Thursday, December 22, 2016

up the amazon without a paddle

Mexico today is not the Mexico many of us first encountered decades ago.

That tends to be a recurring theme of those who write about our experiences in Mexico. It certainly is true for me.

My first venture across the border was in 1971 when I was stationed at undergraduate pilot training in Laredo. My trips across the Rio Bravo to Nuevo Laredo introduced me to a world I had never come close to experiencing. Being single and in my early twenties simply magnified my new-found wonders.

When we drove south, we were obliged to take replacement car parts with us, and to be certain that we never allowed a Pemex to speed by as we slipped deeper into the bowels of what would become my adopted country four decades later.

Showing up in this area in 2007 shocked me. Almost everything I had learned about Mexico in the early 1970s had changed. Pemex stations were almost everywhere. The toll roads were as good (or better) than the autobahn. And stores were filled with produce and food items that were unimaginable to a 22-year old Steve Cotton.

Mexico had changed. It was now a middle income country with the 12th largest economy in the world.

One of the big changes has been access to electronic goods. NAFTA lowered the protectionist barriers that made purchasing almost anything electronic out of the reach of anyone but the wealthiest of Mexicans.

But not everything is readily available. Now and then, I want an item that is not on the shelves of the local stores. That is where Amazon enters the picture.

Last year, I availed myself of Amazon's services several times (the magic gift hole). The first two orders were flawless. One showed up at my post office box; the other at my house.

And then this summer, something went awry. I opened the Amazon (US) site, ordered three items, and attempted to pay. What I got was a warning my choices could not be sent to my Mexican addresses. Even though they were exactly the same type I had previously ordered.

I tried the Amazon Mexico site. The items were not available. So, I reverted to old behavior. The order went to a friend's house in Seattle. She then brought it to me. That is also why my brother muled down my new Surface Pro.

In setting up my new work station (and I will let you see it in the near future), we discovered I needed a very specific cable to hook my tablet to my monitor -- HDMI to a mini data port, if you are interested. After searching all of the likely suspect stores here and in Manzanillo, Darrel and I decided there was no option but to order one online.

I found a perfect match on Amazon (US). But, once again, I was told I could not receive it at either of my two addresses. No further explanation.

So, I looked at Amazon Mexico. Eureka. The identical cable was available -- and at almost the same price. It seemed too good to be true.

It was. When I checked out, I discovered the cable would be sent south from Amazon (US), and I would be responsible for paying an importation fee. And, even though the cable up north had a one-day delivery option, the same cable through Amazon Mexico would take 9 days. (The 9 days has now been recalculated to three weeks.)

What has happened to the Amazon (US) connection, I do not know. I would be interested in hearing from you if you have experienced the same difficulties lately.

At least, I am going to eventually receive the cable I need. Once again, I learn the lesson of Mexican patience.

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