Disaster and Dead Lines

What does the future hold for Mexico City? Well, if two items of news published in the last day or so are to be taken seriously, then I may well soon be drowning a miserable death in a giant lake of poo and disposed of sanitary products, whilst talking to myself. The city is sinking. This isn’t new – the place is built on a dried lake bed, which itself does mean a little sinkage is to be expected. But the overly enthusiastic drainage of the aquifers under the city to supply drinking water just exacerbates things. And the result is that the water pipes under our feet, which takes waste away using that wonderful natural power called gravity, are now (or are close to) pointing up at the wrong angle. And the waste is coming back. Massive works are underway to prevent a potential catastrophe.

So what to do when floating in a lake of poo? Grab one’s mobile and call for help would be the best solution, one would think. But I haven’t registered my phone yet, and this weekend all unregistered phones are due to be cut off. It’s a governmental effort to crack down on organised crime you see.  I understand the sentiments of the plan. But there are drawbacks. Firstly, it’s no big deal for a criminal to register a phone under someone else’s name. Expect a ‘fake Mexican ID papers be as sought after as US papers’ shock horror headline in the news at some stage! Also, I’m not the only person who hasn’t registered. It’s me and 30 million others. Nearly a third of the population. They’re going to cut off that many people this weekend? Really??

Whilst some scaremongers would advise you that pepper spray, kidnap insurance, tazers and oxygen bottles are essential suitcase items for any trip to Mexico City, might I suggest instead that you pack a flotation device, nose peg and some sort of flare gun device? Until then I leave you with an image depicting the before and after Mexico City as we currently know it…


13 thoughts on “Disaster and Dead Lines

  1. Catherine says:

    It took me 2 hours in a queue at Telmex centre to day to register my phone – for some reason the texting and web site options don’t work for many foreigners – they need our passports too – the queues will be even longer tomorrow – Good Luck!!


  2. steve says:

    It’s hopeless for movistar phones; their system is so overloaded today that we tried 4 different places
    to get it done. (little tiendas, since movistar has no service centre here. how.. unsurprising!

    their text option isn’t working, and the tienda girls are calling in 611 or something to try to get it
    done with a real person (I know- HA)

    On the other hand, CNN is reporting that Telefonica/movistar is NOT going to shut phones,
    even though tel-cel IS going to, tonight. So, we shall see.

    In the house, we have both a movistar and a tel-cel phone. Well sort of…

    I took my older Tel-cel phone in today, and they tried to tell me it wasn’t a Tel-cel!
    and they refused to register it.
    (it does SAY telcel when you turn it on; and inside behind the battery
    it also says tel-cel..) also, I buy my minutes from tel-cel… so, like WTF?

    ….. they were having much fun with the gringos today, here in SMA….

    Sooo… when I am drowning in the Lake of Poo that Mexico City will soon become,
    will I not be able to call for help, on my de-activated cellphone?

    What about the camera?



    • Yeah, having a Movistar phone does mean not getting cut off. Unlike Telcel. I texted the proper number two days ago, and got no response. I texted again last night, and received a message telling me that the info will be processed within 24 hours.

      But….as promised….my phone has been cut off! I just tried this morning to make a call and got an automated message telling me to register my phone.


  3. steve says:

    I had to say this: 30 million unregistered cellphones, suddenly trash? Worthless?
    (that’s the number Daniel Hernandez reports)

    And how many creative hackers will scoop these out of trash bins, or steal them from your house?
    And hack them to a network?

    Drugs and kidnappers? They will simply use our old phones.. the ones we threw away.

    Phone exchange program?
    Cash for old phones?
    Nah.. that would make too much sense.
    Your phone expires the next time you are out of minutes– then you show ID and register?
    (so the whole country does not line up on one day?)
    Nah.. too logical.

    Pardon me, if I am judgmental of the government here. But, really-

    I have to go pull my hair out now.



    • The phones can be registered after the fact, as I understand it, but yes….30 million of them so far unregistered. I mentioned that in the post. It’s chaos. Stupidity. This is Mexico!


  4. Joe says:

    I am one of the 30 million who did not register, and I am happy to report that today the 11th, one day after the due date, my phone still works. I had no intention of registering as I cannot see the point. In addition to this, I am told by someone who has lived here for over 25 years, that a similar thing happened in the late 80’s (if I rememebr correctly, but before now in any event) and it did not turn out to be as important as they are making it sound. Apparently some people lost some valuable possessions then too, were robbed or something… ok so I didn’t pay enough attention to the whole story, but what I got from the story was that, it’s not as they make it seem and that they won’t cut you off if you don’t register… empty threats if you will.


    • When did you get your phone? A lot of people I know who haven’t registered, bought their phones recently, or in the last 12 months or a little more. I think these phones had details taken at time of purchase.

      My phone is quite old, and I gave no details at the time. And as promised by the authorities, I have been cut off.

      So it wasn’t such an empty threat. I can still text however, which, to be honest is all I need anyway.

      What cheeses me off, is that I did try and register. Twice. And I got back a message telling me my registration would be accepted or failed, and I’d be notified which. within 24 hours. It’s long gone 24 hours, I’ve heard nothing back, and my cell has been disconnected.

      They should not have disconnected a single phone unless their registration systems worked flawlessly.

      If I should have to buy another phone in my remaining time in Mexico, it will not be with Telcel, but with Movistar, who took a far more professional approach.


      • Joe says:

        The phone service has been in effect since I came here, so just a little under 3 years now, but the instrument I now have is about a year old, but maybe since it is a company phone… Though I was told that I would have to register it despite the fact that it belongs to the company´s “fleet”.


  5. I finally managed to successfully register my phone today, via the Telcel website. A couple of hours ago now, although my line still hasn’t been reconnected. I can make and recieve text messages, and recieve incoming calls. But outgoing calls? Nope….

    There’s an interesting article on this in today’s Guardian…


    Having read it, I’m disappointed I didn’t have the imagination to try and register as Emiliano Zapata, Pancho Villa or Benito Juarez…


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