Friday, March 11, 2011

Little Things we Take for Granted

Arriving back in Canada, we were presented with some small, but distinct, differences...things we take for granted living here.

The very first thing I noticed was being able to understand everyone around me. In México, I tend to tune out background conversation simply because I have no idea what anyone is saying. In Canada, I can't help but overhear snippets of conversation, because I understand the language.

The currency is familiar and exact. In México, prices are rounded up or down to the nearest centavo. I'm still trying to get their currency planted into my brain.

Here, I can turn on the water tap and have exactly the temperature I want and it'll stay that way until I adjust the tap. There, as soon as the shower temperature is what I want, I have about 5 minutes before it becomes scalding hot or bone chilling cold. And here, I can drink water straight from the tap.

Here, fruit and veggies don't require disinfecting.

Sidewalks here are a comfortable height for stepping on and off. There, they're sometimes a couple feet high. Judging from some photos I've seen, I think this is because México doesn't have a good system for getting rid of water when it rains. The streets become small rivers. So high sidewalks mean people can still walk around without wading in deep water.

Public washrooms. Oh man. Here is where México is so different from NOB. They're much cleaner here than there. Here, we have hooks in the stalls to hang our purses from. There, I usually end up hanging my purse around my neck. Toilet seats. We have 'em. How in blue blazes do Méxicans use a toilet with no seat? Do they really sit on the rim? My knees are getting too old and creaky and unreliable to hover. And why *don't* they have seats? It's a puzzling scenario. TP can be flushed in Canada. On our trip down to buy the condo, it was explained to us why TP can't be flushed. I forget the specifics but it's because of the way their waste system is set up. Something to do with screens and filters getting clogged with paper.

Of everything listed above, I'd have to say that hooks in the bathroom stall is the thing I most appreciate. Toilet seats are a very close second.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

We're Home

The drive into Cancún went smoothly enough but I think we got ripped off at the gas station. This is a station near Cancún, not the one at the halfway point on the toll road. We had to drive off the toll road to get to it and then back down towards Mérida again to get back onto the road to Cancún. There was probably an easier way to do it, but this worked for us.

Gas was 124 pesos. I was positive that I gave the kid a 100 and a 50. He holds up two 50's saying we need to give him more. I've read that this can happen. I wish I had been paying more attention.

Flying was a real adventure this trip. At the beginning of our holiday, when we went through security at the airport here, Señor B's new hip set off the detector. That didn't happen in Nov and it was the only time it happened this trip. When we were sitting at the Toronto airport, I thought I heard our names called but figured I was imagining it. I heard it again and, yes, it was us they were paging. So we went over to the boarding counter where the girl scanned our passports. No idea why. The gal never really said. Maybe they were concerned about his hip beeping and they had the plainclothes guy keeping an eye on

Coming back, Señor B's boarding pass went missing going through security in Cancún. I asked a guy to help us and he did. Sort of. He came back and said he couldn't find it. I asked him to look under the roller bars because that was the last place I had seen it. He went over there but all he did was move the plastic bins around. Of course, we couldn't go back out to help him look. All we could do was watch in frustration at his inability to offer any real assistance.

So off to the boarding area we went. We figured they were the folks who could best help us. Talked to the young man there and, after checking out Señor B's passport, issued him another ticket. No problemo. We were so grateful. THENNNNNN...we're sitting in Toronto airport grabbing a quick bite to eat. We only had about 20 minutes from the time we cleared Canada customs to our next boarding time. We had sandwiches and drinks. We were near our boarding gate and could see people lining up so off we went. I went to pull my passport and our boarding tickets out of my back pack. They were gone! I tore my pack apart, to no avail. I went back to where we were sitting but they weren't there, either. omg! What do we do?! I remembered collecting up the garbage from the table and tossing it in a trash can. In desperation, I looked there. Found them! HURRAAAAY!!!!!!

Because we hadn't heard them calling our flight number, we missed pre-boarding and were close to the last ones on. Poor Señor B had to navigate his crutches past all those people. Luckily, we weren't too far down, so it wasn't too bad.

This leg of the trip I was sitting between Señor B and another guy. I hate sitting between 2 men. Men always sit with their legs apart and their arms by their sides, taking up every available inch of space. After a while, my chest starts to hurt and I'm having a bit of trouble breathing. I'm getting worried, thinking I might be having a heart attack. Then it occurs to me that I've been scrunched up with my arms folded over my chest for about 3 hours. My chest has been compressed and my lungs unable to expand properly. So I decided that if men can make room for "the boys", I can darn well make room for "the girls". I gently, but assertively, slide my arms down to my sides, claiming the upper part of the seating as mine. I felt better within a couple of minutes.

Because of strong headwinds, we were about 45 minutes later than scheduled getting into our home airport. It was COLD! omgosh. The temperature was around -30C and there was a nasty wind blowing. I'm sure the windchill was -40 or lower. While we were in the shuttle taking us to our truck, Señor B tried starting the truck with the remote starter but it wasn't running when we got there. He had to start it with the key. Poor truck grumbled mightily about having to start. It screamed, literally. But, thankfully, it started.

Señor B had forgotten his gloves so he had to borrow the extra pair of mitts that I'd brought. I have really small hands so the mitts were tight on him but it was the only option he had. My mitts are girly purple. *giggle*

We stayed at the same hotel as last time. We were on the non-smoking floor but whoever had been in our room last had smoked in there. The room stunk but we'd been on the go for 21 hours and were too tired to complain and wait for another room. Why do some smokers think it's ok to smoke in a  non-smoking room? It's so rude and inconsiderate.

The next day we did a bit of shopping. Señor B got himself a new pair of sunglasses and I went to a few beauty suppliers to pick up some things I needed.

The drive home was worse than last time. Then we only had to contend with snow that was blowing straight across the road. This time, the snow was swirling. Maybe it doesn't bother Señor B, but it totally messes with my perception. Besides blowing snow, we also had falling snow. We couldn't drive more than 90-95km. It was a long trip home, getting in about 5:00pm.

Today has been spent taking care of laundry, picking up groceries and running errands. Back to work tomorrow.