Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One Man’s Rubbish Is Another Man’s Treasure


On one of our trips to Mexico, prior to our moving here, I once dragged Todd half way across Querétaro to see a Mexican Costco. Convinced that it would be something interesting and exotic because it was in another country, I wasted a day of our vacation and was sorely disappointed to discover that it was just like every other Costco that I had ever been to, in Canada or the States. The only discernable difference was that it had less merchandise than it’s counterparts to the north and was considerably more expensive.

On Sunday we went to the San Miguel Pulga. The Flea Market. You would think that I might have learned something from the Costco debacle, but holding true to form, I was clearly expecting something more exotic, or at least less mundane, than I actually got. I wish we could all cross borders and cultural boundaries as readily as Costco and the Flea Market. It could have been the school gymnasium or the Rec Center in any little Canadian or American town.


Pulga 013

North Vancouver, Bellingham or San Miguel?


Even most of the merchandise, with the exception of a few Mexican art pieces and food items could have been found in any Flea Market I’ve ever attended. Actually, I find them fascinating so I have attended quite a few. A cursory look around revealed an awful lot of junk, but never one to be deterred by challenge, I set off to sort through the mountains of geegaws in search of a treasure that I was sure was buried therein.


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Jewelry And Polished Stones


Among the racks and racks of old clothes I found a skirt that I had to have for 50 pesos. Next Todd found some funky blown glass rings that no jewelry box should be without, and we were just beginning!


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Handbags, Makeup Bags, Pin Cushions


It was a veritable cornucopia of STUFF. There were tools, knives and stun guns. Uh huh. There were silver tea services and chipped coffee mugs. Oil lamps from the 1930’s, books in English and Spanish and a wall hanging of Ganesh. Lots of toys, salt shakers, egg cups and glassware that had managed to stay unbroken for decades.There was luggage and gloves with no fingers, pill, cigarette and cell phone cases, embroidered pillow cases and ribbons and beads………….


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Knick Knacks, Glassware and Luggage


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Things of Unknown Origin or Purpose…..


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And The Money Changed Hands….



My Oh My


Just before we left I found an old Weightwatchers cookbook for 10 pesos, which was just what I needed, but my only regret is not stopping to try on the brocade and mink shoes with the leopard skin lining.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It Must Be A Sign

Since I am unable to walk much these days, one of my favorite pastimes is just going for a drive. I love to sit with the windows open and the warm wind blowing through the car while we go nowhere in particular. I like to look at the scenery, the people, and surprisingly, the signs. Sometimes they try to put them in English, with hilarious results, and sometimes they just simply don’t translate well.

When I go into a restaurant where they don’t know me I’m often given a menu in English. I guess I really don’t look like I speak Spanish. I always take it and thank them for their consideration, but I would really prefer to have a menu in Spanish because the English translations are often so bad that it’s hard to understand them.

In the following picture, not just the integration of English slang, but the entire concept had me sort of flabbergasted.

bubis2New Boobies?

If our friend Carlos had not been in the car with us when we first saw this sign, we might have continued on thinking we had somehow misunderstood what they were advertising, but he assured us that, yes, it meant exactly what we thought it did.

The next sign is the actual promotion. Hold onto your seat.


For each two glasses of wine or drinks that you purchase , you will receive a ticket to win breast enhancement surgery. Or as they so eloquently put it, a boobie operation.
The next sign is advertising English lessons. I’m not really sure where they were going with it but it sort of brings to mind fish-net stockings and a riding crop.


I love the following sign. It is a road sign on a very steep incline descending about 2000 ft. from Patzcuaro to Uruapan. It is fine in Spanish but when you translate it it conjures up an interesting image.

Fireside 004
Ahhhhhhh, Get Out Of The Way!!!!!!!!

Roughly translated the sign says “ yield to vehicles with no brakes”. Geez, good idea! Have you seen the size of some of the doble semi remolques, huge trucks with two trailers, on these highways? Yikes!
Now we have a sign that Todd discovered shortly after we moved to Patzcuaro. It is on the periferico, ring road, going into Morelia. It is an acronym for Urban Development, which sort of speaks for itself.

Government Building?

Institute for Municipal Urban Development

We have now returned to the question of whether it is wise to make a sign in another language without knowing all the nuances of that language. This establishment is in Querétaro.


In Michoacán there are even signs in the Purépecha language. I thought I’d gone cross-eyed when I first saw this one.


I’m always amazed at how easy it is to find ways to amuse myself here. Life is good!