Dentists, dust, cars, maids, Lent, etc.

WE WENT TO the dentist yesterday, both of us. Actually, it was two dentists. One for her, and another for me.

My child bride was to get, after three months of waiting for the posts to set in her jaw, her four new implants. She ended up getting three. There was some detail with the fourth, and she’ll be returning in about 10 days to get that last one.

While she was doing that for over three hours, I drove about 10 blocks away to a specialist who does root canals. That went well, if longer than usual, two hours in the chair, and then I returned to the other dentist to pick up my better half.

A friend in Arizona told me yesterday that he needs a root canal, and his dentist’s fee will be $2,500. That’s U.S. dollars. My root canal cost $3,200 pesos, which is about $172 in U.S. dollars. This cost difference is astounding.

We have no dental insurance, but we don’t need it. Unfortunately, my friend in Arizona does not have dental insurance either, and he does need it. Just one more example of how life in Mexico is superior to life above the Rio Bravo.

* * * *

THE SEASON OF DUST

shelves
Veranda shelves where dust and bat poop accumulate.

This morning, like most mornings, I swept the downstairs veranda and wiped off the shelves. All the shelves were dusty, and some harbored bat turds that had dropped from the roof tiles where bats doze during the day.

We’re heading into full-tilt dry season, which means lots of dust, inside and out. The dust inside drives my child bride nuts. We really should hire a maid, but we never do. The minor reason is that we don’t want another ongoing household expense. The major reason is that we don’t want anyone underfoot here.

In the years we’ve lived here, we’ve had two maids. I forget why we fired the first, but we fired the second because she was unreliable. For months after she departed, we noticed things had been stolen, mostly clothing and music CDs. If we ever hire another maid, we will not leave her here by herself, which is another reason not to hire a maid.

* * * *

CARS, CARS, CARS

Unlike so many Gringos who make the wise decision to move over the Rio Bravo, I did not bring a car with me. Delta Airlines provided my transportation.

I bought my first car in September 2000. It was a little Chevy Pop, something that was not sold in the United States. It was almost a clone of the Geo Metro, a very nice little ride. Four years later, we bought a 2004 Chevrolet Meriva, another car that’s not sold in the United States. It was made in Brazil and sold in other nations around the world as a Vauxhall, sometimes an Opel. It too was a very nice car.

A bit over four years later, we bought our 2009 Honda CR-V. Aside from some design flaws that only the driver notices, this is a very nice car, and it’s still serving us well.

About four years later, again, we bought my wife’s 2014 Nissan March, and yet again, it’s a car that is not sold in the United States. It is small and sweet.

The Honda is almost a decade old now. It’s been great. However, a large plastic part  where the front bumper should be — why do cars no longer have bumpers? — fell off recently in the state capital. No huge issue, and a mechanic reattached it for free.

Is this a harbinger of things to come? Will we be tooling down the autopista through avocado groves and narco hangouts toward the sands of the Pacific when something else falls off or simply stops functioning? It’s a concern.

I don’t know when I’ll buy it, but I have decided on its replacement: the Kia Soul.

soul

It’s smaller than the Honda CR-V, but it’s far roomier than it looks. We went by the dealership in the capital city recently to see if my tall, lanky, aging self could get into the Soul with no problem. It was a piece of cake.

The front seat is incredibly spacious. The back seat not so much, but we never sit in the back seat. The safety ratings are good, and so are customer reviews.

Inexplicably, when I tried to sit in the significantly larger Kia Sportage, I cracked my skull on the top of the door opening. Kia, a South Korean firm, has been making a big splash in Mexico the last couple of years.

When this change will take place is unknown. Currently, the Honda is working fine. I recently bought new floor mats and had it waxed for the first time. Soon, I’ll need four new tires, no small expense. But when a new car is purchased, I’ll become a Soul Man.

* * * *

BEEF AND WALKING

I wrote the above this morning before heading out on my daily exercise march around the neighborhood plaza. The butcher shop in the next block, run by another Felipe, was closed due to its being Friday during Lent.

Semana Santa is just a couple of weeks away, so he’ll soon be able to sell again on Fridays. That won’t affect me, however, because I rarely eat beef, being more of a chicken and salad man. It always amuses me that Catholics think God worries about what they eat.

And Jews think God wants guys to cut off the tip of their dingus.

I’m sure he has more important things on his mind, like how to get the Mohammedans to see the light and put down the scimitars.

