COMMUNITY / Missing Gringo Comforts

Missing Gringo Comforts


Missing Gringo Comforts

13 November 2005 LIVING, CULTURE, COMMUNITY 37

Today is a quiet, lazy day... a perfect Sunday. There's been tropical and cool rain for the last hour (after we watered the garden this morning, of course). Right before it started to rain, we had returned from a typical gringo morning: breakfast at Segafreddo's Italian coffee shop and shopping at Costco. We saw no fewer than seven people we knew there. All those price comparisons for big flat screen TV's has exhausted us, so one of us is taking a siesta. The other one is using the laptop computer over the new wireless DSL that we got installed at home TWO days after ordering it! That must be some kind of Telmex service record... and it would be hard for Pacific Bell or some other US telephone company to beat, too.

On the way home from Costco, we were remarking how many things we used to think of as "missing" from Merida when we first moved here. It seemed like there were so many things from the U.S. that we couldn't get here. But now, it just doesn't seem that way anymore. It does seem like the things we really need (DSL service, car repair, insurance, etc.) are as good or better here. And the things that aren't here maybe aren't that important anymore. (Is sourdough bread really that important?)

(don't answer that...)

...well, there just aren't that many of those things anymore. We can even get organic milk and Pop Tarts here.

Update (3/08/2006): we recently found sourdough bread at Mega...
Update (3/04/2007): there is now sourdough at Mega and Costco (neither are that good though) but PopTarts have mysteriously disappeared from the Peninsula. Organic milk, on the other hand, is everywhere. So it goes...


  • Arnaldo Marucco 13 years ago

    Just arrived in Merida and my wife always take care of washing clothes.We rent a apartment without washing machine , and we cant find a laundry , with machines you can operate.She dont like our clothes been washed with somebody's else.????well.
    Is anybody know where can we find one??Thanks

  • Working Gringos 13 years ago

    Hola, Brigitte!
    We have SKY satellite TV service... others here have cable. On both there are some "gringo" channels. And most movies are in English, with Spanish subtitles (a great way to learn Spanish!).

    There is more and more plastic surgery here... we don't have a lot of details. If you are looking for a good plastic surgeon, the new YES Healthcare Guide lists reputable English-speaking doctors in many different areas. You can find it at under "Knowledge Store".

  • Brigitte in NJ 13 years ago


    I have read a lot of it already and found a wealth of very useful info on it. I first got interested in Merida via Home and Garden TV segment on the couple buying a rehab in the Centro. Then your info on dentistry, gave me the idea of coming to have extensive work done while vacationing there. And now I am contemplating buying beach house. You got me hooked.

    I have a frivolous concern though... What kind of "Gringo" TV chanels can you get in Merida and/or at the shore? Not speaking Spanish (yet) that is kinda important to me.

    I also heard Merida is becoming a good destination for plastic surgery tourism. Do you have any tips about that?

  • Working Gringos 14 years ago

    Hi Barbara,
    Propane gas is what is used to heat the water in most houses and light the flames on the stoves. It can either be in a tank that gets delivered (listen for a truck driving down the street honking its horn... that's the gas delivery truck) or a tank on the roof (tanque en el techo). To get the tank on the roof filled, you need to call and make an appointment. In the Centro now, most gas companies will not deliver during the day... only at night when parking is not such an issue. There are a number of gas companies... Merida Gas, Z Gas, etc.
    As for the gas smelling bad, it only smells when it leaks... and if I remember correctly, it actually has a smell so you can tell when it leaks. But no leaks, no smell.

  • BARBARA PUGLIANO 14 years ago

    I am buying a house in merida. How does gas work for gas stoves? I heard a rumor that the gas smells bad - is this true? Is there a difference between installing it on the roof or having it elsewhere? I would really appreciate any advice. Thanks!

  • Harald Jezek 14 years ago

    Mary Lou,
    a lot of questions.
    1) Concerning bringing stuff from the US, you will really have to think if it is worth the hassle. Things in general are more expensive than in the states, but not by much. So bringing your stuff from Canada is probably more costly than buying it here. Also, if you bring furniture you have to be careful. Not everything that's great in a cold climate is good in our hot and humid weather. I talk from own experience because I brought a nice leather sofa from Germany. Within a few months in the local summer steam it started to grow mold. (see Working Gringo's article on Shopping for Furniture in the Yucatan Survivor section)
    If you really want to ship something you can ship it out of Panama City/Florida. There are frequent vessels going to Progreso. And yes, you can find somebody to ship from Progreso to Merida. It's fairly inexpensive. Agencia Aduanal Cervera can help you with that. If interested I can send you the contact.
    2)Bugs are an issue here as anywhere in the tropics. If you live downtown you are not going to see too many of them though. Anyway, starting a war against bugs and especially ants is a hopeless undertaking. For each one you kill 10 new ones come out from nowhere. Insecticides are available in all forms and shapes. So don't worry about that.
    I never heard of ants eating a computer, however I found a ant nest in my VHS tape. So I suppose everything is possible. Beside ants, there are also tiny nasty critters that eat wood. Personally I don't believe that you can bugproof a house totally. Keeping your home as clean as possible is key to minimizing bugs. Don't leave any food in the open. I also recommend to call the exterminator every few months.
    3) there are pianos in Merida, but I suppose you will have to tune it more frequently than in Canada.
    4) Internet is no problem. You have High speed, dial up, wireless and even public WiFi.
    5) Windows is a particular case. Usually they produce them locally and most of the windows today are made of an aluminium frame with one sheet of glass. There is no such thing as double glass windows unless you buy imported windows (very expensive and not recommended).
    6) Electricity is fairly expensive here (See the Working Gringo's article on Electricity in the Yucatan Survivor section). Most people use gas stoves. You have the choice of using gas cylinders (usually in the back of your house) or a larger gas tank on the roof (al techo). There is no central gas supply in Merida.

    Any additional questions, feel free to ask ;-)

  • michal preble 14 years ago

    are Julie Cardena an X Spanish teacher from Wilmington Charter school ? would like to make contact with you.

  • Working Gringos 15 years ago

    Actually, Gene, no, we cannot get Ginger Altoids even now. Working Gringa is going back to the States in September so she'll pick some up then... thank you though!

  • Gene Black 15 years ago

    Can you get the Ginger Altoids there now? We will be visiting in mid-September (barring hurricanes blocking our way)? We may be able to bring some Ginger Altoids. I will have to see if I can find them here. I, personally, have never seen them. I do love the peppermint Altoids though.

  • Mexican living in Canada 15 years ago

    Mary Lou Martin:

    I am a Mexican living here in Canada. I think that you live here too. Am I right?

    If you would like to enjoy Mexico, forget about Canada a little bit. Forget about the ants, the double glazed windows, the ant traps, the bug-proofed houses.

    It is like me: if I want to enjoy your country, I have to forget a little bit about mine, do you agree? I mean, there are lots of things in Mexico that are not available here in Canada. Go to Mexico and live a totally new experience. Do not try to “ship your entire Canadian life style” to Mexico.



  • Mexican living in Canada 15 years ago

    Mary Lou Martin:

    About your questions: You can find whatever you want (mostly) in Merida or in Cancún. Fortunately for you, we have RAID for the bugs, double-glazed windows for noise or to keep in the air conditioning, and trucks to move your things.

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