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Mexican Letter #3

            2 November 2003

            Happy Halloween!  For the first time in two years, I had a wonderful Halloween.  I dressed up as a bellydancer, which wasn’t too much of a stretch since I’d bought a bellydancing costume in Egypt.  Just like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I ended up bellydancing at one point.  That was something else since no one had ever seen me wearing so much makeup, complete with fake eyelashes, but I think the real hit was the sequined bra with the tassels over the nipples.

            I kinda got suckered into dancing since one of the women who I work with asked me to show her and her friend how to bellydance.  I thought it was a good idea since they both are part of a modern dance troupe that performs all over Monterrey and the surrounding areas.  I showed them two moves, spun around and discovered that a ring had formed around me and the two other women had sat down!  I ended up dancing to three other songs after that.  I just hope my picture doesn’t end up on the school website.  Can you imagine your Algebra teacher bellydancing?

            Yet a scandalous bellydancing picture has been the least of my worries while living here in Monterrey.  Instead of trying to go into the sordid details of my everyday drama, I’ll just recap with a David Letterman-esque top ten list.



  1. Anytime a repairman makes an appointment, you may see him anywhere from 15 minutes to three days after the scheduled time.
  2. While driving, it’s totally acceptable to straddle the dashed line, cut off a few lanes of traffic to enter or turn, go against the arrows in parking lots and honk the horn at a whim.
  3. If I’m ever in a car accident, I should immediately claim that either my neck or back hurts so the police will take me to the hospital rather than jail.  (If you’re at fault, you go to jail until you pay or your insurance rep. shows up!)
  4. If your grass needs cutting or your car needs washing, some industrious person will come along to do it for you for next to nothing.
  5. If “Hablas ingles/do you speak English?” doesn’t get you very far, then whatever degree of broken Spanish will.  Mexicans are very patient, friendly and want to help you.
  6. If you really have an intricate transaction to make, ask a bilingual friend to go along with you since Mexicans are patient, friendly and want to help you.
  7. To clean mold off of the walls, you use strong bleach water, then buy a product like “Damp Rid” to collect the humidity out of the rooms, so mold won’t grow in the first place.
  8. Living “so close to the border” means fuck-all when trying to get any new technology like a digital camera repaired, setting up on-line banking, or mailing something using the Mexican postal service.  (Has anyone in the States received the postcard I sent back in August?)
  9. If you suddenly wake up covered in a rash (as I did last week), “Quadriderm”, which can be bought in the local grocery store, works miracles.
  10. Always keep a stash of cement powder around for those little home repairs.  (I’ve already repaired a toilet, some tile work around my front door and the tile work around my shower door with it.)