Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our Meat Mission

Our meat has arrived.

Since we returned to La Paz on September 21, we have been trying to get our kosher meat delivered from the kosher butcher in Mexico City, the one who sent us meat on two previous occasions last year.

The problem is that the meat has been sent via Aeromexpress, which is associated with Mexicana Airlines, which has declared bankruptcy.  Over fifty percent of their flights have been cancelled, and one is not guaranteed delivery of freight for several days unless you are prepared to offer your first born in return. Delivery of a live organ would have been simpler.

The following are the steps we had to take to get our meat this time around:

Step one: Send an email order to my contact at the kosher butcher. I then received a response that he can no longer send meat as chicken and such has been arriving at its destination spoiled.  Step Two:  After panicking that we will be spending the coming year as vegetarians, I involve my friend Dennise who is Mexican and therefore speaks the language and understands the nuances of everything Mexican.  Dennise calls the butcher who tells her the same thing.  Step Three: I call the butcher myself, and he tells me the problem is with Aeromexpress/Mexicana and that flights are unreliable.  He can deliver the package to the airport but then can never know if it will go out that day or several days later.  I tell him I will see what I can find out and get back to him. Step Four:  I research other methods for delivery and find they are very costly.  I then try to find a number online to call Aeromexpress and get the info on flights first hand.  After several days and emails later, I contact someone who assures me that there is refrigeration in Mexico City to hold my order, but not a freezer.  He also tells me about the upgraded service available.  Step Five: I am put in touch with the Aeromexpress supervisor regarding which flights will go using the upgraded service.  Step Six: I speak to the butcher and ask him to send my order using the upgraded service, as well as to be sure to use dry ice and cooler boxes.  He tells me he can use dry ice and cooler boxes, but will only be getting fresh meat in five days so its best to wait until then.  Five days later, he emails me to tell me my order has been compiled, is being frozen overnight and will be sent the next day using the upgraded service.  Step Seven: I advise the supervisor at Aeromexpress that my package is arriving at her office in Mexico City and could she please give it priority to make sure it gets on the earliest flight possible.  She tells me she cannot guarantee that it will go same day.  I sweat. Step Eight:  After receiving the email from the butcher that he has delivered the meat in three boxes totaling approximately $600, I then email the Aeromexpress supervisor with the tracking number.  She tells me it is going out on a flight that morning. I sigh with relief.  Step Nine:  We rent a car to pick up the meat at the airport – we must get there as soon as possible after it arrives given that there is no refrigeration in La Paz at the freight terminal and it is 100 degrees outside.  Step Ten:  Nineteen days after I started my attempts to get kosher meat, we arrive at the airport 14 minutes after the plane arrives with our order, but it will take another 45 minutes to get the boxes out to us.  We pick up our three boxes at a cost of about $150 in shipping (plus the car rental fee). There is no dry ice or cooler boxes, but it still feels pretty cold.  We bring it back to the boat and load up the freezer, having to forego some frozen veggies to make room.  Most of the meat is still frozen. Success.

The thing about Mexico is that you just never know.  You never know if it will go smoothly. You never know how long something will take.  You never know if you will get what you asked for.  In this case, after several days and once the ‘mission’ was set in motion, it all went quite smoothly, other than receiving a few more chicken breasts than expected (I guess here when you request a chicken breast it’s really the pair – are you thinking back to the 15 boxes of matzah doubled in weight from pounds to kilos?).  In Mexico one cannot survive without both patience and flexibility.

The steak that night could not be beat.  Now we only have to pray that our freezer doesn’t stop working.

Signing off from Isla Espiritu Santo, BCS (we’ve gone out to the islands for a few days),

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy the meat! Forget the delivery charge - consider it a 25% tax. The car rental is a bonus - air conditioning! Now you can relax till the next order - Christmas or Passover?
    We keep thinking of our recent trip, and can understand all your "stresses" (are they really stresses?). We miss you all as well as boat life - for us it was better than being in an all-inclusive hotel! We'll send some pics as soon as Allan gets around all the editing.
    Love to all ... x x x