Monday, September 25, 2017

This is Not Usual in Mexico

The other day I took my propane tank and the Leland's tank to Don Pedro to exchange the tanks for filled tanks. I took a number and waited my turn. The Don Pedro employee said they didn't exchange tanks anymore. He said I would have to go someplace over by Liverpool, in the Luciernaga shopping center. Don Pedro is like a giant hardware store a mile or so south of the San Miguel glorietta. We had some trouble communicating in my meager Spanish.I hauled the tanks out to my car and I was about to take off when a well-dressed Mexican man knocked on my window. 

I couldn't understand him at first. I finally understood that if I would follow him, he would take me to the propane fill-up station.  He and an old man were in a white pickup. We turned right out of the lot onto the four-lane freeway, We drove about a half mile to a returno, turned around to the north and back to the glorietta. Turned right and up the hill to Liverpool. We passed the shopping center and came to another glorietta and turned right. We drove for another mile or so and took a left and drove north on a two-lane road.  

All the time I'm thinking am I nuts, following someone I don't know out into the country? After many topos, we turned left onto a dirt road that ended at Gas Exchange. I looked at my odometer and we had traveled about eight miles from Don Pedro. After a bit of waiting a man dressed in overalls came through the gate in a fence and my Mexican benefactor explained that I need the tanks filled. He waited with me. We managed to talk about his family and how long I've been in San Miguel. He has family here and a brother us the U.S. My new friend introduced himself as Aaron Martinez. 

Eventually, the Gas Exchange man came out with the two tanks. My tank was filled but the Leland's tank had a broken seal and needed a new valve.It couldn't be filled. Between the two men, I learned I needed a new Valve pronounced balba, Vs are Bs.  I would need to drive back to Don Pedro's buy a new balba, bring it back to the Gas Exchange man and he would put the new balba on and fill the tank. Aaron Martinez stayed with me the whole time and acted as my interpreter. We parted at the liverpool glorietta. I drove back to Don Pedros bought a new balba and returned to Gas Exchange. 

I thought Aaron's actions went above and beyond what anyone in Portland, Oregon would do. Is this unusual? You judge by this letter from Don McGilvrey: This text from a gringo friend of mine in San Miguel today . . .
“Today I am at a client's home and I am parked across the street from his house.   Been there an hour or so and it is raining cats and dogs.  I hear a car honking and look out the window and, wouldn’t you know it, there is police car parked next to my car.  I walked out and the cop was pointing out that my window was down a few inches.  The street was like a foot deep in water and I was fumbling for my keys.   He drove over up on the sidewalk and asked for my keys. I handed them to him. He drove across the street and parked up on the curb.  His partner got out and unlocked my door, put the key in the ignition and rolled up my window. Locked my door and he and his partner brought my keys back on the other side of the street.   He did this in the POURING ASS RAIN FOR ME!

Viva Mexico!”

I love these people


  1. Thanks for the post, one of these days I have to get my tanks filled and I heard Don Pedro does not do exchanges anymore. The road you are referring to is the one that goes to Los Rodriguez and Dr. Mora. Is there a sign on the main road for the Gas exchange? Also there is a Don Pedro just past the Pemex station on the road to Queretaro just past La Luciernaga on the right side.

  2. Thanks for your comments. There is no sign that I saw for Gas Exchange. It is possible that Dob Pedro in that location still does exchanges, but I don't know if that is true.

  3. The gas man who comes to my house to exchange my propane tanks has filled small tanks on his truck. 152-7777. I've never had to go anywhere!
    But, on the other hand, the helpfulness of people in Mexico never cease to amaze me. Once I ran out of gas on the libramento. I walked to the muffler shop and asked the man if he had a container I could use to walk and gas. His answer, "There is a container in my truck. Take my truck and use the container". I was speechless but I did just that. That is just one of so many experiences in my 40 years in Mexico! Viva Mexico.