Friday, August 31, 2012

Trying To Land That Plane

All cultures have their quirks and it's good to learn some of them so you get what you want or you don't offend someone.  That's why I say it is sometimes hard to "land the plane".   In Mexican culture, people aren't very direct like Americans.  Americans say what they want and when they want it.  In other words, we pretty much just bring the plane in for a landing.

Today I saw the gardner taking a break under the palapa.  It still gets hot and humid during the day and we have had some rains.  I wanted to talk with him about the timer on the pool.  He doesn't understand how it works and always turns off the power after cleaning the pool so that the filter doesn't come on.  He says the pool starts to turn on us because the sand in the filter needs changing.   The problem is that the filter doesn't come on and I am not around to check everyday.  I could argue with him for days and he wouldn't ever give in.  Kind of like painting the tree trunks white to keep the bugs away, in reality, for some it looks nice but does nothing to keep pest out.

Well, as I said, I couldn't rush out there and say, "hey, Gerardo, don't mess with the timer on the filter", "oh, and one more thing, make sure the handle pin on the filter is well secured" and then walk back into the house.  So I sat down and we chatted for over forty-five minutes.   We talked about the neighbors, the weather, the road and how we are going to do the maintenance before winter comes, la viejita up the road, and I was able to squeeze in the two items during that time.  

In the beginning, it was hard for me to get what I wanted.  I would bark out orders like we do in the U.S. (obviously a bit of an exageration), always in a hurry to get things done without having to kiss somebody's butt.  It didn't work very well until I learned how to manage conversations and ask for things to be done.   

Never refuse anyone's offer.  If they offer you a beer and you're a vodka drinker, drink the beer.  If they invite you for dinner and you say you won't be able to make it, you'd better be prepared for some hurt feelings or at least some dirty looks.   There are ways to handle those situations though where you just have to say "no" but for me they are now few and far between.   Since then, I have learned to take time to stop and sit down for a minute, share a drink or a lunch that is being offered.   When I can't, I always remember to give back something to make up for it so people know it is not against them but just the moment.

Speak of the devil, I hear the weed wacker out back, Gerardo is back.  Today is Friday and it is his way of saying he wants to be paid.  See how that works!


  1. I will always regret that we didn't take Cedro up on his invite for dinner in San Raphael... (his mom was fixing huevos ... and I don't mean chicken eggs) but that wasn't the reason we didn't stay.... I think we learned a lesson though... Bill and Jose would sit and talk for an hour in Costa Rica... neither of them having a clue what the other was saying.... Funny how we change gears to adjust to wherever we are....

  2. That's why we never turn down a party in Mexico. Love their hospitality!

    Hope your pool timer doesn't get turned off after that conversation.

    Kevin and Ruth