When I’m referring to making things “happen” in mexico, I am not really referring to music – although I wouldn’t mind playing some shows down there sometime.
What I’m referring to is things that would normally be too expensive for me to handle in the states:
– Getting a new timing belt on my car (US price? $550.00), plus spark plugs and all the other things to keep the ol’ beater running smoothly beyond the normal that most people would hold on to a car
– Getting power locks on my new car…because you start to realize as a musician lack of automatic locks can be a bit frustrating when you’ve got your hands full.
Now….I can’t explain why I’ve driven for two years with a car that has manual locks and never thought a thing of it…but now that my boyfriend is a passenger in my new car, I’m fucking tired of having to lean over to unlock the car after like…two days.
Let it be known that my BF did not ride in my beater car – specifically for the reason that he is too tall for my Honda civic and I have this undying paranoia of his kneecaps shattering, should a collision ever occur.
Now – I’ve made calls recently on the cost of making changes to my car in the states – and it’s fucking expensive. It’s expensive because the auto industry can get away with it. Most of the time though – if you call any auto dealership to try to get anything done, they treat you like you don’t matter.
Which lately, is how I feel about MOST businesses in the US. Even (sadly) some small business owners who seem to get a little money hungry.
More and more I’m feeling like when it comes to doing business with people – industries that use to be motivated here in the US can be lazy and downright RUDE sometimes. Granted – there are exceptions. I’ve spoken with people on the phone with my car questions and they’ve been incredibly helpful. The trouble is – I can’t afford to hire them.
On the whole, I feel like the American business owner attitude is “I don’t care if you’re happy – all I care about is your money. ”
Mechanics especially – who seem to find it joyous to charge you as much as possible in the states, for as little as possible. If you’re dealing with a dealership directly – FORGET about it – it costs $120.00 just to get a diagnosis.
Getting my transmission fluid flushed at Valvoline cost an astonishing $150.00.
Because the auto industry in the US knows they can get away with it. My grandfather was a mechanic. My boyfriend’s dad was a mechanic. I know what mechanics who give a shit look like.
This is why I’ve been on a sort of obsessive hunt to find my “All star team” in Mexico.
An auto body guy.
An upholstery guy…
A car stereo and alarm guy…
And also a dentist – a dermatologist…(I’ll work on those later…) really anything that’s too expensive for me to want to deal with in the US.
After hours of reading on the interwebs and a couple phone calls later – I found guys in Mexico that spoke perfect English on the phone, quoted me amazing rates for the auto jobs in question – and today was the day that I set out to go “all in” and put my faith in the work of TJ car guys.
There was a distant twinkle in my mind of “what if they fuck up my cars? ” Well – that’s why I had strategy here: If they fuck up my beater car – it’s no loss there.
The work being done to the new car was just a power lock system – but my plan was this:
I would work til roughly 2pm.
I would go back to the house – and Laya and I would go to O’reilly to pick up the parts I want them to replace on the Honda.
From there we’d go to Tijuana – following each other. We’d drop off the Honda at the mechanic. Then from there we’d immediately go over to the car stero place – which would put power locks in my new car, which only had manual locks.
All things considered – I would likely be spending about 300 dollars in labor on two car jobs that would normally cost four or five times that here in the states.
So early today – I got impeccable verbal directions from the mechanic on the phone who speaks perfect English.
I’ve downloaded the mexico maps into my GPS and I’ve learned – you have to ask people “how should i input it in my GPS” as the way you punch in mexican addresses in an american GPS is just…well it’s different.
However – I was familiar enough to know where Ave Revolucion is – and from there I just had to make two turns and BOOM I’d be at the mechanic.
It is rather problematic however that Calle 11 is not marked…
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED WHERE IS THE SIGN!?
So I managed to conveniently “pull into a parking space” on a business when I passed the 11 sign and was able to kind of turn around on a street where there really weren’t any u-turns permitted -and I made it there a few minutes after I expected.