14 thoughts on “Dentists, dust, cars, maids, Lent, etc.

  1. If the Honda has served you well, why not just get another Honda? I, too, am contemplating a replacement vehicle, but it’s extremely likely that I’ll get the same make and model, even color, as I have right now.

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    1. Ms. Shoes: Three reasons. One is the design flaws that only affect that driver may still be present. I’d have to check that, of course. The main reason is that the CR-V now costs a whale of a lot more than I paid for it almost a decade ago. Thirdly, the Soul is inexplicably more comfy inside (front seat) than the CR-V.

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  2. Felipe: I looked at a CR-V a couple of years ago, but bought a car instead. One of the factors that kept me from buying it was the CVT transmission. I had a company vehicle with a CVT, and the droning noise drove me nuts. Kia is a branch of Hyundai, and both are getting good reliability ratings. I looked at a Santa Fe also, but it seemed cheap inside, and getting Sat-nav and a backup camera was a $5000 upgrade. There are a lot of Kia Souls around, but if you’re going to wait for a Honda to die, you may have a long wait. I had a ’91 Civic that I put 300,000 km on. I changed the oil, put brakes, exhaust and a battery in it over 13 years, and then sold it to teenager who wanted it because of ‘Fast and Furious’.
    It’s strange to me about the meat on Friday thing, because the Popey guys repealed that law many years ago. I belong to a cult which lets me do whatever I want. It only has one member, but you are welcome to establish your own franchise.

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    1. Kris: Aside from design flaws that only affect the driver, I like the CR-V a lot. I’ve never noticed any droning noise from the transmission or anywhere else. You say there are a lot of Souls around? Not down here. I just noticed it within the past six months. As I mentioned, Kia is a relatively new player in the car market in Mexico. I did not know it was part of Hyundai. Interesting.

      Also did not know the Pope had repealed the Friday meat thing. Mexicans did not get that memo, it seems. We prefer the old ways.

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      1. The CR-V you own is probably a normal automatic. Many manufacturers are now putting CVTs in cars now because they’re cheaper.

        I think the meat rule was changed at Vatican 2, in the 1980s.

        Souls abound up here. Inexpensive roomy, kind of an SUV that isn’t.

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        1. Kris: I just found your comment languishing in the Trash file. Sorry about that. I did not do it. WordPress sometimes goes bonkers.

          And yes, my CR-V is a normal automatic.

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  3. Well, time to put another notch in my bucket list. I’ve made a story in The Unseen Moon! Even if it is because I have no dental insurance.

    Ain’t Life Grand!

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  4. Well, this post got off to a very good start as the title made me laugh. I’m curious. Do cars lose value more slowly in Mexico than in the USA? It seems to me that there is a relatively much smaller group of new car buyers in Mexico than in the USA and as such it’d make sense if used cars depreciated more slowly. Is that the case?

    As for the Kia Soul, I have to admit that I have thought that it would make a cool car for Mexico too. Hyundai/Kia have been steadily climbing the quality/reliability ranks. I’ve rented a few Hyundais, and they’ve all been well put together and nice to drive.

    As for your friend, he could fly to Mexico twice for his implant, have a nice vacation and still save money over doing the procedure in AZ. Maybe you can suggest it.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where at least the cars don’t rust.

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    1. Kim: Do cars lose value more slowly here? I have no clue. And there would be a smaller percentage of people here who buy new cars simply because a smaller percentage of the population can afford to do so, or who are willing to go out on a debt limb to do so, I imagine. But if you buy a car from a dealership, many people like to show that fact off by leaving the dealership window sticker in place for months …. or years. No joke. And, yes, I mentioned to my friend Mark — just above your comment — that he could do exactly that. It would be fun.

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  5. We have a Kia Soul, five years old now. We bought the luxury model with leather and heated seats. My favorite feature as we live on the west coast in Canada. Very comfie to travel in and loads of room to put the camping gear.
    We have the polar white. Great car.

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    1. Shelagh: Thanks for the info. And from what I have read, the car has improved exponentially since five years ago, so that’s saying something. Heated seats! Well, with leather that would be a real plus. Now if only there were cooled seats available for summertime. That’s always been my big beef with leather seats, not the winter, but the summer. I’d never even heard of the Kia Soul till about six months ago. I don’t think it was available at all in Mexico before then.

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