.  In Wisconsin you’d have to have blizzard conditions in addition to black ice and 50 mile an hour winds to even consider, possibly, closing early.

Okay, I’ve gone on long enough.  There’s no snow here.  I, know, no surprise there.  The village does not decorate a lot except for colorful piñatas and some Christmas lights.  We’ve seen Christmas trees but, for the most part, they’ve been in gringo homes.

You do hear Feliz Navidad everywhere with the usual wonderful bright smiles.  It is a religious holiday and most activity is centered round the church.

One of the traditions many US families have is purchasing poinsettias – the beautiful red and white plants that seem to herald the Christmas season.  Poinsettias are native to Central America and the plant flourishes in an area of Southern Mexico known as Taxco del Alarcon.  The poinsettia may have remained a regional plant for many years to come had it not been for the efforts of Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779 – 1851). The son of a French physician, Poinsett was appointed as the first United States Ambassador to Mexico (1825 – 1829) by President Madison.  He fell in love with the plant and began growing it in hot houses he had built on his property in Greenville, South Carolina.

Yes, Virginia, there is a real poinsettia plant and, by golly, it doesn’t grow in pots, with brightly colored cellophane – it grows on trees.  We, dear hearts, have a poinsettia tree in our backyard and it is beautiful as evidenced by the picture David took which you will see below.

To all of our dear family, friends and readers, we miss you and wish you the happiness and the hope that is born anew each Christmas now and evermore!

A Tree of Beauty

A Tree of Beauty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David and Les

Gardening?!
Dec 22nd, 2009 by Les

The best way to garden is to put on a wide brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell somebody else where to dig.  David Hobson

Accompanying this post are many pictures of our garden papaya being harvested.  David spent a morning, a few days ago, sitting on our front porch – laptop nearby – watching our gardener, Senior Magay, harvest the papaya from the various extremely tall trees in our yard.  A daunting task but he tells me he felt up to it, David that is.

Truth be told, he really was enjoying the whole experience and was “working” hard to take pictures of the various activities going on right before his eyes.  It is difficult to capture the height of the trees or, for that matter, the ladder Senior Magay uses to pluck these papaya’s from the branches.  We’re talking 20 feet or more of balancing on the last rung of a ladder that, well quite frankly, reaches at least 21 feet.

We have Hawaiian (Kamiah) papaya and Mexican Yellow papaya in our yard…as I understand it.  There are four types of papaya out there:

Hawaiian which is more rounded and carries more flesh because of its shape.

Mexican Red which is very sweet and larger then Hawaiian.

Mexican Yellow which is not much different then the red except the yellow has a firmer bit but taste pretty much the same.

Solo which is the most common papaya and has a reddish-orange flesh and is excellent in taste and texture.  It is shaped like a pear.  Here’s an odd factoid: this papaya tree does not produce any male trees.  The tree can either be bisexual or female with an average ratio of 2:1.  That might account for why we don’t seem to have any Solo papaya in our yard.

After a strenuous morning of watching Senior Magay harvest, David decided to do a “magazine shoot” of the “fruits” of his labor (David did pick the limes) – more precisely Senior Magay’s labor!

Enjoy…

Can you see him?

Can you see him?

Is the basket close by?

Is the basket close by?

Just a little higher.

Just a little higher.

Okay, I think I've got it!

Okay, I think I've got it!

20 feet up and comparison shopping no less!

20 feet up and comparison shopping no less!

Yellow Peppers - David tried these on his hamberger that night...he almost finished it!

Yellow Peppers - David tried these on his hamberger that night...he almost finished it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the harvest on neighbor's kitchen counter.

Some of the harvest on neighbor's kitchen counter.

Mag shot - would you like a glossy print?

Mag shot - would you like a glossy print?

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© Copyright 2009-2011 David and Les Lawrence, Ajijic, Mexico