My Mexico impressions


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A year spent in Mexico – enough to have first stable impressions. Not all will be published either it would be possible even if I would want to; a little overview. My basic location was one of most beautiful cities on the world – Puerto Vallarta. That’s it for background, time to get started!

  1. Learn one of the most important word – propinas. In Mexico you must pay propinas (tips) for everything. (Starting from telling you the right way in the airport.)
  2. In Puerto Vallarta you can meet people from all places around the world. How do all end up there? Still a secret.
  3. Racism? In a way – if a seller will notice there is non-Mexican around get prepared for many tempting special offers only to you. It’s almost a sport, an art.
  4. You may even get some services for free but as I read in a book I bought in Mexico – nada es gratis. Sooner or later, in a way you will pay anyway.
  5. Sombrero is not a daily need (neither mustage for males) but in charreadas (competition with horses and oxes involved) you will look extra sexy in local guys’ eyes in one of those, and cowboy boots.
  6. Charros (hourseguys) will never undrstand you are not born on the horse back as them.
  7. You can eat and drink any time and any place. (Tacos and quesadillas bought on the street in the middle of the night are the best.)
  8. You can eat oranges straight from the tree. You cannot say the sam for bananas – they never get ready in the tree – if the owner will not collect them, somebody else will.
  9. Fresh fruits and and vegtables on the market. For incredibly low prices.
  10. I saw that mysterious yaka on a tree and had heard it was delicious but didn’t get to try it. Maybe next time.
  11. Each household needs licuadora (blender). It is essential and sacral to each family mother.
  12. Party? Take Sabritas (chips) and coke (dietic for females usually) as a basic pack.
  13. Lime and chili. Without salsas (souces) by the food it is not eatable. I mean I loved it as it was but you will probably not se any Mexican eating without adding several souces to his food. Even to chips and coconuts in the beach.
  14. “Not spicy” heard from Mexican doesn’t mean you will not feel fire in your mouth.
  15. Taste souce before adding it to your food. Even a local affirms it’s not spicy.
  16. If got fire in your throat, lick some salt (suggestion from Mexican friend). Drinking will not help. At least it didn’t to me.
  17. Be aware of those dark green things that look like pickled cucumbers – they are no cucumbers but jalapeños – pretty spicy pepper; not to be used as a snack. Unless you love spicy things.
  18. What you will have as quesadilla in most of Mexico is called quesadilla con queso in Mexico City. In both you will get taco with cheese.
  19. People from Mexico City are also being called chilangos. Generally they are not too happy about it. Also people from some other areas have special names but they are not as popular.
  20. There is special word to describe American – gringo. Very common to describe also Canadians. And some Mexicans use it to describe every non-Mexican. Not meant to be a compliment.
  21. Similar word is güera which means ‘blonde’ but is used to describe every girl whose hair colour is not black. My favourite is güerita which is deminutive form. Funny when once a police officer called me so.
  22. There is special relationship between Mexico City people and Guadalajara people.
  23. Chanclas – flip flops. Because they are special.
  24. It is a lie that you cannot eat money. Time ago in Guadalajara they had money made out of chocolate. You could use it for shopping, or eat it.
  25. Rain season is not 24/7 rain. In fact most of the time it’s still shiny. When the rain comes, it is strong. And rains about 1,5h at once. During daytime it gets warm again after. In fact I loved rain season since everything turned green and rised flowers, wildlife woke up. Only if you are on few days vacation it may be tough. Especially dirty ocean – it becomes brown because of whipped rivers.
  26. You will be lucky to find an umbrella. Shocking but few people even had raincoats. Saw such things for sale only for kids. Normally if it starts to rain, and you have no time and/or place to hide, you simply keep moving ignoring the water around. It can be fun, too.
  27. During the rain some streets become rivers. I didn’t believe in until once I saw a bench in bus stop below the water. Meaning I knew it was there but couldn’t see it.
  28. It’s totally ok for 14 years old girl to have a baby already. Though it is strange if the girl is 18 and still without children (or at least almost-husband).
  29. Kid at any age can babysit their smaller brothers and sisters. Even if he is 5 himself.
  30. Girls must wear shorts below skirts. Even some women do it!
  31. 12 hours format (am/pm) is used.
  32. If it is said that an event will start in 21:00 people will arrive after 22:00.
  33. Waste (from households) is being collected three times a week. With no extra cost. Except around Christmas you receive an envelope to put some money for “poor people working in the field”.
  34. Plastic bags – when you go shopping be ready that your purchases will be divided into several bags (and can happen that few bags will be placed in other bags). (Of course, you will have to pay for this action.) Those small ones are for free and are wasted in enormous amount. Since I’m “green thinking” and have my own bag usually, I use to ask serillos (people who put things into bags by cash desk; literally ‘matches’) not to pack my things, and get a look like I would have kicked them.
  35. Serillos mainly are elementary school students.
  36. School is not treated as too serious place. Remember myself trying to concentrate to study in spring when it was warm and shiny – imagine that it’s like that all the time!
