Terrific Tuesday in La Paz

In my last post I complained that all of us ex-pats miss customer service. We want to be able to return items to stores and not be made to feel like we have stolen mother’s milk from a starving baby.

And we want to contract services and have the work done on the day we are told things will be done.

And if we enter a shop and need assistance, we do not want to wait for the clerk to finish jabbering on her cell phone before she helps us.

On Tuesday Mary and I went in to town to pick up my repaired eyeglasses from Optica Valdez, and my repaired necklace from the designer at Artesanos on the Malecon. From there we were going to meet up with Melanie, who was at the dentist, and have a coffee at Cafe Exquisito.

So it went like this:

On Saturday I took my collapsed, broken and irreparable eyeglass frames to the optical shop. Since I still have stitches in my eye from a corneal transplant, I did not want new lenses yet. So the shop assistant and I searched for some frames that would fit my existing micas (lenses). We found a pair of raspberry wire frames. I call them “vintage” in other words they seem a bit outré. She said they would be ready on Monday after 3:00 p.m. I said I would be in on Tuesday morning. I left my old frames and lenses and my business card. No deposit required.

On Tuesday morning when I went back, my glasses were ready. The bill? $300 PESOS, around $25.00!

My $25.00 retro frames

Last week MissMeliss was visiting. She surprised me with a gorgeous necklace I had admired in the Artesano (artisan shop). It is a big shop filled with handmade crafts using materials from Southern Baja. There are black pearls in silver setting. Racks and racks of jewelry made from shells, handmade purses and clothing, replica cave paintings, artisan vanilla and other goodies. All of the artists have their assigned days to be on duty in the store.

The necklace broke the minute I tried to wear it. I went in to the shop a few days later (no receipt) and asked for it to be repaired. One of the artists in attendance called Ivonne the designer. She thought I was a tourist that needed to make a flight and said she would rush over and repair it on the spot. I said I could wait. Later she emailed me and called me and we discussed the necklace. Then a few days later she sent me a text message saying my necklace was ready and she would drive it out to my house. Instead I offered to come in town on her duty day. So on Tuesday when I walked into the Artesano and said my name, I was greeted with a smile and a big hug. The necklace is repaired, and Ivonne added a second set of earrings as a thank you.

My repaired and gorgeous shell necklace

While waiting for us, Melanie had a nice, long, friendly conversation with the parking guard at her dentist’s office, who allowed her to leave her new car there for a few hours. ( Just like any city, parking is a big issue in La Paz, and people will take up all of the spaces in front of an office or shop even if they are not doing business there, and the building owners will have cars towed). He also suggested some places where she might find a battery for her old Ford Explorer. We did our errands, had a coffee, and went back for her car. The guard came over to say no one bothered her car, and he looked forward to seeing her again.

Mary went off to a birthday luncheon with her “Ya-Ya” group. And Melanie and I went to La Concha for a beachside lunch of a tropical chicken salad. The service was slow, but nothing untoward happened, and we lingered.

Next stop: the Quaker state store that was recommended by Juan the parking guard. Did you know that 1991 Ford Explorers have a very small sized battery?

One of the things we do when we are on the hunt for goods is to anticipate all of the questions that could come up. We measure the item we are replacing. Copy any and all numbers, letters and names. As ex-pats we are usually replacing US goods we brought down with us. We may be buying something with a US name on it, but it was either made for the foreign market or manufactured here. So we try to be good Girl Scouts and be prepared.
Good thing Melanie had measured her old battery. Nothing in the Quaker state store would fit.
So off to the Ford dealer. Would you believe it, no battery to fit the old Explorer. He did bring a few batteries out for Melanie to measure. Another customer waiting for parts suggested a place we might try, and the parts man at the Ford dealer called them for us. No go. Maybe COSTCO will have it. There are a lot of old Fords driving around La paz, they all use batteries.
This Tuesday would fall into the category of TERRIFIC!
There are other days when we can find nothing on our list, no one wamnts to help, and there’s no parking.