The thing I miss most


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. 

Fritos Limon y Chile - Sabritas 6.34oz


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,  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. 


About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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7 Responses to The thing I miss most

  1. Krystal says:

    In preparation for our move south this fall, I’ve been preparing a shopping list of things that I think I won’t be able to live without like my peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches. In fact, my backpack today is loaded up with Nilla Wafers and Goldfish crackers for our friend Sarah that we are hoping to meet in Mexico City. I’m looking forward to finding out what I can live without too!

  2. Leslie Limon says:

    I started writing my list last night, but I went to bed early and didn’t finish it. Bathtubs are definitely on the top of my list, as are Fritos! Oh how I miss BBQ and Chili cheese flavored fritos. (No lime, please!) 🙂

    I used to miss more foods, but now I just make them myself. Now if only I could figure out how to make grape jelly. 🙂

    Great list, Barb! And thank you so much for mentioning my food blog.

    • Barbara says:

      leslie, it’s so hard to find things WITHOUT lime here; isn’t it? i think i’m starting to get used to it! i wonder if mayonnaise without lime would taste okay to me now?

      you might just have to settle for a peanut butter sandwich with a glass of jugo de uva! our local grocery doesn’t have grape jelly either, but i loooooooove the pineapple marmalade.

      if i’m ever headed up to your neck of the woods, i’ll try to remember to go to SuperLake … or SuperCaro as my friend Amalia calls it, the gringo grocery store in Ajijic, and pick up a jar of grape jelly for you.

  3. Kathi says:

    Barb, my amiga, you can go soak in hot hot water with minerals in it for as long as you like just up the carreterra in San Juan Cosala at the Thermal Springs that bubble and boil out of the ground.
    I’ll go with you! It’s a great way to while away an afternoon.

    • Barbara says:

      ooooh, then people would SEE me! that’s just not fair to humanity! it’s bad enough that you and warner and jojo might actually see me in shorts this weekend! i hope you guys have sunglasses because the whiteness of my legs is gonna blind you.

  4. Gigi says:

    When we first traveled in Mexico on our sailboat there were no megastores and my list of foods to bring with me was very long! When we began camping there, I made a list, too…and every time we go south I am able to scratch some things off of it. It’s not long at all, now! More things are available, and we’ve learned to like so many local things. And that torta pix makes me hungry, darnit!

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