Mexico "Way"

My stupid blurbs about anything and addition to the ups and downs of living in Cancun, Mexico.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Learning About Things I didn't Know I Had To - PART UNO

(I originally thought that I could fit everything all into one blog. It doesn't look like that's possible so I will do this in parts. Stay tuned for the other parts!)

Forget college......move to Mexico!

Living in Cancun certainly has its challenges. No, I do not live on the beach, tan all day and sip margaritas. No, I do not party every night like a rockstar and stumble back to my superbly posh condo in the hotel zone. Instead, I live downtown, in what I'd like to call my nice, comfortable apartment. I have a job that I work Monday-Friday and have set hours and really, considering, my life here is a lot easier compared to others. Having a salary, set hours, a car and enough money to order sushi whenever I want makes me a pretty lucky person.

But living here has made me have to learn about many things that I never knew I would ever have to.

1. Gas. No, I'm not talking about the type you put in your car. I'm talking about that gas you use for your:
a) Hot Water Tank. You have to light it yourself with a lighter. It can often get blown out or if you are replacing a gas tank, you will of course have to re-light. If you have a crappy hot water tank, you might have some problems lighting it and problems with it going out all the time. I discussed the best way to light it with my father and he says that if you hold down the button for 30 seconds while lighting, the pilot should usually take over. He and I had a pow wow as he reminsced about the old days back in Italy. (Am I going backwards in time?) Once the pilot is lit, you can decided what level you want your hot water at. Sometimes you have a to use a little hot water first to get it going so that it bursts into a bigger flame so that you have enough hot water for your shower. If you are trying to save money, it's best to keep the pilot off and just light as you need hot water. This can be a pain in the ass however but again, it's more money or more of a pain. You decide. I often choose the more money choice! Now lets not forget, you must be careful because they can also blow up in your face and singe your hair and eyelashes.....another thing I have learned.....that I didn't know I had to.
b) Clothes Dryer. Yes folks! You can purchase dryers that run on gas. In fact, it is the most practical and cheap way to run a dryer. Apparently dryers take up a whole lot of electricity if they simply run on electricity. So we must ahorrar! We must save! Another thing I learned! Actually, I had a choice....gas dryer....or electric dryer. But the gas dryers are not only are they cheaper to purchase outright...but they are cheaper to run. I NEVER knew that before. But now I am all the more wise!
c) Stove with Oven (oven's are optional). I can't believe I even put that in brackets. I mean I'm not talking about hot-plates. I'm talking about a stove! Aren't they usually attached to an oven? Nope. They aren't. So get use to it! Now of course your stove top and your oven are lit with a lighter as well. Again, be careful...this can be a little more dangerous than singed eyelashes. In fact, I know of a story that didn't turn out so great. My friend is alive but does have a lot of scarring because of it. In addition to the complexities of lighting the oven or stove top, try and figure out the temperature of either of them. They aren't listed. They say, if you are lucky, "Min" or "Max" and you can figure out the rest. I've managed to bake two cakes by using my temperature intuition so I guess sometimes being so precise isn't always that necessary?

Ok. So We know that you can hook your dryer, your stove and your boiler up to gas and have them run all high tech (you know I'm sarcastic right?)......but where the hell does the gas come from? Tanks. Gas tanks. I have two so I am a millions times more lucky than people who just have one. Because when I run out of gas, I get my wrench, go outside, turn off the valve in the empty tank, disconnect it, attach it to the next tank, and open the valve to the new tank. Aren't I handy? Any Mexican men that see me do this think I'm super fragile and that this is a man's job. I say the hell with you. Your only purpose is to make me FEEL like I can't do it and that I NEED you but guess what baby, I know better. If I can knock a man down on his ass with my delicate fist, I can certainly change a gas tank....thanks!

So voila. I have my gas connected wooo hoooo!

Now what?
Yeah um, if you do nothing, you are screwed by the time the next tank runs out. (Btw, I use 20 litre tanks and they last about a couple of months and cost about 192 pesos a tank which is about $20 US.) Taking a cold shower in "winter" is not so much fun and having to use a hot plate to cook is a waste of energy so get with the gas schedule ok. So now all you have to do is call the gas company and expect them to show up when you say right? NO PROBLEM.

