Monday, May 27, 2013

X-Fest 2013

I had a fantastic idea. Like many of my fantastic ideas, it was a horrible idea. I was going to go to X-Fest and take all these badass pictures and do a long blog telling you all about it. Fantastic idea.

They have been building "La X" for years. They started working on it right around the time that we moved to Juarez in 2010. Nobody knew what the hell it was. At least, no one I knew. I heard all sorts of different stories as to what it would be. A new rock climbing wall for Parque Extremo. Part of a country-wide group of sculptures which spelled out M E X I C O. Just a statue. Nope. Turns out, it's going to be a Ciudad Juarez history museum and eventually a restaurant. Surrounding La X is a plaza where they will be holding concerts and other events.

My favorite picture of La X during construction. This was on March 10, 2012.
Apparently, there has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the whole thing because the price tag on the damn thing was $6.2 million US. There are a lot of things that can be done for Juarez with that kind of money. I have mixed opinions because I also feel like Juarez needs something like this in the community to help it rise from the ashes of the drug war. It's something for the city to enjoy and something Juarenses can be proud of. Not everyone agrees. More about that here.

Now where was I... Oh yes. My fantastic idea. So as I'm driving home on Friday at around 6:10 pm, I pass by La X and notice that people are already filling the bleachers for X-Fest. Hmmmm. The event was supposed to start at 8:00. There was a lot of buzz around town so I knew it was going to be packed but now I was a little worried we wouldn't be able to get in. I was right to be worried...

There were posters plastered all over town!
Parking was the big concern and ended up being what prevented us from going to X-Fest. And our friends. And probably thousands of other people. La X is really cool and I am sure there will be some fantastic events there for years to come, but it's pretty obvious that they did not take parking into consideration. Or if they did have some sort of plan, they forgot to tell everyone about it. Oh but this is Mexico, and if I've learned anything over the years here, it's that Mexicans figure out how to make shit work. You give them a 5 passenger car and they'll make it a 12 passenger car. And in this instance, give them 50 parking spaces and they will park 7,428 cars.

People were parking on the skate park across the street, in shopping center parking lots several miles away, in front of the doorways of the Delphi factory, on the sidewalks, on the medians, even right in the middle of the damn road. People were actually driving all the way to the Santa Fe bridge, several miles away, driving up over the sidewalk and onto the bike trail that runs along the border itself, then turning around and driving back as close as they could to La X. I bet US Border Patrol was having fun with that. I love Mexicans. They get it done. I just gave up and went home. Obviously I can stand to learn a thing or two about determination but I was not about to leave my car in some dark alley and then walk 10 miles to La X.

And so, without further adieu, here are the fantastic pictures I took of the event that I didn't actually go to.

Slowly making our way to La X. 

Hmmm... is something wrong with my camera? Better clean the lense.

What the hell? The camera is broken. No baby, it's the dust,  my husband tells me.
No way, let's try a picture in the car. 

Oh. Damn it WAS the dust in the air! Bienvenidos a Juarez.

Gordo doesn't like this game.

Yup. Still dusty.

Gave up on finding a parking spot and watched X-Fest on Canal 44 from the comfort of my living room.

If you care to see what it really looked like out there on Friday, here's a picture taken by someone with a brain.

Picture courtesy of

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Shit I Don't Get About Mexico

1. People who creep down the left lane on the highway. Albeit, we don't really have a a highway here, although there are several four lane roads that I consider the highway and it is a common place for people to be strolling along in the left lane like they're in a fucking school zone, even though the speed limit is 80 kph.

2. Leaving indoor dogs outside. A chihuahua is not a watch dog. He's not going to deter anyone from breaking into your home. Why is he freezing half to death in the back yard in December? I don't get it.

3. Never being on time. Why is it perfectly acceptable to show up for a 3:00 birthday party at 9:00?

4. People covering their mouths from the cold. I'd understand if it was like below zero or something but it'll be in the freaking 70's on a Spring morning and you've got all these people running around town holding a fucking scarf over their mouth. "Es para no enfermarse," Gordo always tells me when I roll my eyes at him for doing the same thing.

5. Women wearing tiny clothes that don't fit. I initially thought that this was a result of a complete lack of plus size clothing stores in this country but as we found our way around Juarez more I learned that this was not the case. There are certainly bigger options out there, they just don't get taken advantage of for some reason.

6. Men and women being separate at parties. It is a given that all the women will be inside the house, most likely in the kitchen, while all of the men are outside. And don't even think about trying to take a stand and mix things up or you will be looked at like the psycho hippie feminist slut that you are.

7. The feminine hygiene aisle. There are more options for toallas higenicas than for cereal. Sup with that?

8. There are no self service gas stations. Are the people of Mexico incapable of pumping their own gas? No. Maybe the Pemex pumps are super sophisticated and much too complicated for the average Joe errr... I mean average Juan?

9. You cannot pay your bills online or mail in a check either. That's right, here we go to the gas station, or the grocery store to pay our bills. The electric bill, the water bill, you name it, gets paid at the store. You hand your bill over to the cashier who takes the money and then stamps your bill and/or gives you a receipt for your payment. You can even add minutes to your ridiculously over-priced Telcel cell phone right there while you pay the cable bill from the comfort of your local grocery store.

10. Where are all the lemons?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Supermarket Sweep

This blog is probably going to be really boring for people who don't live in Juarez but I've been wanting to write it for the longest time. Before we moved to Mexico I looked into every aspect of life on the border. Trying to figure out the cost of living here was my biggest concern and there wasn't a whole lot to go by. I remember Googling, "food costs in Ciudad Juarez," and all that came up was blog after blog about the prices at grocery stores in Baja. There was one blog in particular that compared the prices of food at several popular chains in Ensenada and ever since we've been here I've wanted to do the same thing.

I can't even count how many conversations I've had with people about this here in Juarez and everyone seems to have a different opinion. Walmart is for rich people, Soriana's better because you can use your points card, S Mart has the best selection, no Soriana has the best selection, etc, etc. We could go back and forth all day so I decided to put an end to the debate with a little experiment. I made a list of some staples that are always on my grocery list and went to work!

I started at Walmart, a store I had only been to twice in Mexico because God knows I spend enough time at the El Paso Walmart. Soriana was next. It used to be my go-to store because I always assumed it was the cheapest. I finished off at S Mart, where I've been shopping exclusively since I started my healthy lifestyle because the quality of their produce is by far superior to the other stores. Right when you walk through the doors of these stores you see things like this...

Pretty convincing right? Normal people wouldn't argue with that kind of evidence but clearly I'm not normal. I spent the last week trying to figure out how to publish a spreadsheet directly to this blog but haven't had any luck so you'll have to click the link below to see the results. I used the same brand for comparison whenever possible and noted that accordingly.

There wasn't a huge difference in the final totals but if anything was clear it was the fact that American convenience food prices are ridiculously high at times. Here are my 2 favorite reminders that it's better to eat like a Mexican: