Learning to Uber

ron lunchAs nice as this apartment is, getting away from here is a hassle. There really are no museums or tourism attractions within walking distance. Our host suggested we use Uber, which would be fine, but we do not have a local number. I had downloaded the app in Budapest when a guest asked me to, so he could get the referral credit. I had never used it.

Looking for the app on my phone, it apparently works worldwide once installed. With the Wi-Fi, I was able to connect. Before trying it out, I had to search “How to use Uber” to make sure we had it down.

Ken, our host suggested we get a SIM card at the Telcel Company, just miles from here. He did not give an address, so I Googled it using our location as a base, and then looked for Telcel offices nearby. Using this address, I signaled for an Uber driver.

Our first driver’s name was Victor Hugo, no joke. This Victor was neither a Frenchman nor a poet, but he was a safe driver dressed in a starched blue shirt with a tie. He looked professional gives us immediate security in this service.

He took us directly to our destination, but there was no Telcel office at the building number showing on Google. We told Victor we would get out and walk around; perhaps the office is on a second floor of a building and hidden away.

Filling the neighborhood street were dozens of little restaurants, shops, and vegetable vendors creating a pleasant first impression of a Mexico City community. We walked a few blocks, but could not find Telcel.

A very attractive little restaurant drew us in for lunch. Seated in and reading the menu of In the Mix Café, we did not realize that the majority of their offerings are organic. Organic food is not Ball Mugnecessarily important us, but nice to know and the host was proud of this fact. They have just opened 10 days prior to our visit.

Menu items have humorous names. Menus are in Spanish only and we could translate most of it. The lesser ingredients that were no common did not seem like they would be a deal breaker.

My choice was the El Mafioso sandwich using some knowledge and some trust. The sandwich was a small hoagie roll filled with chicken breast, sun-dried tomato and oil pesto, purple onion in a vinaigrette, spinach, and mozzarella. Ron’s sandwich was avocado, pickled onions, roasted capers, olives, watercress and arugula.

I loved the Ball jars they use for glasses. It might be run of the mill for others, but it was a new and novel idea for us. Fresh juices named Basic Bitch, Dr.’s Orders, You Beta Love Me, and Love Some Sunshine show the youth of the owners. We left with a menu to share with our host.

Blocks of walking later, we finally found the Telcel office. Getting a SIM card without English was challenging, but rather quick. During this time, I tried getting my SIM card out of the phone, but could not get a grip on it. What I did remove was the SD chip, which is also a microchip. Within 15 minutes, I had a local SIM card installed in my phone giving me a local number. Connecting the dots ended here, since I did not realize that the SIM card was not going to give me data access when not in a Wi-Fi zone.

Duh! This meant we could only call an Uber taxi when we were near Wi-Fi. We walked back to the lunch restaurant to use their service and called a taxi to take us to the grocery store.

Again, our hosts had given us names of local grocery stores in casual conversation. We asked that they write the names and addresses down for Uber drivers, but this never happened. So not to disturb them for the information, I searched Google for supermarkets. There I found a half-dozen within proximity of the apartment. Reading the reviews, we settled on one.

Prices on each item are very reasonable, but when the total came to over 1,200 Pesos, it still made my heart skip a beat.

Fortunately, the supermarket has Wi-Fi, so we were able to get Uber. We had ten bags of groceries that should get us through the week with stables at least. What is even greater is that the apartment, though on the third floor of a condominium, has a private elevator. The third floor was an addition as a mother-in-law apartment. They added the elevator then. The door on the third floor opens right into the living room.

After we were settled in again with the groceries put away, I happened to look at my phone. There were a number of apps that were no longer colorful, but grayed out. When I tapped on each, it showed that app was not installed. Confounded, I could not figure out the reason. Hours later it occurred to me, I had removed the SD card when trying to take out the SIM card and never replaced it. Another Duh moment.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI.

We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.

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  1. For some reason, this is having a difficult time showing up in Facebook. Trying again.

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