  37. Teachers have so low salary that they get 50% off into public transport (in the city; intercity).
  38. In males’ conversation each second word is wey (also written as güey).
  39. Everybody everywhere works. Also kids in school. (Trabajando.)
  40. While swimming in the river, you can face a crocodile (pick an ocean or mountain river that goes through stones – crocodiles prefer sand as the ground). By the way – they can speed even up to 80km/h if motivated (=decided to have you for lunch)!
  41. The saddest crocodiles (smallest, half-dead) live in the zoo.
  42. To get sunburn in the summer it is enough to go shopping – even little time without protection can turn you into lobster.
  43. People use to learn French not to make impact on tourists (although – also works) but because they have many tourists from Canada (which is bilingual – English & French). Shame on me – didn’t know it before.
  44. While in Europe we put bad guys in prisons, in Mexico as richer the person as more his home looks like prison – electric fences, barbed wires, not talking about high walls around the property. Oh, did I mentioned grates in front of the windows?
  45. If sombody will decide you don’t need something he may release you from that thing. And forget about the police – they “don’t have a button which would bring bad guys to the jail.” Sorry.
  46. People are very warm, welcome, positive, talkative, friendly and totally awesome. But you should keep in your mind that there are also not too good people out there – follow your instincts.
  47. The most funny thing while chatting with somebody: jajaja. It doesn’t mean agreeing (although it looks like that to me). It’s Spanish hahaha.
  48. Uniforms. Everywhere – in schools, in most work places.
  49. Many parents want their kids to go to private schools because public schools are.. kinda criminal? But also some public schools have pretty good.
  50. Spiders. Big spiders. And big bugs. In some areas you may be lucky to meet a scorpion, too.
  51. Rays. Many people life their life near ocean daily and haven’t met them but some people are unlucky to step on them. Heard the pain could be removed by some special herbs but since they’re very rare and not actually available your best chances are not to step on ray. Or be ready to suffer. But rays don’t like to sting – they will try to escape if possible.
  52. Colours and brightness. All around. Growing, flying, masking, dressing, flowers in the trees..
  53. Girls love to use make-up. Of course, there are exceptions, but comparing to Europe, it’s way much more – fake lashes, tonns of tonal cream, (don’t understand why but) artificially red cheeks, colourful eyes. Starting from little girls up to women in respectable age.
  54. Silicon implants. Before I had heard it about The States, but also in Mexico girls are obsessed to increase their size.
  55. Mexico competes with The States for the status of the status of fattest inhabitants.
  56. Colibri. Sounds like a bumblebee, looks like a dream, feels incredible.
  57. Butterflies, bigger than some birds. Still amazed of white ones – almost like flowers in the sky.
  58. You may have to pay a penalty to stay in your car if you pull it over and turn off the engine. “Safely issues.”
  59. However, you can always try to make a deal with officer. Most likely you will succeed. Even if you are a male trading to male officer.
  60. It’s useless to try to understand American tourists.
  61. It’s for sure you will experience your own Mexican tv novel if only you will let it happen.
  62. Explosive gas tank on the top of each household.
  63. If you want to rent a house, you will need guarantor.
  64. There are family size for every item in the shop.
  65. Locals don’t bother theirselves with change of clothes before sunbathing or going in the ocean (and calling it sea). Came with jeans – swim with jeans.
  66. No snow in Puerto Vallarta. People use to make sand fights instead. Always felt horrified when saw those near me.
  67. Father is the head of the family but everybody obeys mom.
  68. Respect towards elderly. No exceptions.
  69. Outdoor works are male works (also if broom is involvd). Woman is responsible for inside. Although I had a friend who liked to come and do our dishes. (Just don’t tell anybody.)
  70. Mexican will visit a doctor by anything unusual. Nothing can be not enough important.
  71. Feeling like in a time machine while at dentist’s. “Modern” will look familiar to what you are used to see.
  72. Dental braces are pretty common amongst youngsters (kids – 30).
  73. People seem shrinked – most probably you will look from up to them. Canadian tourists still remind you are not a giant.
  74. Also in Mexico the truth is on bigger and more expensive vechicle driver’s side.
  75. Intercity bus drivers could be unbeatable in rally – with average speed 110 km/h, overtaking car drivers one by one. (Going through smaller cities with 80 km/h when 50 allowed).
  76. Naturally can become blonde thanks to the sun.
  77. If in need of pot – you can buy it almost everywhere. Only remember you are stranger so the price may be much higher than it should be. Always remember to trade. Since one of main Mexico drugs road goes through Puerto Vallarta I though it would be a crime not to mention it.
  78. On the street there are cars passing by selling almost anything – gas, strawberries, tamales (I liked with the ones with green souce the most; generally corn with meet in a corn leaf), ice-cream, ice, honey.. or you can sell you unnecesary metals.
  79. Before Christmas there are posadas – tradicional parties. The good thing – you can have many of them. One of most for in it – hitting piñata. It’s a paper sculpture, filled with candies, hanged in a string. Your task is to hit it while somebody else will lift it up and slide it down. More fun when they close your eyes and turn you around so you actually have no idea where to hit. Fun part – if you hit it, candies start dropping on the ground. People running for candies while you’re still “blind” hitting around with a bat.
