Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by abuelajudy @, Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 15:54 (27 days ago)

Hi pals in Zihuatanejo and fellow lovers of Zihuatanejo,

Have any of you been traveling in Mexico long enough to answer this?

I'm writing a novel set in Mexico in the early 70's.

How hard was it to call the U.S. in those days? Would a hotel in Zihua have been able to place the call for you? How would you place the call if you were in a small town in the boondocks? Would a prosperous farm in the boondocks have a phone? Would it be possible to place the call from there?

I spent a lot of time in Mexico in the early 70's, but it never occurred to me that it might be possible to call home, so if it was possible, I didn't know. It was all snail mail in those days, at least for me.

As always, thanks! I hope you who are in Zihua are having fun. I'm jealous.

Judy

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Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by Talley Ho @, Playa la Ropa/Silver Strand Beach, California, Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 16:11 (27 days ago) @ abuelajudy

Extremely difficult.

Even as late as the mic-80's in a relatively small town, there was usually only one place that had phone service, usually one or two lines. It was very expensive to call the US.

In the early 90's you could find functional phone booths in large cities and make the calls, but they again, were very expensive, and usually had to be collect.

Large ranch, no. Hotels in Zihuatanejo, no. How would you do it? Basically you couldn't.

Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by abuelajudy @, Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 18:35 (27 days ago) @ Talley Ho

Thx so much Tally Ho. This is great. Just the info I needed (and what I wanted to find - I want the character to be incommunicado). Would there have been any phones at all in Zihuatanejo? Would a lawyer in a smaller town a hundred miles inland have one? When she's driving north along the coast from Z toward the border would some of the towns have them?

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Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 20:49 (27 days ago) @ abuelajudy

Hi pals in Zihuatanejo and fellow lovers of Zihuatanejo,

Have any of you been traveling in Mexico long enough to answer this?

I'm writing a novel set in Mexico in the early 70's.

How hard was it to call the U.S. in those days? Would a hotel in Zihua have been able to place the call for you? How would you place the call if you were in a small town in the boondocks? Would a prosperous farm in the boondocks have a phone? Would it be possible to place the call from there?

I spent a lot of time in Mexico in the early 70's, but it never occurred to me that it might be possible to call home, so if it was possible, I didn't know. It was all snail mail in those days, at least for me.

As always, thanks! I hope you who are in Zihua are having fun. I'm jealous.

Judy

The Sotavento, Catalina and Calpulli were the only hotels on La Ropa beach back in '74 and I believe only the Sotavento had a phone because that's where and how I met Gerald Shaw who passed away earlier this year. Only 3 or 4 other places with telephones existed in downtown Zihuatanejo back then. One was my then future wife's family's home, one was the Caseta de Larga Distancia, and I believe there was a phone at the Palacio Federal. Maybe Mexicana de Aviación at the small airport near where Materiales Sotelo now is also had a phone.

It usually took several tries by operator to get through. I don't think direct dialing was an option then.

There would be no telephones in rural areas but there would be radios of various sorts. It was a real big deal here in the 40's when my then future father-in-law made the first radio phone call to Mexico City from Zihuatanejo. We still have one of his old telegraph keys that he had used previous to the arrival of radio and phone calls.

So from a prosperous farm in the boondocks radio calls may have been possible.

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Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by Talley Ho @, Playa la Ropa/Silver Strand Beach, California, Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 21:33 (27 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

So cool that you have personal AND family memories of those times!

Ours are just personal.

Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by Ernie Gorrie ⌂ @, Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 23:23 (27 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

Following up on Rob’s comment about the old airport near where ferretería Sotelo is...

My friend Timo has a house near there, on Mar Negro (Or is it Mar Muerto?)

He says when they were excavating for construction, they kept digging up very old (as in collector-type) beer bottles.

It turns out that the lot was at the end of the old runway. Given the little entertainment available at the time, a popular pastime was to go drinking at the end of the runway, watching the underbodies of the planes landing or taking off.

--
www.dreaminmexico.com

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Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by Curly! ⌂, Great Pacific Northwet, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 10:58 (27 days ago) @ Ernie Gorrie

Back in the 60's we did that at Orange County Airport (Now John Wayne I believe) with beer and reefer. Laid on our hoods and watched the jets land. Seems like you could reach out and touch them. Louder than Los Lobos. Good memories.

--
Curly!
Zihuatanejo Trip Reports

Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by abuelajudy @, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 12:27 (27 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

Would it be possible to call the states with a radio? What would be the procedure?

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Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by Talley Ho @, Playa la Ropa/Silver Strand Beach, California, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 12:37 (27 days ago) @ abuelajudy

Just make it up! You have a good enough imagination to make it realistic!

Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by abuelajudy @, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 13:14 (27 days ago) @ Talley Ho

LOL Right. Will do. But will start with any facts I can muster up. You guys are such a great resource.

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Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by Fran @, Evanston, IL, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 14:47 (27 days ago) @ abuelajudy

I suspect you can’t go wrong with having your character use the Larga Distancia.

Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by abuelajudy @, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 17:25 (26 days ago) @ Fran

Very helpful to know there was a larga distancia in Zihua. Probably not in the inland village?

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Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 19:13 (26 days ago) @ abuelajudy

Very helpful to know there was a larga distancia in Zihua. Probably not in the inland village?

The bigger towns along the Costa Grande such as Coyuca, Tecpan, Petatlán and Zihuatanejo all had a Caseta de Larga Distancia for making public phone calls back in the early 70's, but smaller towns such as Coacoyul, San Jeronimito, Pantla and Papanoa didn't. So folks would take the bus from smaller towns to make phone calls. The larger towns along the main highways would be where phone service was likely back then, but it was just arriving to this region of Guerrero in the early 70's.

Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by islandgirl @, Cowichan Valley, Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 23:57 (27 days ago) @ abuelajudy

The first time I was in Zihua, we had to go into town to use the phone to call back to Canada. My memory is a bit foggy, but seemed to be at the post office, or similar type place, near to where Rob lives now. We had to wait and wait until they finally got a connection. Strange to think of it now, with everyone and his dog having a cell phone!

Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by abuelajudy @, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 01:49 (27 days ago) @ islandgirl

When was that Island girl?

Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by maggy, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 09:34 (27 days ago) @ abuelajudy

casetas and neighbors who had phone lines 5 digit phone numbers,rotary phones only.
it was great!!

Phone service to the U.S. in the '70's

by NJS @, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 15:43 (26 days ago) @ maggy

In the mid 70's we were in Bara de Navidad. There was one phone for public use in someone's house. It was available only maybe 2 hours per day. One of our daughters just HAD to talk to the boyfriend so she did call but only the once. LOL I do remember in Zih using fax machines. Think there was a phone and fax place near the market downtown. That was the easiest and cheapest way. You could check back the next day if you were expecting a reply.