Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"That's $470 dollars to you."

We are idiots. That's the conclusion we came to this morning after Robert revisited the misunderstanding over the catered Easter food from the Camino. After examining the order more closely he said to me, "They weren't trying to charge us $4700 dollars; they wanted 4700 pesos." He had argued with the cashier and then the chef about the Visa bill being $4700 dollars, a price inconceivable to him for the three items he was picking up. Surely, they were wrong. After all, it was just a salad, some roasted potatoes, and some fruit. Chef Jose tried to explain that it was 4700 pesos , but that would be $470 US dollars, Robert argued. "No way, Jose."

The price must be 470 pesos(about $47 US dollars) Robert insisted (which was a heck of a deal.) After thinking he'd convinced the chef of his error, Robert signed the Visa charge for $4700 pesos ( he didn't have glasses on) and went on to compliment Jose for the reasonable price and promised to have him cater a future big party with us. "Good man," and a big back-slap and a grin.

And what about his proclamation to me that Mexicans are so proud and hate to be wrong? We moaned in disgust at ourselves. But "Uggghhhhhh suddenly turned to "Heyyyyyyyy.... isn't $470 dollars a bit much for salad, fruit and potatoes?" Hmmmmm.

The dollar-to-peso exercise has stung us a few times. Our first week here we took our car to be washed. After paying the 60 pesos (6 bucks), Robert fished through his pockets for an appropriate tip. Being unfamiliar with the Mexican coins in his hands, he plucked out an American quarter and handed it over. As we were leaving the boy who washed our car took a look at his "tip" and became incensed. He muttered something and threw the coin in our direction. We got the message that he was displeased at the cheap gringos. Mortifying to us, because that is the last thing we are guilty of. We just didn't have the money thing down yet. Obviously, we still don't, or rather, I don't.

Now I must go see Chef Jose and work through this mess. Robert washes his hands of it, he's had enough of the dollar-to-peso game.

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