How Much Do You Know About Mexico?

by Judy King 7. September 2010 10:37

Here’s our Bicentennial gift for you – a peek at one of the articles in the new September 2010 issue of Living at Lake Chapala.

Statistics about Lake Chapala can be hard to find. As a matter of fact, statistics about Mexico used to be hard to find. We discovered that Tony Burton and Richard Rhoda’s book Geo-Mexico: The Geography and Dynamics of Modern Mexico was a huge help in preparing this article. I found my biggest problem was getting interested in the fascinating text and explanations and then continuing to read page after page instead of just doing my research! (If you are at Lake Chapala you’ll find the book in most area book suppliers, including La Nueva Posada. On-line you’ll find the book on Amazon.com)

In just a couple of weeks we’ll be celebrating the Bicentennial of Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain. As we move closer to this grand anniversary, and the Centennial of the Mexican Revolution in November, we’ll be sharing information about our adopted country.

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The colors of the Mexican flag represent bravery, purity and patriotism and are centered with the country's emblem, the eagle with the snake.

Are you a lover of facts, figures and statistics?

If you are you are going to LOVE this column!  We’ve slipped out of our usual formats to bring pure information to our Facts and Figures article. Do you know how many states there are in Mexico? How many people are there? What is the national symbol? How many college students? Here are the answers, all in one handy place.

 

Facts about Mexico

Capitol City

Mexico City

Largest City

Mexico City (30 million)

Second City

Guadalajara (6-10 million)

Language

Spanish and 61 indigenous languages

< Currency>

Peso (currently about 11.5 to $1 US Dollar)

Population

97,340,000 (11th largest in world)

National Government

Federal Republic

Current President

Felipe Calderon

Presidential Term of Office

One term of six years ends in 2006

Mexican states

31 plus Federal District

Geography:

Area of Mexico

1,964,375 km2 (12th largest in world)

Border with U.S.

3,153 km

Border with Guatemala

956 km

Border with Belize

193 km

Pacific Coastline

7,828 km

Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Coastline

3,292 km

History

Rise of Olmecs

1820-200 B.C.

Maya and Zapotec development in south

500 B.C. to 900 A.D.

Toltecs reign in Tula

1325 A.D.

Founding of Tenochtitlán (Pre-Mexico City)

1000 A.D.

Arrival of Spanish Navy in Yucatán

1511 A.D.

Arrival of Cortés and Conquistadores

1520 under King Carlos V

Declaration of Mexican Independence

September 15, 1810

Mexico achieves independence

1822-1823

Current constitution approved

1917

 getting6-mariachi

National Symbols:

National Symbol

Eagle on cactus, snake in beak

National Costume

Charro Suit and China Poblana

National Dance

Jarabe Tapatío (Mexican Hat Dance)

Favorite Music

Mariachi, Trio, Norteño, and Ranchero

Favorite Team Sport

Fútbol (Soccer)

Mainstays of diet

Corn, beans, squash, rice, fruit and chile

Favorite Foods

Tacos and tamales

Favorite Drinks

Tequila and Mescal distilled from agave

 

 

 

mariachi04 057

Population:

97,300,000

Under 14

35.5%

Ages 15-29

29.9%

Ages 30-64

36%

Ages 64-75

3.5%

Mexicans in Canada

23,350 in 1996

Mexicans in the U.S.

20,650,000 in 2000

Mexicans in the U.S. illegally

2,700,000 in 1997

Income of Mexicans in the US

$5,910,000,000 USD [sic]

clip_image002

 

Religion:

Catholics

89%

Protestants

7%

Jews

0.69%

No declared religion

2.94%

Weekly Church Attendance

55%

Health:

Hospital beds/100,000 people

76

Doctors/100,000 people

130.6

Nurses/100,000 people

179.8

Life Expectancy (Infants born in 1999)

74 years

Average number children born to women

2.48

Women using contraceptives

69%

Deaths per year

440,437

Education:

Illiterate portion of population

10.5% over 15 in 1998

Education through 6th grade

42% over 15 in 1998

Technical Institutes

161 with 202,669 students for 22 careers

Normal Schools to train teachers

586 with 100,000 licensed teachers

Public Universities

64 with 1,200,000 students

Graduates with Master's degree

79,959

Graduates with Doctorate degree

8,242

Students in Private Schools

11.5% of students (all levels)

 

internet-contrast

Economy and Quality of Life:

National average income

$4,915 U.S.D. in 1995

Portion of population living in poverty

44-60%

Portion of population living in wealth

4%

Portion of population with electricity

93.52% in 1995

Portion of population with running water

87%

Portion of population with dirt floors

15.4% in 1995

Telephone lines

10,500,000 (about 9%)

Cell Phone users

7,730,000 up from 680,000 in 1995

Radio and TV stations

1,931

Exported Mexican Goods

$136,703,000 U.S.D.

Goods Imported into Mexico

$142,063,000 U.S.D.

 

Transportation:

Airports / passengers

84 airports serving 32,900,000 passengers

Ocean Ports

108

Cargo Ships

637 over 100 tons (31st place in world)

Highways

365,119,000 KM in 1998

International visitors to Mexico

10,060,000 per year


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Hot Utility Tips for Home Buyers

by Judy King 10. August 2010 21:14
costs-bill

It may seem at first glance that everything at Lake Chapala is just like back home  – after all we tout our groups and events that meet each month in English, the high speed internet, satellite service and grocery store filled to the rafters with imported items and a new mall with movie theater, Walmart and Domino’s Pizza are lined along the highway at the edge of town.

Don’t let your eyes fool you. Lakeside is a series of small Mexican villages – occupied mostly by…Mexicans. Expats are still less than 10% of the local population – yes, even in Ajijic! And our world revolves on a Mexican clock which functions thanks to a Mexican power company. We cook on gas stoves supplied by local delivery trucks and we answer phones with lines installed and maintained by the world’s richest man – Carlos Slim.

You’ll find that the common daily operating systems of all of these common utilities (along with the water, cable/satellite and cell phone service) have surprises for all newcomers.

Here’s a list of tips to give you a head’s up on some of the twists and turns that await those who live here.

  • When a buyer purchases a home or a renter moves from one house to another, the utilities are not turned off. Instead, the utilities (and taxes) are prorated fairly according to the amount of time each party is in the house.
  • Before making an offer on a home or signing a lease to rent a house, be sure to check the written inventory of goods that will remain in the house. Be absolutely certain that the stationary gas tank, the telephone line with number xxx-xxxx and the satellite system's dish, descrambler or tuner box(es), motor and other necessary equipment are specifically listed. It’s not good enough to say telephone and/or satellite dish.
  • At closing, the buyer receives copies of the current paid electric and telephone bills, letters to the electric and telephone companies transferring the accounts to the buyer and copies of the seller's identification papers so that the utilities can be put in the buyer’s name.
  • The buyer's broker withholds a small amount of money from the seller's final money until all of the outstanding utility bills have been received and prorated.

 homes2-electricDSC00809

  • The buyer must contract for their own new cable or satellite TV programming service.
  • The electric and phone bills must be paid on time, even if you don't receive them.
  • Because all homes use propane gas for cooking, clothes drying and most for water heating (a few have solar heaters) there is no regular bill. You must be home when the gas is delivered and you must pay for the gas in cash.
  • Even if your neighborhood or your house does not receive water, cable, electricity or telephone service for several days or weeks, you will not be eligible for a proportionate refund or credit on the bill.
  • Many newer homes have installed water pressure systems to move water through the house. When there's no electricity to power the pump, there is no water. Don't remove the tinaco (rooftop tank). Instead pipe the water through it with your pressure system, and have a valve so you could switch to gravity flow if necessary.
  • Because the electric company charges more per kilowatt hour as your usage climbs, you might be able to lower you bill by installing a second meter. Dividing the kilowatt hours just might do the trick.

homes4-roofwaterhomeswater1aljibe 

Mexican utility companies

Learning to maneuver through the maze of gas delivery, Telmex red tape and delays, CFE's complicated billing practices and paying your water bill annually takes some time, some Spanish and some patience.

These utility challenges is just one of the reasons we suggest that new residents at Lake Chapala rent first—the rental manager will pay your bills from a management account you set up in their office, along with your first and last rent and security deposit. With someone else paying your bills, you'll just need to remember to visit the office once a month to replenish the management account and pay the rent.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Living at Lake Chapala’s August Issue

by Judy King 1. August 2010 15:14

Wow, it’s the First Day of this year’s EIGHTH month! 
I can barely believe that this month marks the three-quarters mark of 2010. We are having another great year here at Living at Lake Chapala. In fact, nine members of our writing team has been out gathering information for our all new August issue. We've prepared a little bit of everything this month — take a look at this summary of our new articles.

image A Sailor Run Aground

Jim Tipton is introducing you to one of his very good friends in this month's Community Article. If you've not yet met Ken and Lise Clarke, you'll want to after you read about how this Lakeside couple met aboard ship and fell instantly head over heels in love. This is a love story with lasting power — when they reached dry land, they raised a family and then moved to Lakeside for retirement — and so Ken could write his story of the years at sea.

Mexico's Traditional Music

Mexico is a land of eternal music — it's part of the lifestyle — it's part of life. What's Mexico's most popular music? That, like most things in this land of contrasts, depends. There are those who would vote for orchestras playing classical music, or for classic rock and roll. More traditionally, you'd have a giant pile of votes for mariachi — that smooth blend of violins, guitars and trumpets. Earning just as much (or more) devotion from residents in central and northern Mexico would be the bandas — the groups of trumpets, trombones, clarinets, and percussion that play a type of music that sounds a little like a sharply uniformed military brass marching band colliding with The Six Fat Dutchmen Polka Band.


(Left:) A youthful group of musicians — a banda plays traditional music on the Ajijic plaza. (Right:) Bandas of all levels of fame and popularity perform in Lakeside's villages. This group came from a nearby town to play in an Ajijic club on July 17. The big name groups come to town for the annual fiesta and during mardi gras.

As Micki Wendt explains in this month's Out and About column, this isn't all about John Phillip Sousa, and it's not about Lawrence (a-one and a-two) Welk (but it helps if you were in your high school marching band and lived in the upper Midwest near a German or Polish population.) Banda music is a Mexican hybrid, and it's the love of the nation.

You may not think you know banda, but you've heard it — the bad, the ok, the good, and the really good. You're apt to hear it every time you pass a construction site or wait at a stop light behind a car with a throbbing stereo, or hear the marching band marching around town at 7 a.m. during fiesta. So far you've probably been more annoyed than in love, but give this article and the links to some professional videos a chance…you may be surprised!


Mexican banda members are snappy dressers. (Left:) This Chapala group was performing right outside the municipal building one evening — all in white and that shade of hot pink that here is called Rosa Mexicana. (Right:) Ajijic's Banda Incomparable was sporting new suits at last year's fiesta — their logo is embroidered on the back of the jackets.

Really Great Karma and  A Cookbook for a Cause

We're fixated this month on great food prepared by sets of Mexican sisters with great ideas and big hearts. First in the Mexican Kitchen, Harriet Hart is visiting a new restaurant on Calle Hidalgo in Ajijc which is owned and operated by Margarita and Rocio del Castillo. These vegetarian sisters recently moved from their home town — Guadalajara — and opened one of the cutest lunch spots in town — Buen Karma.

image image

Then former mental health professional Carol Bowman interviewed a trio of Guadalajara women — the Levy sisters — who have turned their skills in the kitchen into a cookbook (written in Spanish) and then turned the cookbook into a fundraising tool with proceeds going toward their pet project — a mental health center in Jalisco's capital city. You'll enjoy meeting the Levy sisters and learning about their favorite non-profit in this month's Health and Safety column.

The New Expat Radio Station for English Speakers

Then Judy is bringing you something very new — online radio for expats! Yep, Amigo Rodrigo is spinning American music on a 24-hour-a-day radio station — along with Mexican news and weather in English, Spanish vocabulary words and other specialty bits of information — and you can listen to it all on your computer. It couldn't be easier. Catch up with all of this in the Feature Article.

Back to School (Times Two) and Attending the Ballet 
What fun, we've devoted two slots this month to how foreigners at Lakeside get involved in the community, and take on some or all of the school expenses for slightly overwhelmed local families. While there are a dozen or more groups and organizations who are creating scholarships to pay the expenses so local kids can continue to attend classes — from Kinder through Grad School — our Cost of Living and Soul of Mexico columns tell how individuals are making a difference here at Lake Chapala.

First up Georgina Russell is back, this time in our Cost of Living slot explaining how she administers a fund for area kids. Who started this fund and this program? A trio of New York kids who were visiting their relatives at Lakeside! Now the US kids come back every year to see how the money they've raised in their home town and New York schools is being put to use here.


(Left:) One of the special joys of being a sponsor to a Lakeside student is being included in graduations, programs and special school events. (Right:) The ballet at Lake Chapala? You bet. And Scott Richards enjoyed it all – see his report in this month’s People, Places and Things.

Then long-time Lakeside resident, Phyllis Rauch explains how she and her late husband became involved in helping to educate the members of a family in their village of Nestipac. While Phyllis dreamed at first of "their kids" becoming doctors, lawyers and engineers, she reflects on how it's all worked out in real life and beautifully illustrates the Soul of Mexico piece with photos of her current (and we suspect her favorite) student Daniela.

Saving the Wild Orchids

Artist Janice Kimball delves into the world of Mexican wild orchids this month in our Homes and Lodging column. You'll enjoy her story of how she came to fall in love with these tender exotic beauties — years ago in the middle of an all-too-long Detroit winter. Now she's on a soapbox, helping us learn to protect the wild orchids from area mountains — and best of all she tells us where to find lovely, not-endangered, plants in local nurseries.


(Left:) These lavender beauties were once wild orchids in the Jalisco mountains above Lake Chapala. They've been blooming on a tree in Ajijic now for nearly 15 years. (Right:) Leave the wild orchids to bloom for another year in the mountains. Local nurseries have a lovely selection of hybrid orchids at very reasonable prices.

Planning for Singles

And to wrap up the issue, Judy is exploring some tips for singles living at Lakeside. It's just so important to form a support group and then finalize some of the necessary plans so that your friends will easily be able to help your children should you be recovering from illness or surgery and when you die. Look for this so very important information in the Getting Here space.

Are you a Living at Lake Chapala Subscriber?

That’s our rundown this month – and now, while you read these pieces we are already working on our Big Blowout Bicentennial Celebration for the September issue of Living at Lake Chapala. We’d love to have you become one of our family of subscribers and we’re betting you’ll love reading the very best online magazine about life in Mexico. Did we mention that subscribers have access to on-line support – we’re always here to answer your email questions! What a deal that is!


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

by Judy King 28. July 2010 13:12

Rain Garbage Bag Rain GearFor some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about rain lately –  maybe that’s because we’ve received about 20” of rainfall since the rainy season started six weeks ago – about 60% of our annual average rainfall.

So far, I’ve been as cheerful as Gene Kelly about our soggy summer, I’ve not been singing and dancing in the rain, but the mountains are wondrously green, the lake is rising – on course for a 30-year high point .

My garden has never looked better…but…unlike Julie Andrews, I’m not cooing about “raindrops on roses” being one of my favorite things.

Think about it, it’s rained 24 of the 28 days this month – and on most of those days, it’s rained in daylight hours contrary to claims you may have read on other websites that it only rains at night here in paradise.

Those claims are fairly accurate – in times of normal weather patterns. It’s when tropical storms and hurricanes start circling their warm, moist air into our region, the blue  skies darken and we move into cycles of gray days and hours of gentle, steady rainfall. It’s enough, as Elvis said, to have “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

28July8am Those Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

As Alex and Bonnie have moved up the Atlantic/Gulf Coasts and Celia,  Darby and Estelle have pushed rain to us from the Pacific Coast this month, I’ve had plenty of indoor computer time.

I’ve been following the tropical storms on The Weather Channel link on Amigo Rodrigo’s online radio station at KMEXRadio.FM. It’s easy to spot the oddly shaped state of Jalisco – it forms that prominent bump on the Pacific Coast and then reaches inland to our location at 5,000 feet on the north shore of Lake Chapala.

