Friday, May 11, 2007

What Is Different?

What are the things that I notice immediately when we come back to the USA?

The highways are smoother although Mexico is working on a 1000 miles of Mex 57 and it seems like each year it has gotten better.

The urban roads are wider, cleaner and smoother. Traffic signs and directional signs have standards in the way they are used. Mexico you never know when a sign says Queretaro to the right if it means the road that is right in front of the sign or the next road to the right. And you have to be vigilant to look for signs because you never ever know where they might be located.

Things are green and there are big mature trees. The part of Mexico where we live, we only have green about five or six months out of the year. And the trees, even if they are oaks or not like Texas stately live oak.

We can drink the water from the tap.

Portions in restaurants are huge.....I mean huge. They aren't served on plates, they are served on platters.

You have to stand in line to buy groceries or pay for clothes. There are few sales people in department stores and the kiosks where you pay are few and far between. Yesterday I didn't think we would ever get checked out of a grocery store. In San Miguel, I pick up my veggies hand the tienda owner my pesos and I'm out the door.

Houston is humid and so far on this trip, just really warm but I'm sure that while we are here we will have some HOT days. The good news is, we go from the house, to the car, to the shopping mall, to.....AND all these spaces are air-conditioned, very well air-conditioned with controlled humidity. The bad news is that the only walking you do is from the house to the car to the door of the store. Although I did put in a bit a walking in the Galleria.

I don't see someone I know every time I put my foot out of the house in Houston. Of course, you may say, "Houston is the fourth largest city in the USA. How could you expect to see someone you know every time you go out?" True, but it sure is nice in San Miguel to talk with friends face to face all of the time. Better than the telephone and better than email.

While there are apartments and condos and hi-rises, most people live in houses with space around them. We do like space.

The shopping is fabulous. What do you want? If you can't find it in Houston and probably many kinds of it, then it probably doesn't exist.

I'm going to write more about shopping in the USA but that will have to wait for another day. So far these are the things that are different.


pitchertaker said...

Speaking of things available in the states -- Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla -- is now available nation-wide at Outback and Ruby Tuesdays. Just amazing.....Just south of the Worcester line in Millbury and Auburn, there is one each of those restaurants. Life ain't so bad in the NE any longer.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you in the sign in the streets, I was in Zacatecas an on San Luis Potosi the signs are non existant, you only see the road and many intersections and you spent all the time asking pedestrians for directions, where to Queretaro?? where to Queretaro??, over and over.

And even the few sings doesn't say anything useful, I found one that said "Matehuala to the right - Guadalajara to the left" but I'm going to Queretaro, Matehuala is in the north, Guadalajara to the west and Queretaro is in the south... I wish we had signs that said to the 57 interstate north or south.

Anonymous said...

Billie -- would love to see you if you get to the austin area. The brother of a friend of mine is getting married in SMA in Oct and is looking for a house/houses for family members. Do you have suggestions?

Laura PC

1st Mate said...

We live close enough to the border to make a shopping trip to Tucson about once every six weeks but I'm trying to pare that down to every couple of months, maybe even less often. Yes, I'm hooked on a lot of sources in Tucson: Trader Joe's, for instance. I'll just have to get over it. I always feel such a sense of relief when we get back to Mexico.

Cynthia said...

Billie, enjoy your Houston time. I am back in Houston after a week of house hunting in SMA.

On the van ride back to Leon, a woman who discovered I was from Houston, asked if I knew you. I told her I was a part of your audience and felt very much like I did. So this ties with your small world San Miguel comments.

We didn't buy a house this trip, though we looked at quite a few and made a too-late offer on one. I was disppointed that I came back empty-handed, but know that the "right" house really wasn't there for me this trip. (I need a much bigger budget!)

Have a very happy anniversary and a wonderful trip to SFO.

Billie said...

The shopping is progressing very well. But I'm seeing so many things that either we can't get in Mex or that are cheaper in the USA. Laura, I'll write you an email about our plans for Austin. Cynthia, sorry you didn't find a house this trip but don't give up. You may need to rent something for 6 months or so while you scout out the right house. That is interesting about talking to someone on the van and connecting about me.

wolverinemx said...

I wish you a funny and interesting trip to SFC