Today’s topic: Gas!
Most of the houses/apartments here in Mazatlán use liquid propane gas. Either 30 liter cylinders or the bigger tanks that are usually located on the roof. Either variety will eventually run out, and not at a convenient time!
My apartment uses gas for my little hot water tank, which holds enough for a shower and about 5 minutes of washing dishes. I also have a gas stove. I’ve been fairly lucky in that my gas has run out during cooking and not in the middle of a shower! Even luckier, it’s been the stove top and not the oven – so I notice right away.
It would be convenient if there were a meter of some sort on the cylinder, but alas there is not. Some people do have a two tank setup so when one runs out the other kicks in. Neither I nor my neighbors are so lucky!
The predominant propane company in Mazatlán is Gaspasa. They have both the trucks that are loaded up with cylinders, and trucks with a giant hose they pull up to your roof if you have that large tank. Ordering is very straightforward, but they don’t speak any English. I start the conversation with “¡Buenas tardes! Mi Español is muy malo” (Good afternoon, my Spanish is very bad). Then I tell them “Necesito un cilindro de repuesto. Mi dirección es ____________” (I need a replacement cylinder. My address is ________). Of course, if you have a tank on your roof, don’t tell them you want a cylinder! They actually have my address pop up from the caller id, so giving it to them again confirms they have the right account. They will respond with the estimated time until delivery and the price. The price is usually printed on the side of the truck too – just in case you need a reminder! When they’re done, I tell them Gracias, and hang up. If you need to let them in at a door on the street, make sure you’re keeping a lookout for them at least 15 minutes before they told you the driver would arrive. I’ve found the estimates are very generous and they’re at my door pretty quickly.
Every time I get a receipt it has a different phone number on it. Today I called +52.669.981.05.05. The receipt they gave me has +52.669.980.10.10 (my cellphone has a different area code, and it makes me enter the +52.669 before it’ll let the call go through). If the first number doesn’t work, try the second! If neither work, walk over to a busy street and do some window shopping. When you see a Gaspasa truck coming, flag them down!
Oh – if your delivery person has to lug the tank a distance, or up flights of stairs, consider giving them a little propina (tip). I’m on the third floor and there is no elevator. It really does not look like they’re having fun when they’re carrying my tank to my apartment. Fifty (or more) pesos will get them a little lunch, and won’t break your piggy bank.