Be sure to click on the animate (Weather in Motion) button under the map to see what those clouds have been doing the past few hours. For example,  the map above is the still shot at for 8:17 a.m. EDT (7:17 a.m. Chapala Time). When you animate the scene, you see the storm cells that produced the .75” we received between Midnight and dawn…and you can see how that large series of cells to the south at 7 a.m. is moving into our zone toward midday.

editor4-rainI’ve also been taking some sort of perverse pleasure in checking the website for the private weather station in Riberas de Pilar – several times a day – just to see how much rain we’ve received. I must not be alone, the owner of the site reports 6,000 visitors last Sunday!

Rather than to start “Crying in the Rain” like the Everly Brothers, “Walking in the Rain” with Johnny Ray,  or complaining, “Oh No, Don’t Let the Rain Come Down” with the Serendipity Singers, I’ve been enjoying some extra time curled up some favorite books, Rain of Gold, House of Rain and The Rain God as I “Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain” (Donavan).

One recent “Day That the Rain Came Down” (Jane Morgan) I spent watching some old movies, The Rainmaker, Rain Man, and two movies titled Rain -- one with Faye Dunaway and one with Joan Crawford.

 
Are there really 800 Songs about Rain?

A little research showed me that while there are only about 100 movies with the word rain in the title, there are more than eight hundred songs about rain – some with lyrics of note for our lives this month:

 DSC00782  “Rain Rain” (Cher)

Rain, Rain in the sky
Everywhere I look my eyes see
Rain, rain fallin' down
Crying as it hits the ground

“Eastern Rain” (Joni Mitchell)

Rain comes from the east one night
We watch it come
To hang like beaded curtains
Till the morning sun
Water dripping from our clothes
You with raindrops on your nose
Ask me sadly please don’t go away now.

DSC00902 “The Late September Dogs” (Melissa Ethridge)

Come on let it rain
Let it rain down on me
Let the rain touch my hands
Let the rain set me free
Let it rain down on me

“The Rain” (Will Smith)

The little rain drops fallin’ down on me
But I can’t seem to feel it, feel it
Feel it coming over me

editor3-garciaKeep your Eye on Mount Garcia

“Can you Stand the Rain?” (Boys ii Men)  We’re still loving life here at Lake Chapala, “Come Rain or Come Shine” (Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Bette Midler).

Still….we’re keeping an eye on Lake Chapala’s south shore peak, Mount Garcia to see if it’s still shrouded in clouds.

You see local lore says that when Sr. Garcia puts on his sombrero, you’ll know it’s going to rain. Seems like all month he’s had it pulled down to his eyebrows.

Meanwhile, we’re wondering …

Who Will Stop the Rain (Credence Clearwater Revival)

Heard the singers playin’, how we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together, tryin’ to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pourin’, fallin’ on my ears.
And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Hello, Who’s Calling? TELMEX???

by Judy King 25. July 2010 16:04

Telmex, the telephone company of Mexico, was privatized by the government in 1990. Until then, the price and service of telephones were as tightly regulated as gasoline still is today through Pemex.

Telmex, which is owned by the world’s richest man -- Carlos Sim, (Yes, he has passed up Bill Gates and Warren Buffet) is perhaps a little less loved, respected, and trusted than Ma Bell.

Telmex
Carretera #113 in Ajijic, 
(376) 766-2131 or 2132

Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The current cost for the installation of a new line ranges is about $100 US – down from $150 US about five years ago and $400 or more 20 years ago – when there was a line available. The good news is that most often your telephone line will be included in the inventory of the house you buy or rent. Don’t leave anything to chance – be sure to check the inventory and be sure it says, “Telephone line -- (376) 76X-XXXX.” If it just says “telephone” you may receive an antiquated telephone instrument and no line to plug it into.

If you need the phone company to run wires inside your home, there will be an additional charge. There is also an additional fee if you need a telephone instrument as well.

