Friday, May 20, 2005

catch 22

When Vicente Fox ran for president of Mexico in the last election, he ran promising cambio (change). And now that he's in office, cambio continues to be the catchphrase for his domestic policy. Well, he certainly has the right idea on that point because if there's one thing this country (or at least Oaxaca) needs, it's a massive infusion of loose change. It's crazy - nobody ever has change, not even stores that have been doing business all day long. I swear, the phrase I've heard most during my stay in Mexico is "no traes cambio?" It's a real catch-22 too because the ATM's charge a fee for each transaction so you try to make fewer, but larger withdrawals, but then you end up with 200 peso bills (about 18 USD) that you can't use anywhere. Go into a store and drop a 200 to cover your purchase and the shopkeeper will look at it like you just took a crap on his counter. Then you'll have to wait for 10 minutes while they send some kid running all over town for change.

So Vicente, bring on that cambio, and quick!

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