Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Success for 254 Pesos

Since Ralph and I arrived in Oaxaca, mid-October, we have seen Christmas decorations in all the markets, grocery stores and little road side shops. The real and artificial trees appeared a few weeks after, again, everywhere. My friend Trina had suggested that we bring some of our own decorations with us. When I told Ralph we would do this, he scoffed, saying that was just silly. Well, it seems he wanted a tree, you see, and decorations, too. So, after teasing him a bit, we had agreed that when my sister arrived, we would go and buy a tree and decorations together. It would be fun!
After 5 grocery stores the fun had worn thin, a bit. At one grocery store, Angie (sister) grabs a small tree out of a pile of junk laying around in the corner. No base. No base in the rest of the junk lying around. We pass and move on. At grocery store number 5, we find a tree, in two pieces, tossed on a botton shelf. We pick it up, put it together. It comes with lights, but there is no extension to plug in the lights, and there is no base. We stop a clerk and ask if there are others. She says it is La Unica - the only one. The only tree in the entire city of Oaxaca, it would seem. We ask about a base, and she says she is going to find someone. A young man arrives. No base, he says. Angie and I had already discussed the possibilities of a make-shift base (bucket and rocks), so we were prepared for this possibility. I ask how much. 700 pesos, he replies.
700 pesos, with no stand, and no extension for the lights! My eyes are wide, my voice incredulous.
Oh, he have the extension for the lights, he explains, and it was 1400 pesos before the discount.
There is no way I want to pay almost the equivalent of $70 Canadian for a base-less tree. We leave the store, the possibility of a tree-less Christmas looming large.
Driving home, it's now late, we're all tired and hungry and a bit crestfallen. We have one more store to check, Angie thought she saw trees there on the way down. Before we get there, I spot a paperleria (stationary store) with tons of trees.
"Ralph! Trees!"

Ralph slides across 3 lanes of traffic within 10 meters into a parking spot. We jump out and race to the store. Trees, a whole selection of them! And lights! And bulbs! And you buy the garland buy the meter!
We try to be conservative in our excitement, and get three boxes of bulbs, one string of lights, a mini tree (3 feet tall) and 2 meters of pink garland. The lady punches numbers into her calculator and shows Ralph.
254.50 pesos. He looked a few times to make sure we had read it correctly. We pay gladly.

Thanks to the little papeleria for saving the Gault/Lapierre Christmas, and for yet another Mexico adventure.


stephenryan99 said...

It sounds like the usual last minute hunt for a Christmas tree, it looks like you're having a riot and it's a pretty tree too, (imported?), your mum and I are looking forward to seeing you Christmas day, we'll try and show you ours then. Love Steve OxxO

winniedozois said...

The Christmas hunt sounded like quit the adventure. Glad you were able to find all the things you wanted at a reasonable price. Your tree is quite cute, i love the star. Remember when you were small and you made the star for our Christmas tree, the both of you. Love you and miss you lots. Glad your sink problem in fixed. Must of been quit the sene of you and Tan. naked running around trying to find out where to shut the water off. Mom. Later. xxxxxxxxxxxooooooo