Friday, April 26, 2013

everything on red

Florence King uses a brilliant line to decline invitations:  "I would love to; I just don't want to."

I have long suspected my friends up north think I am using a similar line when I tell them: "I can't do it today; I have to go go the post office."

But it is true.  If I attempt to do more than one task a day in Melaque, neither will be completed when it is time for one of our spectacular sunsets.  Almost without fault.

Take Thursday.  My primary goal was to go to the Post Office to mail some cards and pick up my two weeks of accumulated mail.  With a brief stop to drop off my laundry.  Simple.  Not really two tasks at all.

The moment I left the house, I knew I was back in Mexico.  The neighbor, who lives across the street (and who sweeps my sidewalk and drive), wanted to welcome me back.  And to know what had become of my mother and brother.

Around the corner, I ran into the posada owner who shares my laguna-cleaning duties.  It was a brief stop by Mexican standards.  Enough to gather some information and to satisfy convention.

On the next corner, I ran into my pals Ed (the artist) and his wife, Roxanne (the photographer), at my favorite shrimp restaurant.  I sat down for what I thought would be five minutes.  But this is Mexico -- and these are friends. 

When I stood up to leave, an hour had passed.  But it was time well-spent.  I had re-connected with two of my favorite people in Melaque.

In the next block I stopped to talk to two young Americans who have successfully brought the Pacific Northwest coffee culture to our little fishing village.  I looked around at the remodeling they have started while I was away.

And then it was my doctor.  She saw me through her office door and stopped me to inquire about my mother and brother -- as well as my drive north.

Even my brief stop at the laundry turned into a conversation about my mother and brother, my old car, and the new car to come.

In the course of about twelve blocks on my walk to the post office, I had invested just over three hours of relationship-building.  And then another half hour at the post office collecting my mail -- along with a healthy dose of local gossip.

So, I decided to reward myself with a leisurely two-hour lunch across the street from my bank. And that leads to the topic of the post I had intended to write.

Yesterday, John Calypso asked about my car purchase.  "Last we heard (I think) you were getting your car upon arrival in Mexico -- apparently that did not happen?"  It's a good question.

The answer is that I changed my mind.  My confidence level of transferring the pesos to the car dealer through my bank's web page was rather low.

So, I flew back to Melaque to handle the financial side of this deal.  The Escape is ready for pick up in Guadalajara as soon as I can get the money up there electronically.

What I did not take into account is that it takes three days to transfer my dollars from one bank to my BanamexUSA account.  Then I need to transfer the dollars (a transfer large enough that should attract the great seeing eye of Big Sister Napolitano) to my Banamex account here in town.

In the process, the dollars will be subjected to financial alchemy and will end up as pesos.  Only then can I hit the red button in Melaque to send a wad of electronic pesos to the car dealer in Guadalajara.  Where my hours of toil-earned dollars will magically turn into a new Escape.

I had toyed with the idea of just waiting to complete this transaction.  When I started looking at new Escapes in March, the $399,999 (Mx) price was the equivalent of $31,298 (US).  This week, the equivalency is $33,305 (US).  If I had purchased last May, it would have been $27,874 (US).

All because of the ever-changing exchange rate between the dollar and the peso -- as you can see by the chart.

But playing peso roulette is not a practical option now.  There are plenty of people who live here full-time and part-time who do not have cars.  But I have some places I would like to go in the next few months.  And I will need a car for all of them.

So, sometime next week, John, I should fulfill my promise.  And who knows where I will go from there?

Well, the dentist for a starter.

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