Living here in Mexico City over the last 5 years, I've come to be familiar with the common enemies of whatever apartment I move into.
Mosquitos, ants, cockroaches and some weird ass looking bugs that I don't even know what they were.
About half of my apartments I've had in Mexico City have been annoying as fuck when it comes to bugs.
I've literally had days where I thought to myself "this is worse than the Amazon Rainforest!"
And it's the fucking truth!
A few places I've been to were so bad that I even wrote an article about it here (among other mentions on my website).
Mexico City, despite all I like about it, is arguably the worst place I've lived in when it comes to bugs (especially mosquitos).
The only ones I can't tolerate truly are mosquitos actually.
Those drive me insane.
And Mexico City has no shortage of them.
Some neighborhoods I have found are better when it comes to avoiding mosquitos.
For example, Coyoacan or anywhere in the south of the city isn't as bad as Roma Norte or Centro Historico for example.
Having said that, I recently discovered a new enemy in my latest apartment in Iztapalapa.
At first, as I wrote here, I thought this apartment was near perfect when it came to bugs.
There were a few cockroaches I saw near the kitchen area in my first week here but I killed them and I haven't seen them again.
So I must've killed them all or maybe their few remaining brothers saw the gringo killing a few off and the rest ran away.
So it's been nice here actually when it comes to the lack of bugs.
No mosquitos, no invading ants, no random bees, no weird ass bugs that I've never seen before coming to Mexico City.
Or so I first thought.
As I wrote here, I had a surprise visitor to my apartment about a month into living here.
The Surprise Visitor
I was enjoying some vodka while listening to music during the night.
Leaning back in my cheap, 5 dollar plastic chair that looks more suitable for those little tiendas you see in Barranquilla where dudes hang around having beer until 2 AM.
Heard some noise at one point to the side by two bags I had laying on the ground next to the wall.
However, I didn't think much of it and kept on listening to music.
Give it about an hour or so and all of a sudden I see what is either a rat or a mouse run behind where the TV is.
Long story short, I chase the guy around and scare him into running into a hole in a side room behind my bedroom.
As you can read here, my plan then was to tape up all the gaps in the second room as I figured that's where he was coming from.
There's no other holes in my room where he could've came from.
And, after enough time living in cheap apartments in Mexico City, I've simply become very aware of any holes in the apartment building before moving in.
Anything that could let mosquitos or other bugs in.
You would think "holes" wouldn't be something normal to keep an eye open for but, as I wrote here, sometimes the construction work in apartments here is dog shit and there might be some random gap somewhere for some stupid shit to come in to bother you.
Either way, in Mexico City, you need to be aware of those fucking little gaps.
Never did I think though that a rat or a mouse would come through.
The Following Weeks
After I closed off those gaps, I thought the little guy wouldn't be able to make it inside my room.
In the first few days after closing the gap, I didn't hear any noises.
But then I started to.
The noises sound like either something between someone taking a bite out of a chip or someone slowly ripping off a piece of tape.
Naturally, I was checking the tape I placed and it didn't look to be messed with.
The holes were still taken care of.
That's what she said.
However, the noise continued for some time.
I always figured that maybe the rat or mouse (whichever it is, I can't tell the difference as I never saw these things in my apartment before) was just stuck inside the wall.
Maybe he has another exit and still visits the space I closed up.
Making noise but not actually being in my apartment.
I would get closer to where the noise was coming and that just made the most sense to me.
Didn't see anything on the floor, on the desk or anywhere by the wall the noise was closest to.
So I just assumed I put the mouse in purgatory and he was struggling to escape or something.
The Return of the Mouse
Finally, we have tonight.
While listening to music on my bed and doing absolutely nothing, I saw the little fucker run past towards the area behind the TV.
I was pissed.
Went to check the tape though and it was not fucked with whatsoever.
So how the fuck did he escape?!?
There are some gaps on the ceiling where maybe he could've squeezed through but I honestly thought those were too narrow for him to get through.
There's also a very, very small hole that I didn't cover that also looks way too small for the creature I saw to squeeze through.
But squeeze through he must have.
Because there's no other gaps for him to make his way inside.
What I've come to learn though is that he really likes a green bag I have.
It was the same green bag I saw him running through on the first night he was here.
On the first night, I assumed he was messing with the other bag that happened to have some food I didn't finish that night because I was full and hadn't put it in the trash yet.
However, on this night, he ran for the green bag that I put in a space behind the TV.
That green bag has not much of anything.
It has a belt, some books, some bars of soap, other cleaning stuff, etc.
But mostly bars of soap.
Absolutely no food.
In fact, after I first saw the mouse on that one night, I no longer leave any left over food in my room.
I wasn't that dirty with how much I had laying around before but now I don't take any chances.
