Category Archives: Small Business in Mexico

Easy Access International, LLC

Having gone through the Mexican immigration process myself, I can say that the whole ordeal is made easier with the help of someone who knows what they are doing. To that end, over the next few weeks, I am going to be highlighting some agents that work with those struggling to immigrate to Mexico legally. While these agents may not be located in the area in which you currently live, you can get a feel for what different agents offer and what you still will need to do yourself. 

alexis2

My name is Alexis Martha Cepeda [Duarte]I am a litigating attorney at law with a Master in Criminal Law and Forensic Science. Also, I am a certified/registered interpreter/translator for the state of Yucatan. Any translating services would be done in-house by me.

I am partnered up with Attorneys Jose Carlos Medina and Karla Mendoza.
We work with different “Notarios”, not to be confused with Notary Public agents which in Mexico are called Authenticators of Signatures.

alexis

Our business is “Easy Access International, LLC” and our website is www.yucatanwantsyou.org 

We provide assistance with:

  • Immigration: all processes necessary to obtain a temporary and/or permanent status in the country. Translation of all document needed and on sight interpretation.Foreign Affair process to become a Mexican Citizen.
  • Legal Counseling and litigation: Criminal, Family, Civil, Mercantile and Real Estate
    IMSS health insurance acquisition.
  • Funereal: Funeral, cremation, inhumation and exhumation, body repatriation services through “Funeraria Reyes Rodriguez”.

Although all immigration processes could be done without an agent, many people find that it is very confusing to navigate the Mexican system and very time-consuming.
Having an agent will alleviate any undue stress allowing those moving to Mexico to concentrate on other important matters that only they can take care of, for example, where to live, packing and shipping household goods, etc.

Aside from passports, I would suggest those moving to Mexico bring their identity paperwork, such as their birth certificates duly legalized or apostilled.

When driving an automobile into Mexico it is of extreme importance to go through the first immigration post on the route and getting the necessary customs permit for the vehicle.

In order to bring in your household goods, these must be duly itemized, and you must have the “temporary” visa on your passport that allows you to continue with the process in getting your temporary residence in the city you are going to settle. This temporary visa will expire 6 months after it has been placed in your passport while you are still in your country of origin. However, you only have 30 days to finish the process in the nearest INM office to your new home in Mexico. It is always best to finish the process before the 30 days expire.

If you are making Mexico your permanent home, funereal services must be considered, and cremation services could only be done by the next of kin. I would suggest bringing paperwork to show the next of kin is such, especially if they don’t have the same last name. In these cases, one must bring: children’s birth certificates, divorce papers, marriage certificates and/or any legal document to prove kinship.

You can contact me:

By email: acepeda@yucatanwantsyou.org
US phone: 818-805-5750
Mex. Phone: +52-999-285-3239
Mex. Cell: +521-999-159-1390

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Getting Beautified in Mexico

There are some challenges to a modern woman’s beauty regime here in rural Mexico. First, there’s where to go to find the services you may be in need of. Then there’s the communication issue between hair stylist and person in need of beautifying. Then there are the different concepts of beauty to contend with. So here’s some information that might make it easier.

Getting your hair cut isn’t as simple as it appears. The last haircut I got, I came out looking like I’d escaped from a mental hospital by climbing through the sewers. It was that bad. My husband and son just looked at me and shook their heads. My hair has grown out since then, but well, I decided I needed to learn a few more vocabulary words (and find a different stylist) before I tried again.

Hair Cut TermsSo you get your hair cut at a peluquería(coming from the word peluca which means wig) or Estética. Estética unisex establishments cut both men’s and women’s hair. However, a barbería (from the word barba which means beard) is a barber shop and caters to men only. As facial hair becomes more the mode, you can also get beard and mustache trims at most barberías these days. They don’t pull teeth though.

