Wednesday, October 04, 2006


You would think that this is a very civilized town with garbage pickup three times a week but as things usually are in Mexico, there are a few quirks.

First of all you must be at home when the truck comes because it isn't proper to just leave your garbage sitting outside your door. When you hear the clanking of the rod on the metal triangle, it means the garbage man is in the street and you are suppose to take out your sacks of garbage and hand them up to the men on the truck. I'm not sure by what criteria they sort the garbage but some of the sacks are slashed open and the garbage is dumped in the bed of the truck and some of the bags of garbage are stacked. But whatever the criteria is, the men are standing in the loose garbage and sometimes the stacked sacks are shoulder high.

Neighbors meet at the truck and some one helps the older people lift their sacks up. The muchachos in the neighborhood have a little business of going door to door to collect garbage sacks for a few pesos so you don't have to go out to the truck when it comes. Sometimes the garbage men will have a box for "tips" on the truck but always at Christmas there will be a decorated "tip" box. Ned takes the garbage out more often than I do and he says he has never seen one of our Mexican neighbors put anything in the tip box. We try to do what our neighbors do but at Christmas we put in "tips."

Maybe this sounds pretty well organized to you but now let's talk about the schedule. On our street the garbage truck is scheduled to come on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But the question is, When on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. For a while it was sometime after noon. Since you have to be home to take out your garbage you can't make any plans in the afternoon. But again the question is, when in the afternoon. Sometimes just when we are giving up that they are coming, here they come at 6:30 or 7:00 PM. Other times they will fool you and come at Noon. If you have some garbage that really needs to go out, you just stay home until they finally come. But it is also possible that they will not come on the regular day at all but will come sometime the next day.

Here lately the schedule has really been throwing us some curves. There was no garbage pickup on Monday so our garbage from the weekend was still with us. We had already talked that one of us would need to be here today to be sure that the garbage left on the truck whatever time it came. Well it turned out that no one had to stay home to wait. This morning while it was still pretty dark, we heard the clang of the metal telling us the truck was in the street. Ned jumped out of bed threw on some clothes and went out with the garbage. But no truck. All of the neighbors had done the same thing and everyone was standing in the street looking up and down and wondering where the heck the truck had gone. In a few minutes the truck came back.

This morning we got rid of the garbage but one morning a week or two ago, we heard the clang of the truck. It was still totally dark. We looked at the clock.....5:45 AM. We both just pulled the covers up and said............well, I won't write what we said but basically we decided to keep our garbage until the next time around.


Anonymous said...


At our Casita in Xico we are charged 1 peso (9 cents) per bag of trash regardless of the size of the bags - we buy the BIG ones and tip ;-)

Juan Calypso

Anonymous said...

I have a "stealth" basura truck! It makes NO noise and usually only comes once a week! So I have learned to get up at 6:30 and drink my coffee by the dining room window to listen for the truck. Then in robe and slippers I run like heck with the big can and drag it to the truck! I feel like Rocky Stallone if I manage to complete the task!

1st Mate said...

Here in civilized San Carlos, Sonora we just put a big can by the curbside, and it's paid (we think) by the landlord. We used to think they only came on Saturdays, but lately we've noticed them on Wednesdays too. We'd have no way to tip them even if it were customary, as we almost never come in contact with them. When we have aluminum cans we keep them separate and attach a bag to our can, so they can choose to return them for the deposit.