Tag Archive for 'Hazards'

Lost in Translation

This menu only looks like it is in English, it is really a cleverly designed trap to lure the hapless English-speaking traveler into a false sense of security.

I was recounting to a friend that one of the most annoying things about life in Mexico is American restaurants that have been imported and only partially translated their menu. Meaning that the descriptions are in Spanish but the title of the dish is in English… or so you think! For example at Starbucks I always try to order “Helado Shaken Lemon Tea” which is how it it is listed on the menu and in the end I have to go back to “te negro con hielo, por favor.” The worst is Chili’s. The other night when I tried to order my turkey sandwich it took several tries. I should have said it in Spanish, but I was tired. Finally the girl on the phone said oh “the Smhack-ed Toorkee.” I think my response was something along the lines of “yes, that’s fine you can smack it around a bit first, just put it on a plate.” From now on, I think I will stick with translating the English into Spanish when I order, it seems a lot simpler than having my English translated in well.. something else entirely.

The Hazards of Juarez

Like any city, Juarez has its hazards.  Most of Juarez’s issues are well covered by the news media. There are however a few little gems that go unnoticed… those would be parqueos, speed bumps, window washers and car buffers. Yep, every day it’s like a little game to see how many of these Juarez hazards I can avoid while getting all my business done in the city.  My friend and fellow Juarezident has already done a great job describing the perils of Juarez speed mountains bumps, so I’ll skip that little delight and go straight to parqueos. These industrious fellows lie in wait in ordinary parking lots, ready to direct the hapless driver into a “space” and then later back out again. I put space in quotes because sometimes their idea of an open spot seems to be up on a sidewalk or on top of another car. There seem to be 2 types of parqueos, those  that eagerly try to help you in and out and then those just magically appear right when you are about to pull out, and manage to stand right in your blind spot waving madly to “assist” you out. Of course, they all manage to appear by the window at tip time.  I’ve heard of parqueos directing people in to cement barriers and other cars, so unfortunately my recommendation to any future Juarezidents doing battle with this particular hazard is have a few pesos ready and proceed with caution.

Window washers and buffers, both work the same territory. These gentlemen hangout by traffic lights waiting to catch those unfortunate enough to get the red light. It doesn’t matter if you got attacked by the window washer at the last light and there isn’t a speck of dirt on your windows, they’re ready to wash again if the intrepid Juarez driver isn’t fast enough with the “no, gracias.” Sometimes they don’t even take no for an answer. I will say that for the most part they do a pretty good job. I must have given a heck of a tip the other day because the one who washed my windshield then proceeded to wash all my windows, my headlights, and my side mirrors. My car was pretty dirty, I will give him that, but I didn’t think it was that amazing of a tip. The most insidious of all these hazards is “the buffer.” They are the hardest to spot. You think it is just some nice guy crossing at the red light when all the sudden you hear a thump on the roof of your car and you realize you are getting buffed. They carry rags around for the purpose of well, rubbing the dirt around on your car in the name of shining it. But the problem is, it doesn’t actually do anything other than move the Chihuahua dust from one spot on the car to another. Lest you think I deprive these industrious gentlemen of their tips, I will admit I do carry a small cache of coins for when I “lose the game” and don’t manage to wave them off quick enough. I figure it’s my tax for failing to be quick enough on the “no, gracias.” Thus far, I’ve only been caught by the buffers and washers 5 times in 3 months and most of those were in the first month; I’m getting better…