Problem: I "needed" a smart phone.
Solution: Buy one.
Problem: Smart phones here are expensive.
Solution: Buy a stolen one.
Clearly I'm a problem solver.Buying "used" phones is simply the way it's done here.
I'll be sure to inform all of you when the time has come for my poor little "jackedberry" (as I like to call it) to return to the used phone market. (i.e. it gets stolen from me because I tend to use it when I'm on the metro and other places I shouldn't have it out.) In fact, when Mexicans see my phone, two questions generally get asked:
¿Cuánto lo pagaste? ... ¿Es chino o pirata?How much did you pay for it, and is it fake or stolen? (More on the use of the word "chino" later.. Once I figure out all 4,209,358,480,762,089 of its uses.) That's not to say that no one ever buys cell phones new here. Status is very important, and having the real thing means something. I'm simply commenting that more people in this city have Blackberry phones that could reasonably be assumed to be able to afford a $400 USD cell phone. Remember, I worked in a sewing factory where workers got paid about $10 USD a day.
During my capacitación in the restaurant, I mentioned to Danny, one of the cooks, that I was in the market for a phone.. He showed me his new blue tooth ear piece he'd recently bought (new), and I nearly choked when I heard the price. It was somewhere around what I paid for my iPhone in the US. Yeah. We started talking phones and prices, and just as I'd started to lose hope at being able to purchase one with my dignity still in tact, he looked at me and said, "Now, if you wanted to buy a "used" (air quotes) phone... You have to go to Salto del Agua." Magic words, clearly.
|Metro stop Salto del Agua|
|We made Bill practice his serious face.|
What we found when we arrived was definitely a somewhat lower-income area of town that to what we were accustomed in La Condesa or Coyoacán, but not so bad it was worth giving up on our quest. We decided the best course of action would be to always walk forward as if we knew exactly where we were going, so we headed straight through to the closest market we could find, and walked outside into basically this:
Naturally, we asked the 14 year old kid selling porn (he seemed the most approachable) where to find the phones, and surprisingly the directions he gave us were correct. Next thing we knew, we'd stumbled into a street full of people selling cell phones.. Some real, some not.
|picture this, but with phones from this decade|