IMG_20180502_145701You need to be very specific in what you ask for. Most men in our area have el corte escolar which is the required haircut for school and is like a crew cut. So every stylist knows how to do this cut, making it the default cut for boys and men. Girls and I’d say 70% of the women here have the parece yegua (looks like a mare) haircut. That’s what my husband calls the pulled back from the forehead into a long, long ponytail or braid style. Older women tend to go with a short bob cut, again, not necessarily the most attractive style, but very popular among those that wear aprons to the store in these parts.

IMG_20180830_124030If you have extremely fine hair, your stylist may not be familiar with how to best cut your hair. You’ll know for sure after your hair has been cut, which is perhaps not the best time to find that information out.

IMG_20180507_092928.jpgThere are some strange hair beliefs as well. Girls who have long flowing hair but are anemic are sent for a much shorter haircut since all that hair is taking the nutrients from the body. Yep. And since everyone wants curly haired babies, those whose little girls are straight haired sometimes have their heads shaved so that it will grow back curly. Ok then.

There are more beauty options in addition to haircuts available at the salón de belleza. You should be able to find manicura and pedicura services at this sort of establishment or you could go to the specialty stores which do Aplicacion De Uñas (fingernail application). A salón de belleza will also style your hair and apply makeup for big events like quinceañeras and weddings. One salón de belleza in our town offers botox as well.

IMG_20180815_191503.jpgIf you are in need of hair removal, there are special places for that too. This one is called Depilación Frida, referring to Frida Kahlo who was indeed in need of a little upper lip and unibrow assistance. I’m not so sure that this location is ideal, however. It’s on a heavily trafficked road in front of a secondary school and there’s nothing but a curtain to keep you from flashing the passing pedestrians your nearly hairless lady parts.

If you’d like just your eyebrows done you can go to places that offer Delineación de Cejas. The optometrist where I bought my last pair of glasses offers this service I guess so that your eyebrows look nice with your glasses?

Depiliaction termsSo now you want to add a little pick me up scent either console or celebrate your new look? Head to the Perfumería. If you can’t quite afford what they have to offer, try perfumes similares where you can get casi, casi (almost) the same perfume at a fraction of the cost.

IMG_20180410_134835So a trip to the joyeria isn’t in the budget? Try the Bisturia for costume jewelry. Cosméticos (cosmetics) are pretty limited where I live. You might try places that supply the salones de belleza for a selection.

If you are in need of a little more pampering and the vibrating chairs at the shopping center aren’t enough, you can go to a sobador (literally a person who rubs or massager). Our area does offer a “spa” but I’m sure it’s not anything like you can get in the south of France.

IMG_20180221_155214How about some body art? Tattoos are done at places that offer tattoos. That one isn’t too hard to figure out. Sometimes the establishment also does body piercing. Although we live in a pretty conservative area, it’s not unheard of for regular men and women to have visible tattoos or a body piercing or two and all girl babies have their ears pierced before leaving the hospital. Of course the more adornment you have, the more suspicious looks you’ll get, and the more often you’ll be stopped by police for a frisk. Just saying. Maybe get those tats in a little less visible place and not across the bridge of your nose, eh?

Maybe this will helps take some of the angst out of your next beauty treatment.

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Filed under Cultural Challenges, Small Business in Mexico

Doing the laundry in Mexico

Looking at CFE accounts, they would have you believe that 98% of Mexico has electricity even though 15% of the time there are unstable power outputs or loss of service for hours or days at a time. According to the 2016 census in Mexico, there are more than 500,000 homes without electricity.  Nearly 16% of the total population with access to water do not have water installed in their homes. Only 26% of the population of the state of Guerrero have daily access to water. Nearly 7,000,000 Mexicans live in isolated communities without adequate access to water and electricity.  Having limited or no access to electricity or water means doing the laundry can be a challenge in many areas of Mexico.

I don’t mind doing laundry. Hands down, I prefer it to doing the dishes. However, with not having electricity at our house for so long, we’ve had to be proactive about doing laundry. I mean, we couldn’t just throw it in the machine and let it wash itself now, could we?

laundry area

Our pre-remodel second-floor laundry area, complete with hand pump connected to the ajibe (dry well).

