Changing times

Well, lookee here! We’ve joined the Big Time.

IN SEPTEMBER 2000, when I drove to the mountaintop in a rental car, there was a shortage of stuff like stoplights, chain stores, Gringos and the like. That has changed.

Now we have stoplights, and most people heed them. We also have chain stores like Walmart’s Bodega Aurrera, Soriana, Oxxo and Coppel, one of which is a sizable department store. We also have lots more Gringos.

When I arrived after living eight months in the nearby state capital, there were about 40 Gringos hereabouts, many of whom were oddballs and lunatics. Now there are 10 times that number. Some are oddballs, but most are normal folks, it seems.

Though I intuit that many vote in the wrong direction, a sort of lunacy.

Way back then, we had a funky movie theater. It had two screens. One showed porno, and the other showed regular fare long after it had debuted at theaters in the nearby capital city. Our theater was old and fun to visit, but it closed about 18 years ago.

The town made a big step forward last week when a movie theater opened that’s part of the Mexican Cinépolis chain, which I hear now has theaters in the United States.

First-run flicks at last. It’s like we’re not in the boonies anymore. The five-screen theater is in a large, new retail area, and other buildings are under construction. The grapevine says that one is a Domino’s Pizza. Just what we need, more pizza.

Mexicans love pizza almost as much as they love tacos, cheese and salsa, especially pizza with weenie and pineapple chunks. This is not Paris.

I’m praying for a Costco, Sears, or perhaps they’ll resurrect Bonwit Teller.

18 thoughts on “Changing times

  1. I have been away for a while in other parts of the U.S. enjoying sunshine and warmth and just now am catching up with my online reading. I can remember NOT missing any of the big-box stores when visiting Patzcuaro in years past, and I loved your funky little mom-and-pop stores and, of course, all the little markets here and there where one could probably get most needful things. When the tiny little mini-mart store opened on your Plaza Grande, I was next to heartbroken that they had gutted space in those beautiful historic buildings for this kind of quick-fix shopping. It looked to be a hangout spot for any person under the age of 12. Sorry, but I can’t feel too enthusiastic about the five-screen theater and others coming soon either. Modernization can take away from the ambiance of Old World charm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leisa: The mini-mart on the plaza is an Oxxo, and it’s still there. I very much doubt anything was gutted on the inside, and I am sure nothing of historical significance was gutted. The municipality is pretty ham-fisted about such things. What they do is toss up sheetrock walls that can just as easily be torn down. And from the outside, the only thing you see is a small Oxxo sign, nothing obtrusive. It’s a very convenient store, plus Oxxos are where Mexicans pay all manner of bills and do money transfers. Oxxo is real sharp that way. The appearance of El Centro is carefully preserved due to tourism being such a big thing here.

      The mom-and-pop stores are still in place, as are the street markets. The Cinépolis is on the outskirts of town on the ring road, which is mostly a real butt-ugly thoroughfare. The theater complex improves the look out there quite a bit. Same goes for the Soriana, the Bodega Aurrera and the department store-sized Coppel, all on the ring road. Another Coppel is right off the big plaza and it, like Oxxo, is small and blends into the quaint look of the place.

      We can have the best of both worlds. It’s great. Come on down! Better than ever.


  2. Yeah, I’ve been waiting for Frost’s, Joe Brand, and Sakowitz to set up shop in Patzcuaro, all of which will likely happen when they get around to building a three-story urban mall over the Plaza Grande with underground parking.


  3. So where I live, most of the malls are dead. Empty, hollow shells of yesterday. They say the economy is booming, but I am not sure for whom. The restaurants around the malls are doing well, but that is because they take the EBT card. I was shocked when I saw people pay that way, but it works.
    The Costco is closing. Who knows what store is next.


    1. Señor Gill: I have read from down here about the death of malls in your country. Much of that is due to online sales. Malls are alive and well down here. I had to look up EBT card. Had no clue what that was. So, folks are dining out on welfare payments. No shock there, I suppose.


  4. Also, five Sears stores in Arizona have closed. Sears went bankrupt in October. 2018. Life is not good for the retail industry.


    1. Señor Gill: I bet life is still good for the retail industry. It’s simply moved from buildings you can see to the internet. It’s a different world.


    1. Señor Gill: I’ve heard about porch pirates. We don’t have them here because nobody leaves things out on the street unless they want them stolen.


      1. This is the best video extant on porch pirates. Fortunately, there don’t appear to be any in my neighborhood (one of the safest on earth, it would appear), but others aren’t so lucky.


        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where we think the traditional retail industry is in its death throes.


      2. Post Office, FedEx, and UPS are dropping off porch pirate bait here every day. I’m guessing they don’t do that there.


        1. Creigh: No, the express services never, that I have heard of or experienced, just leave things outside your door. Usually, outside you door here, means directly on the sidewalk. It would be nuts to do that.


  5. I’m surprised you didn’t have a Cinepolis until now. We’ve had Cinemex for five years or such, and it’s a fine place, with seven or eight theaters, and all sorts of fattening stuff for sale in the lobby. But there’s also a lag in new movies getting down here, some never make it. Mexican audiences seem to prefer shoot-em-up flicks. The trick is to get movies with English subtitles. Dubbed movies are awful: Tom Hanks talking Spanish. But there’s an enterprising guy in town called Juan the Ripper who gets all first-run movies and sells them to 20 pesos. What you need now is a first-class, Whole Foods-like grocery store, the kind Jennifer likes.



    1. Señor Lanier: I suspect part of the reason it took so long for us to get Cinépolis is that there are a number of them in the capital city about 35 minutes down the highway. As for subtitles, there seems to be a trend, at least at Cinépolis, to dub movies instead of adding subtitles and leaving them in English, which used to be the norm. I wish they would not do that. As for Whole Foods, I would prefer a Central Market like they have in Querétaro. Now that is a supermarket!


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