Saturday, August 28, 2010

Intro to Living in Tequisquiapan

This took me some time to prepare, hence my not posting for the past week. It may not be of interest to anyone other than someone wanting to settle in Tequis. I have tried to cover the essentials and hope that it may be of help to any newcomer. The information may very well apply to other towns or cities in Mexico. At least, it will provide the potential settler basic info as to what questions to ask.

    This is a short list of getting around in Tequisquiapan for the necessities of life. It is not exhaustive as there is more to life, fitting into a new society, learning about a different culture, etc. than the few tips and reminders included here. They are offered with the hope that they will help a newly arrived foreigner navigate around Tequis without a constant tutor.

GETTING INSTALLED

TELEPHONE AND INTERNET
Available from TelMex in San Juan del Rio ONLY

GETTING THE LINE
Assuming that there is an existing installation, it is available without much fuss. Bring the lease and either a water bill or one for the light. These bills remain in the name of the landlord/landlady for the duration of the lease and will not be questioned. Bring proof of identity, usually a passport.
Sometimes, the availability of a line for the district from the central will have to be checked first. Also, the existing installation from the street to the house will have to be verified by an installer if the place has been empty or there is no proof of a previous tenant. If it all checks out, a return trip to San Juan del Rio will be necessary to get the ok and the telephone itself.

GETTING THE INTERNET
TelMex often has promotions if you choose a package including both and an installation fee may be waived. Apply for both at the same time. The modem will not be issued until TelMex has made sure of the physical installation of the phone. Prepare for at least 2 trips to San Juan. Before leaving with the modem, make sure that your username and password have been set up for both the email address and the account, respectively at MI CORREO and MI TELMEX. Also, get the toll-free number to access by phone any help you may need for the internet.

BILLING
Do not assume that the bill will automatically reach you by mail. If you get both the internet and the phone, it is easier to check up the balance to pay on the internet but you will have to set it up first. If you opt to receive the bill by mail and it does not reach you in time, you will receive a call from TelMex advising you that payment will be due within a number of days.

PAYMENT
There is a cajero or cashier booth open 24 hours a day on Juarez next to the bridge. The TelMex office is located a couple of doors down but opens only on Thursdays and Fridays.
    NB. Unless you get to Tequis close enough to July, no telephone book will be automatically given and you may have to go to the TelMex office on Juarez to get one, if close to publication date.       

CELL PHONES

There are a few companies with Telcel the front runner, as it had a monopoly (or so I heard) for a while. There is the MovieStar company but I hear that the coverage is limited. At times, you may not get a signal for your next door neighbour. Nextel also operates but according to someone who has it, it costs more. The author has had experience with Telcel only and the prices are exorbitant compared with those north of the border. To get the full lowdown, it is best to go to San Juan del Rio at the Telcel official store. In Tequis there are only agencies. If you have a cell phone from Canada, be aware that your Canadian phone is locked and does not allow for a simcard to be transferred into it. If you are from the U.S., it may be possible but only Telcel in San Juan del Rio can tell you whether it’s possible and do the installation.

WATER FROM THE TAP

The bill comes at the end of the month and is based on water consumption, at an incredibly low rate. The water main is usually next to the front gate. It is a good idea to remove the water main handle as pranksters sometimes turn it off. (It happened to the author of this intro!) The bill will remain in the name of the landlord/-lady) for the duration of the lease. Payment is in person at the office on Juarez next to the Presidencia. (There is a fountain in front of the office)

The Presidencia is the Mexican equivalent to the Municipal Administration office.

LIGHT BILL

The light bill comes every two months and is based on consumption, again at a very low rate compared to “the other side”. Like water, the invoice will remain in the name of the landlord/-lady. It is a good idea to note the meter number if there is any question about billing. The meter is next to the entrance gate. Payment can be made at a cajero or cashier booth on Francisco Madero a couple of paces past # 9. If you need to discuss something with the office, it will be across the cajero. It closes at 1 P.M.

CABLE TV

The name of the company is TV Rey and it is located on Lazaro Cardenas. Be aware that there may be an already existing cable connection but if the cable wire is a black one, it is an old one that must be replaced with a new YELLOW one. Just check out the color of the entrance wire in the house. You will be charged by the metre for the length of the cable from the street to the house. There may be an additional charge for each cable outlet. No invoice will be mailed. Just bring payment equal to the package installed to TV Rey on Lazaro Cardenas close to the carretera.

EVERY DAY LIVING

PROPANE GAS

There are a few companies that deliver. The propane tank may be at floor level or on the roof. It is a good idea to call a little in advance as sometimes, the truck runs out of gas and you may have to wait until the next day for delivery. Here are two companies that have served the author well.

    EXPRESS GAS - 273-3594
    GRUPO GARCIA GAS - 273-3855   

PURIFIED WATER

You can purchase the first 5 gallon bottle(s) at any store that sells them or order a full garafon by phone. Many tienditas have them (highly visible from the street) as well as Dorantes and Aurrera. You will need a base with a faucet. Delivery is very cheap and you simply give the empty bottle for a full one. Following are two companies:

AGUA BONAFONT - 01-800-999-2662 (comes from Mexico City and costs more)
AGUA PURIFICADA SANTIAGO - 273-6222

HEATING

Houses are not centrally heated. Many have a fireplace and most chimneys, if not all, will not have a flue. Just light a rolled up newspaper and hold it up towards the chimney in the fireplace. If the flame (smoke too) follows up an upper draft, all is ok. Reasonably priced propane ceramic heaters are available in Querétaro at stores like Costco, Home Depot, etc. A plumber can run a hose and control for the gas from an existing gas installation as for instance, the water heater.

