Sometimes when you go to visit friends in third world countries, you are asked to bring something desperately needed and locally unavailable. Peanut butter. Clinique cosmetics. VooDoo Donuts.
But Mexico is better described as a developing country, rather than third world. It is sophisticated, wealthy in places, not in financial trouble, and loaded with retail and culture (which to me are pretty much the same thing). Imagine my surprise when I tried to send a box of my own summer clothes down here, only to discover that they had been turned away at the border. (I paid heavily to have them sent back to daughter Sybil.)
It’s my fault, of course, for not reading the list of prohibited items provided by our local Mailboxes Etc., a place run by charming Americans and kind of an expat club. I didn’t read the list because I thought I knew better, with all the hubris of a frequent flyer. I figured it would only forbid things like firearms, ammunition, plants, fruits, lighter fluid, and ant farms.
Was I wrong! My hot weather duds, some of them actually previously bought in Mexico, come under the heading “used clothes.” Hey, those are my clothes! It’s not like I was getting ready to open a rag market!
So, duly chastened and embarrassed, I read the rest of the list. I was right about the firearms, but I am also forbidden to send myself makeup, medicines, balloons, liquids, stuffed animals, noisy toys, exotic skins, feathers, coins, health and beauty aids, and vitamins. Seriously.
Had I bit the bullet and paid $40 to check an extra bag on the flight down here, I would not have paid about $100 to have my summer clothes shipped to the border and then back to Portland again, with the result being that I still do not have them. (Apparently, carrying your stuff into Mexico is not the same as “importing” it. ) So let that be a lesson to me. The only way I could throw more money at this issue would be to fly back and get the clothes myself.
The point is, when you come to visit us, do not bring peanut butter. Talk to Sybil and bring some of my clothes.
While waiting, I am forced to either wash out one of my two sundresses every night or go shopping for new Mexican clothes. Mmmm. What should I do? It’s a tough one, right?