Necessity meant we found alternatives. One alternative is hand washing. Almost every house in Mexico has a built-in washboard just for that purpose. The raised cement ridges are just the thing for scrubbing stubborn stains. When the washboard isn’t quite up to the job, a bristle brush can be used to attack those manchas (spots). Clothes receive one-on-one personal attention and come out cleaner than regular ol’ machine washing. The drawback is that it uses a LOT of water. First, you have to soak the clothes, then scrub with soap, then rinse the soap off. Although we have our gray water running into the garden, it still was a major expense.

doing the laundry

My husband and father-in-law doing the wash.

The next laundry option is to go to the arroyo (stream) and wash. Water is limitless and the washboards angled to get a good suds on. Washing was much quicker with all hands on deck. Again, though, there were some drawbacks. Wet laundry is HEAVY and in order for it to dry properly, we had to haul it back to our house and hoist it up to the second floor where the clotheslines were. Then of course, occasionally, there were the lookie-loos who laughed at our public chonie washing. But what can you do?

IMG_20180727_104856There are other options should you not wish to air your dirty laundry in public and don’t mind other people touching your unmentionables. The washerwoman still can eek out a living here in Mexico. Just look for signs that say “se lava ropa ajena” (foreign clothes washed here).

If you aren’t comfortable taking your wash to someone else’s home, you can have a cha-cha (muchacha) come in and do the washing for you. These girls often come from very small towns and take the bus every morning to their jobs, usually one or two days per week in each home. They take care of everything, the laundry, beating out carpets, general and deep cleaning, minding the children, cooking, even dog grooming, so that the lady of the house is free to devote her time to other things. Pay is dependant on the number of hours and a chore list and can be quite affordable.

IMG_20180416_123629There are also lavanderías, but not the laundromats that you may be used to with quarter slots and TVs and dryers. These laundromats are drop-off service. They have one or two machines in the back and will wash and dry your clothes for pick up. This is a good option for blankets and comforters which are nearly impossible to wrangle clean in the arroyo (stream). Some lavanderías offer ironing services and small clothing repairs, like sewing on buttons or patching garments.

Another option for those special care items is the tintorería (dry-cleaners). Our local dry-cleaner even offers a pick-up/drop-off service.

round-washer

Knowing the pros and cons of hand washing, it’s more and more common for the lady of the house to request a lavadora for Mother’s Day. There are several options available. The most popular is the chaca-chaca machine. It’s a round drum that agitates the clothes clean and makes a chaca-chaca sound. On either side of the spectrum is the mini-washer which holds a maximum of 2 pairs of pants but would work well for undergarments and baby clothes and the modern washer with all the bells and whistles.

I opted for the later and have been blissfully using it at the Little House in Sunflower Valley for over a year now. We made an attempt to move it to La Yacata after we got the 3000 power inverter but unfortunately it didn’t work. It seems our power inverter uses a modified sine wave rather than pure sine wave and the washer wasn’t happy with the power output. So for the moment, it remains washing merrily in Sunflower Valley.

hanging laundry

No electricity = no dryer

As for drying options, dryers are quite rare, so sun-drying is the most popular option. Lines are usually made of a special wire that doesn’t rust instead of clothesline, although I have seen plastic clotheslines for sale. Make sure your line is sturdy and anchored well. It’s not fun when your freshly laundered clothing falls into a mud puddle on the ground. In the event that you don’t have a line, fences and cactus will hold your clothes nicely. Remember to turn your clothes inside out so as to minimize sun bleaching. And make sure the clothespin is clipped securely. Flying underwear has been known to cause a death or two (Motorizado se accidenta por calzón volador en La Ceiba).

local laundrymat

A local laundry mat, although not the one we use.

Now that you armed with this laundry knowledge, I give you the domestic goddess blessing “Go Forth and Clean!”

