Out of the frying pan into the fire : A Mexican Solution


Mariposa quit her job at a sandwich bar/ American style diner two weeks ago. She had been chattering about how much she wanted to open a restaurant of her own. She complained about the bickering of the hard working couple who employed her, and this provided her with the perfect excuse to quit a perfectly good job.She had no job to go to. She found employment in a restaurant that closed due to lack of business after affording her only five days of work. “I don´t have a job,” she whined. Meanwhile her son Antonio continued work quite happily for the same couple whose bickerings bothered her so much.

The solution for her self inflicted crisis is to open a restaurant. We all live in Mezcales a rural community where local folk often struggle to put enough food on the table and pay for essential services like water, gas and electricity. Just where are these folks going to find 350 pesos to pay for Fajitas for four?

When Mariposa first floated her restaurant idea to me I explained the difficulties of running a business. The costs for the business have to be paid every month even if you don´t sell a single meal. I don´t think she heard anything I said. Yesterday she had the keys for her new premises jingling in her hands. “I don’t have any tables,” she said. “Ask the lady whose business has just closed if you can have hers” I suggested. The idea had not crossed her mind. If you are to succeed in running a business the ability to problem solve is a significant asset. Do I see another red flag here?

Mariposa is a great cook and her meals are delicious but this is rural Mexico where wages are around 100 pesos per day. Her new place named Brisas del Mar is located one block North of the main highway to Tepic, and Mezcales is between Bucerias and Nuevo Vallarta. This is not on the Malecon, where wealthy tourists will give her lots of passing trade.

I wish Mariposa the very best. In six months when starvation September hits I hope she has a enough money stashed away to make it through the month and keep her business open but I am not holding my breath.

What worries me somewhat is that she and her husband and son live on our property as caretakers. Poverty can make people desperate. I hope we are not the ones who have to fund Mariposa´s foray into the glamorous world of business and catering.

Watch this space. I am sure there will be several episodes as this doomed adventure unfolds.

Sorry to sound so gloomy and I hope with all my heart that I am wrong.

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About Charlotte Ortega

I am a family physician and writer.I am an active member of the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group and I am coordinating this years International Writers Conference to be held in March in association with Los Mangos Library.Winters are spent in Mexico to escape the cold and the summers in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I am British born but have not lived in the U.K. since 1997. My blog is intended to inform would be travellers and those who view Mexico as a preferred retirement destination on every aspect of living in Mexico, the good and the other...My husband Humberto is Mexican and is a font of knowlege on the diverse cultural and social nuances which exist in this vibrant and colourful country.
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