October 12, 2008

Survival mode in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

My mama raised a survivor who during the worst financial crisis since the Depression, finds herself in Mexico. Even without renters, given the cost of living here, I can still probably make it on my disability pensions and probably continue to pay a couple Mexicans a fair wage. Only two cancellations so far.

A trip to the US for a medical procedure - endoscopy with biopsy - is out of the equation. I met with Dr Salas on Saturday night for pre-procedure blood orders and a prescription for the ultrasound the gastroenterologist wants going into it. Target date for ERCP, Friday.

Cost to me: $500. About a 10th of the cost of the same in the US healthcare system, or the price of my co-pay. Nice to have a gastroenterology problem 7 miles from where the lapband was developed. The technology transfer is here, too!

Jose began is one month unpaid furlough working on his microgarden in the window box of one of my apartments. He got other planters ready for vegetables and lettuce. I made tuna noodle casserole, and then in my role as his mamita, told him about survival mode and being ready for the worst. While he enjoyed one of them, I also told him what typical American comfort foods are. The pozoles of North of the border.

He was heading out for a week at his parents pig ranch, 1000 head of hog, and I encouraged him to act interested in working for the family. He hates pigs and his younger brother has taken the role of operations manager. "You must be prepared to go back if tourism does not pick up," his mamita told him.

As Bloomberg News reported yesterday, "Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon said Sept. 25 in New York that his country could weather the global credit-market crisis, the central bank has drawn on near-record foreign reserves to prop up the peso, the benchmark stock index dropped 22 percent and the government unveiled a 65.1 billion-peso ($5 billion) stimulus plan to help tourism, energy and construction industries overcome an economic slowdown.

"People say that when the United States gets a cold, Mexico gets pneumonia,'' Calderon told a gathering of the Economic Club of New York on Sept. 25. "This is not exactly the case today.''

But one wonders. The peso is trading nearly 13 to 1 to the dollar, a record. It is an unnamed devaluation that looks good to incoming tourists, but is evidence of a faltering local economy.
The nation's largest retailer, and largest purveyor of US commodities, Comercial Mexicana declared bankrupcty on Thursday. The Soriana chain was bought out by Gigante.
Felipe Calderon's plan to privatize Pemex, the government petroleum monopoly, is moving ahead, with prices scheduled to go up 2 percent a week until they reach world market prices over two years. Hard to explain how this frees up government assets to a poorly educated electorate and its press, prone to merging his name into FeCal. The headlines are not pretty.
Eriso continued to work on my garden wall and fence project and clued me into his fried fish. Instead of pulled pork on Sundays, he sells fried fish for less than half the price of fish downtown, a third of the price of pulled pork here in the neighborhood.
Lucky for Jose's family, this is a pork loving nation.
I told Miguel of my talks with Jose. "Good. But we all hope it doesn't come to that," he said. Miguel, who a decade ago coined "Two for one, almost free" at Posada del Mar, came up with a new one for new times. "Best prices in the crisis."
But there were hardly any people on the street to hear him try it out.
And I came home after a quick stop at the Super, with $25US in cleaning products, milk, bread, eggs, cheese and a head of romaine.
I'll buy Eriso's fish today instead of conchinita and thank God mom and I had gone into survival mode together during the Carter Administration and that she passed her World War II and Depression survival skills on to me.
Note to Miguel: The saying is yours! This site is copyrighted. Best prices in the crisis. Very smooth.

1 comment:

Islaholic Trixie said...

Love Miguel's new saying! It should be interesting to see what the downtown pricing is this season.