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Filed under Electricity issues, Homesteading, Small Business in Mexico

Buying Clothing in Mexico

Truth be told, I find buying clothing in Mexico the most difficult shopping experience of all. I am never happy with neither the fit nor the quality of my purchases. I often can’t find anything suitable at all even after hours of searching. However, not having much of a choice, I’ve had to persevere.

Shoes can be bought at a zapatería. Having enormous feet (size 7 1/2 US) or at least compared to local residents, means that I am not able to find my size in the style that I want. Fortunately, our area has a Coppel now and it carries a larger variety of shoes in my size. There’s a little tradition when new shoes are purchased. It’s customary when you show off your new shoes, the person admiring them will step on your foot, leaving a shoe print mark, sort of like that first dent in your new car. It’s just an expected action. Get used to it.

 

You can get your shoes repaired, and find shoelaces, at the reparadora de calzado. Tio Felipe, when he wasn’t selling moonshine and Pepsi, worked as a cobbler until his eyesight became too bad.

Undergarments, bras, panties, slips, girdles, and such, can be found at the bonetería. This word very possibly comes from the whalebone corsets imported with the Spanish into Mexico. I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t think undergarments were of high enough importance to rate their own specialty store, or even used for that matter, before the conquest. Be warned, bigger sizes of bras are hard to find, which I don’t understand since there are all sorts of boob sizes in Mexico, but be that as it may, the standard size and cup is 34B.

If you need a hat, head to the sombrerería. Western style hats, Easter hats, gardening hats and chachuchas (caps) can all be found here.

Our pueblo (town) is particularly known for its rebozos (traditional Mexican shawls) and there are specialty stores called rebocerías where you can find a multitude of thicknesses and patterns. Some rebozos are hand-made, others are manufactured, but all of them are lovely.

For scarves, accessories and handbags, head to the accesorios shop. Again, each shop is stocked with what the owner most likes, so you might have to go to more than one to find something that you like.

Jewelry can be bought, sold or repaired at the joyería, watches at the relojería. If you want to sell your jewelry items look for signs that say “se compra oro y plata.” (Gold and silver bought here.) They buy by the piece or some will just buy the gems (pedacería). If you just need repairs, take the item to the taller de joyería or relojería, but only a place that has a good reputation otherwise your grandmother’s diamond might be replaced with cubic zirconia and you’re none the wiser.

There are special stores to find a first communion, 3-year presentation outfits, Quinceañeras or school uniforms. Wedding dresses and funeral clothing (yes there are special outfits for the dearly departed) also have their specialty stores. Suits for Quinceañeras or weddings or other formal occasions can be bought or rented.

Our town and the neighboring town co-host 8 km of clothing shops. Talk about shopping overload! Each shop carries whatever it wants and has the sizes that the shopkeeper feels will sell the fastest, which usually isn’t the sizes I’m looking for. Women’s sizes are not the same as in the US, although men’s clothes seem to match. Anything over size Woman’s 12 is considered are talla extra (extra big size).

The weekly tianguis always has at least one vendor with huge piles of second-hand clothes you can dig through. This is a great place to find good quality children’s clothes at a reasonable price, however it is time consuming. Best to take a few of your lady friends and divide and conquer the mound.

You might also be able to find used clothing at bazaars. It’s quite a lucrative business to import second hand clothing and resell it here, mostly because the quality of the second-hand goods is far superior to the locally manufactured clothing items

There are also places that specialize in saldos, which are like outlet stores. Although you think you might be getting a good deal, these clothing items often are flawed in some way. Perhaps they are sized correctly or maybe the inseam was cut just a little bit too small. Let the buyer beware in this case.

Lest you think all hope is lost, if you head to larger areas, you may just find a store that sells clothing like Liverpool, Sears, and maybe even a Walmart, if that’s what you like. Of course, the prices are astronomical, imported goods and all, but it may be worth it to find long-lasting, comfortable and stylish clothing.

How has your shopping experience been in Mexico?

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