One of my friends in the US has, for three years, been trying to get me to come back to the States, at least for a visit. “Surely,” she’ll say, “there must be things you miss in the US while living in Mexico!” But, aside from friends, there’s only one thing I really, truly miss: a bathtub!
The vast majority of homes in Mexico have only showers. The shower stalls can be large and ornate, often decorated with beautiful tiles, but I still miss a bathtub. Sometimes I just wanna soak in a tub full of hot, hot water for a while. And I suspect that if I ever do make a return trip to the US for a visit the first thing I’m gonna do is have a long, long soak.
When I first got down here, there were other things that I missed, but over the past three years, I’ve either learned where to get them or found a substitute. For example, when my friend Jenn came to visit from Florida about six months after I arrived at Lake Chapala, I begged her to bring me some Fritos. We had Fritos here, but they were the chili and lime flavored ones like this.
I had expected Jenn to bring either one large bag or a few small ones, but she showed up at the Guadalajara airport with EIGHT large bags. Thank heavens she got the green light when going through customs because I’m not sure she could have explained … in Spanish … to the Mexican customs people why she had a whole suitcase full of Fritos.
I was positively miserly with those precious bags. When my friends would come over, I would allow them to SEE the bags, but would never offer them any. And while I wolfed the first one down very rapidly, I hoarded the other seven bags, finally finishing them off about six months later.
Oh, sure, I could have purchased regular Fritos at the grocery store in Ajijic that caters to gringos, but a large bag would have set me back about $7US. Even I wasn’t desperate enough to pay that. Then, about a year and a half ago, a new flavor of Fritos appeared at my local grocery store: salt and lime. They taste pretty much like regular Fritos. And now that I have a constant supply, I’ve cut way back on my consumption. I’m sure that’s an example of somebody’s economic law, but I don’t know whose.
Every once in a while, I get a craving for Burger King or American style pizza, but it turns out that Guadalajara has both. So maybe once every two or three months I pick up a pizza from the snack bar at the Costco or a Whopper from Burger King on the westside of Guad. It’s about an hour drive roundtrip to these places, but when you’ve lived in US National Parks as long as I have, that’s just normal driving time to town.
Another fast food item that I sometimes wanted was a Subway sandwich. Then I discovered the “torta” or “lonche,” the Mexican version of a sub.
At one of my favorite little restaurants in Joco, I can get a jamon y queso or arrachera torta for $20MX, about $1.65US. And, yes, I’m going to make you look up or figure out what those Mexican terms mean. Hey, you’ll need to know when you come visit me!
You’re probably sensing a pattern in what, besides a bathtub, I was missing. And you’re probably seeing a pretty large gap between the really good food recipes that Karen posts on the blog and what I eat too much of. But that’s why we’re collaborating on this blog!
Speaking of food, I’d like to recommend the blog of one of my Mexican internet and facebook friends, www.lacocinadeleslie.com. She has some fabulous recipes! One of the reasons so many of us down here like what she makes is that she uses ingredients that we can get. But the main reason we like her is that the food is delicious and simple. Check her out.