HA HA HA HA. Yeah right.

Apparently there is some sort of gas shortage going on so getting a gas tank is wayyy more complicated than it use to be. Even tho, was still complicated....because of course they would never show up when you called.

There has been a sprout of a couple of new gas companies within the area because of the shortage, in addition to one of the largest companies, "Z Gaz" has chosen to make life more difficult. Now, whether you order, or go to the company with your gas tank, they not only want you to leave your gas tank with them, but they want you to pay for the tank, and then at a later date you can supposedly pick up your tank of gas, or have them deliver it to you. Um, no thanks. I give you my money and my gas tank and I get nada in return? Screw that!

Normally once you have a gas company you would only be able to exchange that gas tank, with that company. Now, it's a free for all. The gas company doesn't care, and the people don't care. They just want their damn gas.

So, here are the methods in which I have received gas:

1) Luck. The gas company just happened to be there already changing my neighbour's (Canadian Spelling!) gas tank. Woo hoo! I can't tell you what a high this is. All you druggies out are wasting your time and money. Getting a tank of gas by having them magically appear when it's convenient for you is rare and special and terribly exciting.

2) I hear the gas tank music (really annoying when you want to sleep in on the weekend) and go running out naked, in my pj's, without shoes on...running down that street yelling gasssss, screaming out the window GASSSSSsssssss!!!! as if it were Romeo or something.
3) I've heard the clickity clank of the gas tanks and resorted to such things as I described in number two. My mother thinks I have developed super Mexican hearing for this. Because she doesn't hear anything out of the ordinary and before you knew it I have my wallet, my gas key and I'm out down the street begging for a tank. I've got the same hearing for the water man as well. Here we are relaxing and watching t.v. and before you know it I've sprung up and am out of my apartment, have run down 3 flights of stairs and have unlocked the security gate and i'm down the street all in the matter of 5 seconds.

4) Calling the company....any company, to have the phones not work, or have them tell me they will come, or won't come, whatever the result, if they don't come, or if they do, I'm not even home when they do...helloooo I work. I don't sit around and wait for gas all day....especialy when I can create my own JAJAJAJA. Bad joke.

5) Throw the empty gas tank in the car and go to some company, any company that will give you a full gas tank.

6) Chase after the gas truck in your car, or send someone else to chase after them.

7) Partner up with the neighbour (Canadian Spelling!). If I get the truck, I knock on his door, if he gets the truck, he knocks on mine.

So there you see it folks. Gas is an integral part of living in Mexico. And if you don't learn the will suffer! I have learned the ways.....and way back when.... I had no idea I'd have to learn about these things.

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  • At 1:08 PM, March 09, 2007, Anonymous Bell Sister said…

    As you know I have the 'small tank', (yes, size matters!) so you also know that not only do I run out of gas every two weeks, it takes Mr. Mexican boyfriend almost two weeks to replace the tank. *heavy sigh* Let me tell you all about bathing out of a bucket of water heated on a hotplate! (umm I'll tell you in private jeje) I do happen to know the exact location of the 5 places you can exchange a small tank, FYI they WILL all be out of gas at the same time- and they will not call you to let you know before you lug yer damned tank all over town- bastardos!!

  • At 11:18 AM, March 10, 2007, Blogger JJ said…

    PHEE-nomenal post. "I just want to live in paradise!" "Paradise" is showering with a jug of water when your water doesn't work in the afternoon for 2 months...

  • At 4:00 AM, March 21, 2007, Anonymous Working Gringa said…

    here i am, LOL at 4 in the morning because i can't sleep because the power keeps going on and off, turning the fan and the mosquitoes on and off alternately. OK, i dont live in Cancun, i live in Merida. But same place, pretty much. same gas issues. same infrastructure issues. we moved into a new house a week ago. the electricity in the front part of the house keeps going out. we call CFE... nada. Then last night (nothing has changed), the electricity in the front part is fine, now it's going off and on in the back part of the house.

    and of course you know it will all be working fine when CFE shows up to check it.

    time to go back to sleep... oh! there goes the rooster...

  • At 11:00 AM, March 21, 2007, Blogger Mexico Way said…

    I feel your pain. None of it makes any sense because why should it? Good luck with things and let us know how it works out!!!


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