Final Preparations for the Posada for the Nestipac Ancianos are Underway


Phyllis, Kathi, and I are preparing for the Christmas posada for the old folks in Nestipac, Jocotepec, Jalisco, which is to take place this upcoming Wednesday, 11 December 2013.  Kathi has done an inordinate amount of work on this since Phyllis has been extremely busy working on a new edition of her late husband Georg Rauch’s book, The Jew With the Iron Cross (, and writing and giving a speech at the international book fair held annually in Guadalajara (, and I’ve been my usual lackidaisical self.

But somehow, as in years past, things seem to falling into place, and we’re all delighted about it.  Our local gringo friends have once again come through for us in the form of donations of money and blankets and clothing, and our Mexican friends are giving their time, talents (dancing and music), and skills (in the form of making atole and tamales to feed the crowd).

Yesterday it was my turn to make my contribution to the posada.  I had volunteered to provide all the “paper products” for the event.  This included styrofoam plates and cups, napkins, and large trash bags.  Easily enough done, of course, but, by volition, done with a Mexican flair.  Instead, for example, purchasing the cups and plates at Costco last week when Kathi and I were up there, we elected to purchase them from a Jocotepec vendor.  Good for the local economy and, it turns out, a real-life example of trickle-down economics.

So yesterday, Sunday, I set out to purchase what we needed.  Kathi had told me about an abarrote that had what I needed and away I went.  I took it as an excellent sign when I found a half-legal parking spot right on the corner next to the shop.  By “half-legal” I mean that Stormy the truck was half in a yellow no-parking zone, and half in a white parking zone.  (And you know I’m all about the “signs.”)

By all standards, this should have been a rather mundane activity, but it turned out to SO not be one.  Here’s what I wrote to my friend Ed about it this morning.  Enjoy!

Yesterday morning, about 8am, I went over to a little abarrote to purchase the styrofoam plates and cups that we need for the posada (we serve atole and homemade tamales, one pork tamale, one tamale dulce).  Phyllis, my friend who “runs” the whole thing, said that we needed about 175 of each.  We had some left plates left over from last year, but my contribution this year is to purchase all the “paper products” that we need.  
And since I like giving the local folks some business, instead of buying the things at Costco last week, I went over to the abarrote that my friend Antonio re-did for some folks a couple of months ago.  (Wheels within wheels within wheels…..and the real ‘trickle down’ economics at work.)  When I walked in, the guy working there dropped everything to wait on me, even though there was a young Mexican couple in front of me.  “No, no,” I told him, “I am second.  Please take care of these folks first.”  And so he did.  
He disappeared into the back room and came out with a large baggie of absolutely clear liquid.  I could NOT figure out what it was, so I asked the young man what was in the bag.  “Vinegar?”, I asked him.  He laughed and said “No, it’s alcohol.”  Now I know for a fact that nobody buys rubbing alcohol in a plastic baggie and when he said it was “for cinnamon” I knew exactly what he was going to do with it.  It was for a pajarete.  (Google it if you don’t know what that means.)  I’m thinking now that maybe the abarrote owner and/or the young couple thought I would be offended by it for some reason, which is why the owner wanted me to go first.  
Anyhow, having taken care of the young couple, the owner came back to me and asked me what I needed.  I pointed at the 12-ounce styrofoam cups (25 per sleeve) and told him that I needed seven sleeves.  The cups were on the very top shelf, so the owner got out a stick and started knocking them down into his hands, then laying them on the open containers of spices and nuts that he also sells.  That being done, I told him that I also needed three 50-count packs of rectangular plates.  Well, actually, I didn’t tell him that since I don’t have a clue how to say rectangular in Spanish, so I had to use hand gestures to indicate what I wanted.  
At first he didn’t seem to understand and knocked down some bowls and then some divided plates.  I finally wised up and said “they are for tamales” and the light above his head came on and he knocked down the three packets of what I wanted.  (Now, mind you, this is all being conducted in my atrocious Spanish, so it’s not going too fast.)  
Having received what I wanted, we bundled the stuff over to the checkout counter (and I use the term loosely) and he proceeded to look up the prices and add up what I owed him on the calculator.  He did this several times and I thought maybe he was having trouble finding the price for the 12-ounce cups since they also sell 8-ounce and 16-ounce cups.  But, no, that wasn’t the problem.  Finally satisfied with the total, he looked at me and said, very solemnly, “es mucho dinero.”  I momentarily panicked since I had not asked the price of anything and I only had about 500 pesos on me.  
But he slowly turned the calculator around and showed me the total price….a little less than 160 pesos (about $12US).  So I whipped out a 100-peso note and three 20-peso notes and he looked so relieved.  Honestly, I think he was fretting more about having to come up with change at that hour on a Sunday morning than he was about the ‘high price.’  Because gringos around Lake Chapala (although not so much in Joco) often thoughtlessly throw out 500-peso notes willy-nilly in all sorts of little shops.  I think he was just thrilled to see my small bills and handle my “large order.”  
Have I told you lately how much I love Mexico????

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.
This entry was posted in Fiestas, Food, Fun Stuff, Getting Older, Lake Chapala, Shopping and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Final Preparations for the Posada for the Nestipac Ancianos are Underway

  1. Kathi says:

    Yes, Barb is right about the 500p notes. I go to the bank and get an assortment of smaller bills all the time.
    Am looking forward to the Posada on Wed. We have enough blankets for all!! Winter weather has come early this year and the blankets will be put to great use immediately. Thanks to all the generous folks who donated to the Posada.

  2. Kathi says:

    I’m so proud of Phyllis and her recent accomplishments…..getting out a new edition of the book and speaking at a very important forum at the Book Expo in Guadalajara. She’s go so many ‘irons in the fire’…..don’t know how she does it.

  3. Brian says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I love your writing. I have been lurking here and I’m certain I have read the majority of your posts. I am a true nit-picker in both content and text. And, I cannot find any grammatical nor content faults. Either you have a wonderful editor or the adult beverages you claim to consume are greatly exaggerated. I choose to think the third option, that you are a gifted writer who shows both tact and a wonderful grasp of story telling. I would love to meet up with you.


  4. ojdart says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I agree with Brian, though I’ve only read a few of your posts.
    I’m concerned that you haven’t posted anything since last December, and it’s now 4 July, 2014. Have you just retired for now from blogging? I hope everything is good with you, and that you will return to your blog.
    All the best,

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