So what the hell is bringing him back?!
I did do some research in the weeks prior where, as I read here, these things don't come back if there's no food source.
"Rats will leave your house in the end if there is no food for them, but they will not leave straight away. Rats eat items we consider inedible and will chew anything in their path to survive. Having rats in the house is every homeowner's nightmare."
There's not a single crumb of food for him to eat.
But then it hit me.
I googled "do mice eat soap?" and "do rats eat soap?" as again I'm not sure what this guy is.
Here are the screenshots from Google.
At any rate, I grabbed some pan and started hitting the green bag.
Right towards my desk where I work.
But I have trouble seeing him.
In hindsight, I think he climbed up the wall behind the curtain that is behind my desk and then ran towards the other room.
Because I was fucking with some of the shit underneath my desk looking for him and couldn't find him.
Then I checked the other room.
Gringo vs. Mouse
We gringos are capable of taking Texas and California from Mexico.
But are we capable of killing a Mexican mouse?
Like Tom and Jerry, we're about to find out.
With all the shit I have in the other room, I wasn't sure which bag the little guy ran into.
I knew he was still here because I could hear those little "noises."
So I started chucking empty tea boxes at random bags to scare him into showing himself.
Which, for those who don't know, I'm pretty sure by now that mice or rats (whichever) must freeze in fear if someone is chucking shit at them.
Because this guy consistently doesn't run away or move unless he sees me with his own eyes.
Like when I opened the cabinet underneath the TV to hit the first green bag and he only than ran.
He didn't run when I opened it slightly to stick part of the pan inside to fuck with the bag.
Only when I opened it all the way.
So here I am trying to find out which bag he is in so I can scare him into running out the bedroom door I left open.
Then I stop for a second to listen to the little noises.
And I notice that another green bag is slightly moving.
That green bag also has bars of soap inside it.
Given how fast he runs and that supposedly these little fuckers can give you a disease, I wasn't going to grab him and strangle him in case he bit me.
So, given I knew which bag he was in, I grabbed some gym weights.
A barbell that was 50 pounds.
Something I bought years ago and have been trying to sell for 1000 pesos since I don't need it anymore but nobody in Mexico is buying it.
If you do, call me.
But I finally found a use for it!
I grabbed it and started smashing it again the green bag.
I covered every bit of the bag and kept hitting it.
You can see one bar of soap in the corner that he was probably chewing on.
Every time the barbell smashed onto the green bag, my only thoughts were: "DIE, DIE, DIE ALREADY YOU FUCKER!"
Surely, a mouse would die if you hit it repeatedly with a 50 pound barbell?
Then I stopped hitting it.
I assumed it must've been dead as I didn't hear anymore "crunching" noises.
Though, on the flip side, I didn't hear the screams of my enemy in anguish after supposedly hitting it with a 50 pound barbell.
To be honest, there was a part of me that felt nostalgic for the mouse after killing it.
Though I do not love the mouse.
We are not family.
But any man holds some respect for those he has slayed.
Like Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed, you respect those who put up the good fight.
And, for the briefest of seconds, you feel pity that they had to die.
Like the Romans who shed tears from the death of Jesus in front of them.
"Sam Kinison, Jesus didn't have to die."
"It's a shame that he has to die."
I then grab the other green bag by the TV that the rat liked and tossed it into the other room to honor his death.
A burial, if you will.
With his favorite thing in the whole world by his side: bars of soap.
But, more importantly, if other rats show up, hopefully they won't have a reason to annoy me in my main bedroom as they have everything they need over there and I can handle finding a new spot for the soap tomorrow outside of my room.
Once it was all done, I noticed it was 3:40 AM and I probably woke my neighbors up from smashing the weights onto the floor many times over.
So far no complaints from them.
Though, as I wrote here, some Latin Americans are used to annoying noises in the middle of the night.
My behavior is culturally appropriate.
GOD DAMN IT BOBBY
After throwing the other green bag into the second room, I go downstairs to take a piss.
Back up stairs, I got tea in hand and back to listening to music.
This here specifically.
Hank Trill - Propane Money
It does not take long though to be severely disappointed.
While sitting in my bed, I see the little fucker appear out from the other room and run straight towards the little cabinet spot below the TV.
Like Jesus coming back from the dead.
OK, I keep referencing that space so this is what it looks like here.
And, just in tune with the song above, my mind goes "GOD DAMN IT BOBBY"
Is that the name of the mouse now? Are we familiar enough with each other that it now has a name?
So I grab my phone to take a picture of Bobby because I knew he'd be in the cabinet and wanted proof of him for my landlord to see.
The second I open the cabinet, I see him and he sees me.
We have half a second of looking each other in the eyes.
Arch enemies finally coming face to face.