Laya in the other car however – lost me when we first crossed the border – and she was not so lucky in finding a place she could turn around.
We texted back and forth and after me praying to the car gods that she’d make it on time – she did – and from there, I called the car stereo guy – who agreed to meet us at the mechanic place and then from there we would follow him to his business.
I figured if he was offering such amazing customer service – its probably because he knew there’d be no chance in HELL that I could find it on my own.
So about ten minutes after we wrapped up with dropping off the Honda, the other guy was there and says “the ride will take about 15-20 minutes”
I thought first “oh traffic” but then I also thought ” gee if you had told me it was that far – I would have tried to find somehwhere closer.”
I mean- most people would be like “no that’s fucking scary Mexico is scary OMG OMG”
But me and Laya? We love Mexico, and we love adventure. I was like “oh hell yes I bet I will end up somewhere I’ve never been before.”
Sure enough…we drop the car off – the guy tells us where to walk to get to the beach and to some restaurants…by then it’s about 5pm – and we walk to the beach just in time to catch an epic sunset…I took some neat photos – it was like we had the beach entirely to ourselves……and then we continued walking further down the beach to where some stairs were.
Before hitting the stairs – I think some teenage boys offered for us to smoke weed with them….but language barriers and whatnot…we kept walking.
After walking up the stairs – we are at the head lifeguard station. I went to use the restroom thinking – that it would be probably be “gross” as most restrooms at San Diego beaches tend to be just at that border and usually out of toilet paper.
But NO – not this beach bathroom. This was the CLEANEST – NICEST BEACH BATHROOM I had ever seen. A gentleman attends the bathroom on the outside and hands you a pleasant handful of toilet paper neatly folded. This bathroom was spotless! I was in awe.
This part of Tijuana proved that it’s not all the dingy stuff you see in zona centro.
After that – we found a tiny random restaurant – and for exactly one hour ( was watching my watch the whole time) I felt like we had been transported to our own private getaway in an exotic locale. It was mostly families eating here and it was a pizza place – they had sangria – they fixed a delicious salad for me – the cook was very attentive in assisting us with the language barrier…and best of all – this place was literally ten feet from the ocean. Better than any view you could get at a five star restaurant in La Jolla – in my opinion….and the food all seemed very healthily made as if it was actually REAL food!
Within minutes of the 7pm time we needed to arrive back at my car – I requested a cab back to the place (I had a flier with the address of a nearby place on it) and BOOM we were back just in time.
I left with a fancy new alarm system in my car, and tomorrow – we will likely go back and pick up my Honda.
Afterwards we had to make a pit stop before waiting at the border and of all things, I saw a Wal-mart in TJ.
Say what you will about me going to Wal-mart but Laya and I viewed this as a nice way to brush up on our Spanish.
I saw it was a way to see how another country does things differently as a chain store. You can see the priorities are different….very different.
There’s definitely less “useless shit” in the Wal-Mart of TJ. Nearly everything I saw in there served a practical use. Decent selections of certain things, but no so much that it became overwhelming. One aisle of makeup but lots of hair color stuff. They have cooler extension cord gadgets. I saw a pink measuring tape that was just as good as a man’s.
I notice the lingerie there seems made better.
I noticed they have fewer choices of hand soap – but the soap smells like hand soap.
The plastic storage boxes they had are prettier and more colorful. Same with the pots and pans. I bought a pink pan. Even the inside of the pan is pink.
I noticed that the tupperware they have on the whole is meant to be used over and over rather than throw away – and they have more higher quality tupperware containers in practical usable shapes.
I noticed the colored napkins stuffed in each glass in the aisle of clear glasses and ll I could think was “a human put all those napkins in every glass. Someone gave a shit.”
I could have done without the road rage asshole trying to cut in line at the border crossing -but next time – lesson learned – veer all the way to the RIGHT of those crossing lanes. The left lanes are just fucked because they shut many left lanes down at night with no way to notify people or close them off.
Mexico has won me over for life.