CULTURE / 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...


  • 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.

  • CasiYucateco 15 years ago

    There are bait-type ant killers available in Merida. It's best to sprinkle it around the outside of your house. Having anything - even an ant trap - that attracts any of them inside is just asking for more trouble.

    Something about the tropics makes ants more active and less timid about going wherever they want. Different ants, right? Anyway, there are all kinds. And if a wave a couple feet wide decides to walk through your house on their way over to the next yard, just let them all march through. Go out for some drinks. When you come back, their annual migration will be over and they'll be gone. You won't be sure where, but they will be gone.

    Raid will kill the ones you see right now, but is basically ineffective against the whole colony. Seems there's an article on YL somewhere about insects and various organic ways of keeping the populations down.

    The most basic advice is to keep your kitchen very clean. No food crumbs. No peels, etc. Give them very little reason to be successful in their search for food.

  • Theresa in Mérida 15 years ago

    Interesting, I have never seen or heard of them. I buy some stuff called trampo (I think it's with the insecticides) at Home Depot for the leaf cutter ants. It looks like chocolate sprinkles, you put it in their path and they take it home to their nests. It works really well. My understanding is that I will have to repeat it every so often but that's okay. For the indoor ants we wipe the counters with vinegar and keep stuff as clean as possible. With a lot of rain the critters seem to seek refuge indoors, but so far it's just been ants this year.
    I try to avoid spraying stuff like Raid indoors since I don't want to kill the iguanos (geckos?) that eat the occasional flying insects that get inside. I have heard of the insulation-eating ants but have (knock on wood) no personal experience with them.

  • Mary Lou Martin 15 years ago

    An ant trap is a little round metal container about two inches across with a tiny opening. It is filled with bait that the ants like to eat. I believe they take it back to their nest and it then kills all that eat it. Or is supposed to. I've found the Raid to be much more effective, and quicker, myself. Maybe it's just the awful smell that repels the ants.

  • Theresa in Mérida 15 years ago

    What's an ant trap?

  • Mary Lou Martin 15 years ago

    We purchased a small house in Centro in January and are planning to spend our winters there beginning March '09 when I retire. We have no Spanish whatsoever. I have so many questions, beginning with "is it worthwhile to ship things from home"? I considered maybe renting a truck and driving to a port in Texas then shipping a container by sea to Progresso. Would I find a truck to deliver things to the house in Merida do you think? I'm also wondering how to combat bugs. Can you get Raid in Merida? I've found that all I have to do to get rid of tiny ants here in Canada is spray Raid along the baseboards where they're coming in and they're gone. Someone told me on a recent visit to Merida that the ants eat the computer innards, so is that preventable? And also the sheathing around the electrical lines - hence they hang loose outside the walls. She said she couldn't get ant traps and had friends bring them from the U.S. Leading to the question - are there hardware stores in Merida like we're used to?
    The other day I was reading one of your articles and the responses and only just began to read about the ant problem, but didn't have time to finish the article. Unfortunately, now I can't seem to find it. Can a house be bug-proofed? Made more airtight to keep the air conditioning in? Can you buy double glazed windows in Merida? I've been told a regular piano wouldn't be practical because of the humidity, but I'd like to bring one down there. What's the prognosis? Oh yes - do you have to have a landline to get internet service? What's more practical - a gas stove or electric (re cost of operation)? Sorry to give you so many questions. Love your site - welcome everyone's comments.

  • JIm 15 years ago

    Hi. My wife and I are planning a "family sababtical" to Merida. Do you recommend it? We have 3 young kids. We are contemplating 6 months, or more. Do you have kids in school there? Can you recommend a retal agency?
    Jim Murphy

  • Jimmie Berg 15 years ago

    Okay, working gringos, you have outdone yourselves now. I was not hungry when I started reading this blog and now I am starving. Unfortunately I live 2 hours from any Mexican food!

    My hubby and I are headed that way soon - May 1 is our target date and are hoping to have a house ready to rent and move into.

    We spent 6 months in Ecuador as volunteers teaching English and guiding the local staff of an American owned hotel in how to run the place themselves. We had a fabulous time and traveled almost the entire country.

    We will be happy to bring you Hellman's - also my favorite - and ginger Altoids - also our favorite!

    My hubby is a retired Colorado wheat farmer, stock broker and now is a licensed massage therapist, lymphologist, sports medicine trainer and just generally a good guy to have around since he can fix almost anything and is also a great finish carpenter.

    I am a retired executive assistant, art quilter, wearable art designer, and college student. I am also a Texan - and proud of it!

    We are both looking forward to enjoying life closer than a thousand miles to a beach, lots of sunshine, orchids, fun and interesting people and just generally a more relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle.

  • Jackie 16 years ago

    Our first destination in our "maybe we'll move to Mexico" is Merida. Saw it on a "House Hunters International" show, looked at my perpetual fiancee and said "Why aren't we there?" He said, "I'll be packed today." I will feel blessed and fortunate to meet the splendid people commenting on this site. What a crew!

  • Julie Cardena aka not-really-working 16 years ago

    This is such a cool website! I found it by accident. I am an American living in Merida too!

    If you are looking for some good comfort food you should check out my restaurant Burrito Express. We are on Circuito Colonias after the Chapur.

    I would love to meet some more Americans!!!

    Good luck with the organic milk... My kids can only drink Soy milk. I have experimented with all the brands here. Silk still wins. You can get it at Costo by the case.

  • Working Gringos 16 years ago

    With your divemaster and ballroom skills, sounds like you would find the most opportunities on the Mayan Riviera. There's not as much diving around Merida (only in the cenotes), although there is a lot of dancing!

    As far as a place to stay, you'll just have to look around. There are probably places farther south of Cancun (around Tulum or Puerto Morelos) that might have what you are looking for. And some of the communities where the locals live might have houses for rent, but they aren't going to be listed on the internet.

    If you want to be near Merida with that scenario, we would imagine you can find a place out by the beach in Progreso or one of the neighboring towns.

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