Monday, September 15, 2008


For those of you living here in Mexico, this is no news. But for the rest of you, you may be surprised to hear that Mexico has now instituted a nationwide No Smoking policy. I never thought I would see the day. I remember when people used to smoke in grocery stores and banks here. The new law went into effect sometime around August 28. Or at least while I was back NOB.

For the island, it is having very noticeable effects. One of the bartenders told me that violation of the policy will result in 24 hours in jail for both the smoker and the manager of the restaurant/bar. I'm not really sure if he was pulling my leg or not. Even so, it is being taken seriously. Our Mayor has taken the no smoking indoors to mean basically anyplace that has a roof over it. At our watering hole, Adelita's, we have had to abandon "our" table for the last 5 years and move to the street. Even though this bar is totally open, no doors at all, it does have a roof. Thus, no smoking under this roof! So basically the interiors of bars and restaurants are vacant and everybody is crowded onto the street. There has been a meeting with the Mayor and it looks like she may loosen the policy a bit. Let's hope so.

Because of this move, we are now sitting directly across from the kitchen windows of the restaurant across the street. They have now (unwisely in my opinion) opened up the entire space to the street and you can look right in and watch every action and movement of the cooks and the waiters who come in and out. Not smart. Not smart at all. Based on the things we have seen going on in there, we will NEVER again eat at that restaurant. They really need to shut this area off from public view. Yuk is about all I can say without getting myself into trouble.

Gossip is rampant again about closing Avenida Hidalgo for remodeling. It is supposed to start in a week or so. They are going to tear up everything from curb to curb. All businesses on this street will have to close during this work as there will be no access. Waiters, bartenders and hotel workers are already moving away, most to Playa del Carmen, to look for work. The Mayor has promised that this work will be done by November. Call me cynical, but I doubt it. From what I have heard, the plans are to make Hidalgo resemble Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen. So we continue down the path to loosing our fishing village image and creating an upscale exclusive resort. Whatever.

Not only is this renovation going to create an economic hardship for many, many families, it is also going to put the downtown traffic on its' ear. There will be no way to get across the downtown area and all traffic will have to go around. I am not looking forward to this mess. But you can expect a continuing pictorial report once it starts.

I'll be going back to North Beach now that IKE has totally moved out and the sea is back to normal. We all want to see what changes that high surge left behind. We'll also be visiting NOB again this week, so as my friend John would say: Stay Tuned!


Anonymous said...

Wayne, I hate to sound like an idiot, ...... but what's the meaning of "NOB"..????


islagringo said...

Robert: it's an abbreviation used a lot by bloggers down here.

NOB = North Of the Border

Meaning the USA of course.

Anonymous said...

Do you know for sure they will be starting on Hidalgo next week? I had read recently on a message board work was going to start in December. I will be there next week and really hate to think that Hidalgo will be tore up and no restaurants will be open.

islagringo said...

anon: who knows anything down here for sure? I got my info from the owner of Adelita's and Fayne's. Juan is on the retailers board that meets with the Mayor so he is usually a pretty reliable source. Plus various waiters and other people are saying the same thing. Add to that that waiters are leaving right and left and I think it may be starting soon. But, then, it was supposed to start last May too! I wouldn't worry about coming down next week. Even if they start tearing it up (starting at the North end by Fredy's) it will take awhile to effect everybody. I think the retailers would have a shit fit if they tried to wait until December and disrupt high season. Right now it is deserted downtown. Some restaurants don't see even one customer all night!

Anonymous said...


I am applying for a Fulbright grant to research the impact of the expat community in Mexico, specifically U.S. expats. I came across your site, and would like to interview you (either via e-mail - questions below - or in a short phone conversation). I will be using the information to frame my project proposal.

Thank you in advance.

What is your name?
What is your current occupation?
What was your occupation before moving to Mexico?
Where did you move from?
What attracted you to the area?
Did you move alone or with someone?
Did you speak spanish before moving to Mexico?
How did people react when you told them you were moving to Mexico?
How would you describe your experience in a nutshell?
What were your worries when going to Mexico?
How frequently do you see other U.S. citizens?
Do you notice U.S./expat dominated communities frequently?
Any other information?

Thank you again!

Islaholic Trixie said...

Not only will the "shut downs" and "smoking bans" hurt the businesses in their down time, but I bet the tourists will notice an increase in pricing come high season. Especially if it turns into a Mini Fifth Avenue!
Some of the restaurants on Hidalgo are already overpriced for drinks. When a person pays 55 pesos or higher for a drink on Hidalgo and then comes NOB and only pays the equivelent of 35 pesos or less!! (And thats for Bacardi Anejo, which is considered a local drink in Mexico, not import) Plus, they don't give you them for a 2X1!! Makes me avoid Hidalgo now. OK, off my soapbox now.

kelly said...

I know all the non-smokers are jumping up and down screaming YAY! But as a smoker that doesn't smoke in her home, and can't smoke in any establishment in Arizona, I have always enjoyed the ability to have a cigarette after dinner while on Isla, without having to go leave my table and go outside like a leper. No es bueno.

We'll be down next week and certainly not looking forward to the mess on Hidalgo! No es bueno!

JoAnne in CT said...

Wayne -

I wish I had known you were back on the island on the 3rd. I would have liked to meet you for a drink! We were there till the 6th staying at Plaza Almendros. Darn!

You don't have to publish this, just letting you know I'm a wee bit disappointed. We passed your house a kajillion times, too!

islagringo said...

anon: I would be more inclined to answer your list of personal questions had you identified yourself. No information regarding your identify makes me think this is spam, even though you got through the mystery word entry in comments.

trixie: you are so correct. The island just keeps getting more and more expensive. The best 2x1 deal in town is still at Don Chepo's. Rum is considered a national drink, but not Anejo. You will pay more to have that in your Cuba Libre. Anytime you specify a brand other than the "house brand" you are going to pay more. In my opinion, it's worth it. The house pour is usually a cheap off brand.

kelly: come on down and join us in the leper colony! As far as the mess, I'll believe it once it starts.

joanne: I take no responsibility for your missing me. I posted my return date and was sitting at Adelita's on the night of the 3rd. You should have stopped at my table or at the house. I would have liked to meet you since you are one of my more frequent commenters and always have something interesting to say. Maybe next time??

Michele in Playa said...

Turning Hidlago into another 5th Avenue???? Please say it isn't so!!! That's why I go to get away from Playa!! Aaaargh.....

Oh, and welcome home!!