A Day of Shopping in Tuxtla-Gutierrez
Oh Boy I’m in Mexico
I woke up this morning feeling like I’d better get organized. Opened my eyes, felt like my ordinary, rickety self. bloom. I found a summer dress and tight jeans, walking shoes, and decided -today’s the day I get summer clothes, and a blasted cell phone. Ate breakfast, la-dee-dah, walked out the door, and then I ran into Gustavo.
He greeted me in Spanish. What? Oh yeah! I forgot about that. He was asking me where I was going, and I said, “shopping?” He made me say the sentence in Spanish, and off I went, to the bank, then the bus stop.
The Collectivos Are a Crazy Breed
They’re like tiny bombshells of buses that play Spanish music, a man hanging out the window yelling its destination. They drive like hover crafts, speeding along the high ways and loosely curving in and out of lanes. Every collectivo has its own competition collectivo, is seems like, as I’ve noticed at least three different types of buses around.
Coked Up For Pesos
Talk about being coked up. Got dropped off at Soriana, a big shopping market. I needed to break a paper peso for coins to use the Conejo Bus, that drives through Tuxtla-Gutierrez’s main central street, so I bought a Coca Cola because there was no cold coffee in sight and I was already wasting time doing this small task. Went back to the bus stop. Waited for approximately two minutes.
The Conejo Bus of the Gods
This bus is a lot larger and formal looking than the collectivos. It’s orange, sleek and has commercial print on them. There’s usually a line of people that wait for this bus, because it takes a long time and a whole lot of warm, muggy sunshine if you’re planning to get from one side of main street to the other. To help the trek along, it only takes $4 pesos -and only coins- that you drop into a machine when you board the bus.
Clothes Shopping in a Poor Country
I walked through the central street in search of these items: a black bra [don’t ask], some summer dresses for teaching, shorts, capris and a cell phone. Most clothing stores sell shirts for about 10-15 bucks. There’s no Goodwill’s and barely any discounted stores, because this is a major hustling market for the poor state of Chiapas. You can find cheap yet fashionable stores if you spy the ones that have a lot of clothes, a lot of deals, and caters to the most crowds of clothing shoppers. I happened to find one as I walked with my Coca Cola getting a pretty good caffeine buzz.
Buying a Telcel Mystery Phone
I bought a cell phone after I got some clothes. I don’t know for what right now, but at least it has digital time and it makes me feel a little more collected having this modern device on me. A travel blog recommended that it’s a good resource to have when traveling in a foreign country. I stumbled into Telcel phone service. Pointed to the cheapest phone. It was $249 pesos with two $100 peso payments for the next two months. Pay by phone card. Or something like that.
Feeling Like an Inevitable American Jack-Ass
With a new image in tow: flowery-print dresses, summer, hip capris, some knock-off Adidas wear, and a cell phone that I’ll never use because I have no friends here, I felt a little like a jack-ass walking back through Chiapa de Corzo, passing the markets and shop girls hustling for pesos, with three filled plastic bags hanging in my arms. I never knew how good I had it in the U.S. until coming down here and realizing that I’ve actually lived an easy life compared to many here.