For half a second.
He scrambles to the other room where he first runs towards the space underneath the desk, climbs up a little bit of the wall before disappearing behind the curtain and assumingly into the other room.
I go into the other room.
And I don't hear shit.
I go back into the bedroom to turn off the fan so I can hear better.
A fan so loud it supposedly got me kicked out of another apartment as I wrote here.
And I still don't hear shit.
So he either left through some undisclosed gap that I haven't found yet or he was catching his breath in one of the bags.
I fuck with one of the bags by smashing it again with the gym weight and I grab the other bag that had soap and completely empty it onto the floor.
No rat to be seen.
And still no noises.
It's now 5:06 AM on the morning of October 12, 2022.
I'm assuming the mouse left.
Especially as, given the history of when these "noises" start in the previous weeks, they were usually from around 11 PM until 5 or 6 AM.
So he's probably gone.
As I said, I never handled mice or rats before.
Still not sure what it was.
Supposedly mice are smaller but I have nothing to compare it too.
I have seen these rodents in the streets of Mexico City though.
In touristy areas like along those green spaces you see walking down Paseo de Reforma avenue.
To running around late at night by street food spots.
Or near the huge piles of trash that Mexicans sometimes leave in certain parts of the city.
But never in my apartment!
More annoying than anything.
About as annoying as mosquitos actually.
While he doesn't seem to bother me and seems extremely scared of me, his presence is annoying.
Especially with him seemingly shitting in the little cabinet below the TV and how he can spread disease, I guess.
My rent is due also in 3 days (the 15th).
Tomorrow, I'll do what seems most likely to resolve this issue.
More tape on any gaps, checking the rooms to better see if he happens to actually be sleeping in here (versus running into any hidden gap) and putting away the soap into another location (not sure if I'd want to use it though -- can you get sick using soap chewed into by a rat?).
Which, as a side point, did you know that chewing into bars of soap sounds equal to taking a bite out of a chip?
At least if you are a rat.
But, if none of that resolves the issue, then I'm out of here.
I'm not living in a place where mosquitos are a constant problem and neither will I be in a place with a rat problem.
Probably just tell the landlord that the debit card stopped working and ditch after a few weeks when I get most of my deposit back.
But, even if the rat doesn't bother me over the next few days, I think I'd still maybe want to ditch soon anyway.
I've covered the main things to see in Iztapalapa.
And I'd like to keep "checking the boxes" of neighborhoods to see and shit to do in Mexico City so I can get to the US faster.
Which, when speaking of home in Iowa, I could really find helpful any of the 100 cats I had growing up to handle these rats.
"We got this, Matt. No rats eating soap on our watch."
Finally, even if the rat doesn't come back in the next few days, no guarantee he won't come back in the weeks after to just "look around" for anything given he now seems to associate my room with delicious bars of soap.
Available in BBQ sauce.
This will probably be a consistent problem even if I do take away the soap.
Though, on the flip side, he hasn't given me any deadly disease so far and, if I'm being honest, there is a part of me that does kinda want to spend another month here at least.
Maybe until December?
Initially, I was going to stay in Iztapalapa until January 1st but I've already covered everything I want to see. Now I'm just enjoying the last bits of being here. But I definitely don't need to be here until January 1st.
So the ball is up in the air as to what I'll do but I'll probably decide in the next few days.
The only other concern I have is what I should throw away before moving onto the next neighborhood.
He's probably taken a shit in some of my green bags.
Guess I'll have to buy some new bags in Soriana soon since he's shat in the cabinet underneath the TV.
All of this drama anyway of chasing and trying to kill a mouse has honestly made me want to have a drink.
But today is actually -- ironically enough -- the first day of my 30 day break from drinking.
My main complaint about not having a drink on any given day is that it always feels like the days are twice as long and I become so bored.
Though probably less bored tonight, huh?
Finally, as one last interesting point, here's a quick fact about the rodent problem in Mexico City.
"An estimated 100 million rodents are said to burrow beneath the capital's streets and among its ramshackle neighborhoods--six rats for every resident. The rats feed on Mexico City's 11,000 tons of daily garbage."
Giant Rat Human size Found in Mexico City
Just how bad is this rat problem going to get?
Anyway, that's all I got to say.
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Thanks for reading.
PS: After writing this article, I ordered two month's worth of black tea and some trash bags to help me clean up the second room and basically go on a hunt seeing if the rat lives in that room or if it escapes through some gap. Cornershop must have read this article because they sent me a free beer with my order of 500 pesos. I wasn't expecting that as I didn't order a beer.
I guess it technically breaks my 30 day departure from drinking but it's only 1 beer, only 2.5% and I definitely don't want to be rude to the nice Mexican people who gave me this beer.