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Mexico: Who Farted?

Do you have embarrassing gas problems? Do you find this problem creeping up on you when you least expect it? I bet not.

If you have lived in the United States all your life, I bet you've never seen a gas main or line and have just taken it on faith that it is there pumping gas into your house. The same with water. How many of us would shudder at the thought of not being able to get a refreshing drink from the tap whenever we wanted it?

In Mexico, it is a part of everyday life that you have no gas lines leading into the house nor can you drink water from the tap. That's just life here.

What we depend on are these screaming men who walk through the streets from early in the morning and until late at night calling out,

"Gas!" or "Agua!" (water)

These gas and water servicemen are those on whom every resident in the country of Mexico depends to bring these two vital components of our existence. I don't know what we would do without them.

How it works is that your gas for heating and cooking comes in two four-foot-high tanks. These bellowing supermen will carry these tanks on their backs to where your outside connection is and replace the empties with newly filled ones. They test to see whether there are any leaks and off they go to their next customer.

Having never had to deal with such a setup, I had to have "gas lessons" from my landlady who took no end of pleasure in instructing the poor, ignorant gringo in how to turn on the gas tanks. What happens is that one day you will have hot water and the next day you will not. Whoops! Time to change the tanks.

Since there are two tanks, you have to switch from the empty one to the full one by turning off the valve on the empty one, pushing a lever to open the line, and turning on the valve on the full tank. Once both are empty, you have to wait for the street patrolling gas guy to happen by and get his attention. Or, you can call the gas company and they will make an appearance--eventually. Sometimes these men (and they are always men) will be wonderfully musical in their plaintiff cry, "Gas!" One guy, I swear, sounds like he is calling out, "Gas! Get your nice and friendly gas!" But, of course, he isn't.

Judging when you need more gas is easy. Doing the water is not. How many of us know how many times a day we would hit the tap in America for a cool drink? Who counts? That made the potable water issue a little harder to judge.

At first, we were using three five-gallon jugs a week, but that wasn't enough. Therefore, we went to four, which suited us fine. It is hard to decide how many jugs are enough at first. To complicate matters, the water guys in our first neighborhood would not come by daily and sometimes we ran out of water!

To get a refill of gas is cheap. Two tanks will cost $480.00 pesos and will last about three months. Water, in the five gallons jugs, will run $18.00 pesos each. We were spending $160.00 pesos a month for purified water.

You can hear the cries of these servicemen all over the city. They are out, rain or shine, to make sure that you don't run out of water and that the embarrassing gas problem won't catch you unaware.

Expatriates Doug and Cindi Bower have successfully expatriated to Mexico, learning through trial and error how to do it from the conception of the initial idea to driving up to their new home in another country. Now the potential expatriate can benefit from their more than three years of pre-expat research to their more than two years of actually living in Mexico. The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico answers the potential expatriate's questions by leading them through the process from the beginning to the end. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn not only how-to expatriate but will learn what to expect, in daily life, before coming to Mexico. BUY BOOK HERE:

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