SHOPPING

FOOD

There are two main supermarkets on the carretera. Both carry alcohol:

AURRERA - 273-4613 -  A subsidiary of Walmart where basic items may be a little cheaper than at Dorantes but choice may be more limited.

DORANTES - 273-0435 - May be a tad more expensive than Aurrera but they carry a wider choice of items, such as peanut butter, imported delicacies, etc.

SORIANA - This is a new outlet of the Mexican version of Walmart. It is very close to the main bus terminal. No phone number is available at the time of writing this. The author has yet to visit this new store.

In addition you will find a number of tienditas (like mom and pop stores) along almost every street. There are convenience stores, hardware stores, electronics, carnicerias (meat stores), pollerillas (fresh chicken, whole or cut any way you wish), papelerias (stationeries), verdurerias (fruit and vegetable stores), and too many to list here. No wine or hard liquor are sold at convenience stores, only beer.

BEER, SPIRITS AND WINE

The main store is called La Divina and is on the main carretera.

PHARMACIES

Most pharmacies carry medicines for an assortment of ailments and they can be bought without a physician’s prescription, except for narcotics and controlled drugs such as anti-depressants, etc. Few carry generic drugs, which can be bought at Farmacias Similares on the carretera.

RECYCLING

No recycling facilities exist as yet, except for some beer bottles, which can be returned to the store from which they were bought. Only imported beer in bottles can be redeemed for bottle refund.

SUPPLEMENTS

As far as the author was able to ascertain, only Farmacias Similares (the one on the carretera carry supplements and the choice of these is limited. In addition, there is a number of tienditas, mostly on the carretera, which carry herbal medicines based on locally grown herbs and natural products. They are worth checking. One of these is FARMACIA NATURISTA on Colegio Militar.

TOILET PAPER DISPOSAL –        BEWARE

It is highly recommended that disposal of used toilet paper be in a closed container lined with a plastic bag later put out for garbage pickup. Flushing the toilet paper may result in a clogged drainage system that will require professional help from a plumber and may necessitate breaking down the concrete or stone pavement to access the drain pipe. This will entail replacing said pavement and may end up a VERY COSTLY PROPOSITION.

GARBAGE PICKUP

Depending on location, garbage pick up may be daily or every other day. Inquire with neighbours what frequency, time of day, and day of the week it is for your street. Refrain from putting the bags out early. Roaming dogs are always looking for a morsel of food and will leave quite a mess.

ROAMING DOGS

This is not a recommendation, simply an experience lived by the author who happens to have a dog, loves them, and takes pity on the poor vagrant canines who are faced with starvation unless otherwise helped out. Leave kibble or CLEAN pieces of meat always at the same place, and WAY AFTER garbage pickup, usually at night and away from passers by. The dogs will find the offering and clean it up, leaving nothing behind thereby preventing neighbours from being annoyed by the practice.

TRANSPORTATION

TaxiVans cover the whole city and all go to the Bus Terminal for out of town travel. The rate per adult is 6 pesos.

Taxis charge a single rate of 20 pesos from origin to destination. If you want the cab driver to wait for you and take you to one or more places, the cost will multiply according to the number of stops. Please note that the driver will wait for a number of minutes, not for a whole shopping session.

TRAVEL BY BUS TO SAN JUAN DEL RIO

Buses leave from either La Central de Autobuses on the main carretera every 15 minutes. The cost per person is 8 pesos. TaxiVans ALL stop at the main bus terminal.

TRAVEL BY BUS TO QUERÉTARO

The name of the line is FLECHA AZUL. The bus leaves every ½ hour from either the main carretera at Las Cruzitas or the bus terminal called La Central de Autobuses. The cost is about 40 pesos per person.

All TaxiVans go La Central de Autobuses regardless of TaxiVan line number.

For a taxi on arrival at the bus terminal in Querétaro, line up to pick up a taxi chit priced according to the desired destination.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Stargazer! Thank you! Very informative and helpful! I'll print your information as a reference.

mf in ia

Stargazer said...

That's the idea! I composed it all on WordPerfect but, lacking in know-how in posting it separately for the purpose of printing it, included it in the blog.

prernatutors said...

hi i like the blog very much.

maria luz said...

Thank you so much! We are moving to Tequis for a trial run, for about a year, in June 2011 and this is very helpful information. I am enjoying your blog and I am very happy to have found it. We have made two trips to Tequis and both times knew that of all the places we have checked out, it was the one place that felt right from the get go.

Saludos,
Mary Lou

Kathleengam said...

Useful information, thanks much. We just bought a home in Tequis.

Black Sheep said...

whilst it is 7 years old, it is appreciated. I may be relocating and this sort of insight is priceless. Thank you for sharing.

Carl.

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