Special Promotions Save Big Bucks

Telmex runs frequent promotions these days on the cost of telephone service combined with high speed Prodigy service.  Currently, you can sign on for 1 GB of download speed via Prodigy, have 100 local calls, 100 minutes of long distance service within Mexico and calls to the US and Canada for $2.39 pesos (about 20 cents) per minute. for $289 pesos per month.

If you sign on to have 2 GB of Prodigy download, you’ll get 200 local calls per month, unlimited long distance calls within Mexico and 100 minutes of long distance to the US or Canada (additional minutes across the border will be billed at about 10 cents per minute) for $499 pesos per month.

If you’re looking for the top of the line, consider the $999 peso (about $80 US) package. It features 3 GB download, unlimited calls locally, within Mexico and to the US! What a deal this is – it’s really quick and easy to run up more long distance calls than that – and still pay for monthly service, national calls and internet separately.

Most of these packages include call waiting, call forwarding and caller identification.

Line availability:
From late 1993 into 1995, Telmex crews were assisted by Florida Bell systems in installing fiber optic lines and systems at Lakeside capable of carrying the load from an infinite number of phones. The current occasional shortage of phones and delays in installation in specific neighborhoods is usually not due to a lack of lines, but caused by a shortage of switching equipment. There sometimes just isn't enough space in the switching boxes to provide the numbers needed to meet the increased demand for phones.

If you are purchasing a home without a phone line, go to the Telmex office ASAP to see if lines are available in your neighborhood. If so, buy your line immediately, even though you’ll have to pay the monthly bill even if you haven’t moved in.

Be Careful of “Putting the Phone to Sleep”

We’ve heard some horror stories of folks who left for the summer or an extended trip anytime of the year and opted for Telmex’s option to reduce the billing costs during their absence. Rather than being able to “put the phone on vacation” as you may have up north, here the option is called “putting the phone to sleep.” If you are thinking that sounds uncomfortably like euthanasia, you may be right. We’ve heard a series of sad stories from folks who tried to save a bit of money with this program. There are a number of steps which must be followed exactly – or the phone company ends up owning your line – with no prior notice or chance of recovery. 

Monthly rates:
The current basic monthly telephone rate (without internet) is $189 pesos plus IVA (15% added value tax). This pays the rental on your line for a month, and includes 99 completed calls. These 99 calls include completed local and long distance calls (even when you reach an answering machine) – about three calls per day. Each call over the first 99 is billed at $1.48 pesos or about 15 cents, plus IVA, each.

You'll need to purchase a phone card at a grocery store, pharmacy or at Telmex to make a call from a Mexican payphone. The cards are available in $30, $50 or $100 peso increments.

Bill Payment

Just outside of the Telmex building, there is a payment machine that allows you to pay your Telmex bill electronically—as long as you have the bill. If you prefer, with our without the current bill you can now use the drive-through window  -- just give the attendant at the window from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. your phone number and he or she will tell you the amount to pay.

Of course you can also still walk into the building, and wait in line to pay if you prefer.

There is a grace period of about one week before your phone is disconnected. If your billing date has passed and your phone rings in the late afternoon or early evening and you hear only a short recorded message in Spanish, it probably is Telmex reminding you to pay the bill the next day to avoid disconnection. During the first couple weeks of the disconnect, calls can still be received, but when you attempt to place a call you will hear a recorded Spanish message telling you that the bill needs to be paid.

Paying Telmex bills from the United States—in dollars:
Telmex has designed a program to allow Mexican migrant workers in the US to pay phone bills for family members living in Mexico. This service may work well for gringos who divide their time between Mexico and their homes back north. If you are in the U.S., call (800) 365-8808 for more information about this service.

No matter what country you are in, click here to visit the Telmex website. When you reach the website, click first on  “cambia pais” in the upper right hand corner of the page. This will then offer you the choice of 10 countries (and languages) including Estados Unidos de America – the Unites States of America. You can pay your bill, apply for a new phone line and accomplish a number of other errands from this site.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

About Judy King

Judy King

Hi There — Welcome to my little corner of the world. I'm Judy King and I live in the centuries-old village of Ajijic on the north shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake.

I've lived here full time since 1990, and... [ more ]

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