  80. Banda – kind of music, kind of dance. When I started to get to know people many asked what I think of banda. Well, I wasn’t that optimistic as I was after my first party with it. In fact, there are still majority of people whom this style is only acceptable. (Personally I would prefer merengue – also easy but you get more fun out of it. At least I did.)
  81. The biggest disappointment to me – plaza means just a squere. One special thing of it – in Sunday afternoons everybody can dance in the main plaza in city center. Different kind of music provided (in one moment you will be asked for tips, again).
  82. Bad chances of having good Mexican football team – manager use to rent players for kids’ birthday parties to earn more money.
  83. After watching American movies about Mexico (e.g. “We’re the Millers”) I understand why many American tourists are afraid going there. Still had a lot of fun in Mexico. (Including tourists on street in underwear..)
  84. If you need to turn right while driving, you can do it also “under red light” if not disturbing other drivers.
  85. If you can see military units, police forces or even helicopter, you can be sure – tourism season has started.
  86. For some tequila allows to speak in strange languages. Some just become silly.
  87. In Mexico you can buy vodka, made in Latvia.
  88. Vine is not highly rated.
  89. Beer – Corona – is generally used. I learned that beer becomes drinkable if you add some lime.
  90. Lime and lemon are two different things. Don’t call lime lemon nor lemon lime.
  91. If you are good in something you will have a shot – diplomas and previous experience is not important.
  92. If you have right friends you may receive job offer even if you are not looking for one – face control matters.
  93. The most scary thing for m in Mexico – nastily long nails. For males. Iiiiiiiiiu
  94. If you’ve been robbed it can happen that somebody will offer you to buy your stuff. Even if formulated differently. Your decision.
  95. The Moon is either growing ()) nor decrescent ((); it’s always filling (u).
  96. You can also not to notice an earthquake. Everything depends on nearest area – whether something will start to swing or tremble. You may have hangover feeling for several minutes.
  97. Years ago ground opened and gulfed huge hotel. Now there is new hotel being built above the previos one.
  98. Machete – universal tool. Genrally used as a saw, ax and lawnmower, serves well to open coconut, has numerous different use.
  99. All the time something has been built, rebuilt, improved. Especially in the area where I lived.
  100. Suspeciously many pharmacies out there (everybody knows, why). Good thing – you can buy there also bread and milk so no need to go also to shop. Pharmacy works also as a bank.
  101. The cult of the dead and sculptures of the dead.
  102. Awful streets in the city (with its marvelous topes (buffer stops) – “the dream” of every driver). And incredible boardwalks (high, use to end suddenly, with a tree in the middle) if any.
  103. Automatic gear is widespread although Mexicans are very good (although crazy) drivers – it is need and it is understandable by such crazy roads.
  104. Not evn close all drivers have license. Yet nobody cares. You can buy ones any time (in some states you can receive license only by paying exact amount of money after it’s became your turn in the line).
  105. Mosquitos – very small but but very annoying, extra active in afternoons/evenings after rain, don’t sleep even at night.
  106. Be ready for a cake in your face if it’s your birthday.
  107. Like ants just smaller – in food. And don’t even imagine about leaving any food on the table. When it’s about time, even being located in unopened package may not save the food.
  108. During summer time it’s so hot that chewing gums simply melt in the package. Any package.
  109. If somebody feels ill, he uses mask to protect others. I think it’s pretty awesome.
  110. Parasols. Needed thing in beaches (even if there seems to be no sun) but some women use them also on the street. Not saying anything – have read that some people while being under sun radiation get that colourful skin illness (pigmentation?).
  111. Pay only after the job is done. And agree on a final price before it is started.
  112. Be ready that nothing will be ready in time. No need to stress, just make it not to be important.
  113. Sillybands – a lot of them around wrists. To kids as well as to adults. With nice texts on them generally.
  114. If you buy screen protector they will put it on your phone there – doesn’t happen in my country.
  115. Macho will never admit he is a macho while some of those who are not will try to proove they are. (Reminds me girls – the ones with straight hair want them curly while girls with curly hair mainly want them straight.) Being macho can mean both – good or bad.
  116. Man can hug a man and it will not be called being gay. As I said before, Mexicans are warm people. After coming back to Europe the hardest part was to stop myself – girl automatically hug and kiss other person on cheek (As I learned there – Canadians do it twice.)
  117. Strange Spanish guy for each capoeira team – that’s the impression.
  118. God in daily life. It’s been mentioned a lot. In fact religy has strong impact but it’s different than the one I knew before. God comes even in Facebook posts; His word is often used in youngsters’ mouth. Pretty nice, though.
  119. As the last one, funny story. Was one of my last days in Puerto Vallarta, was in the store with traditional candies when an American couple came in. They told salesman that they have limited time because they have excurssion that day. Salesman counted their purchases and told that if needed they can always use bathroom of his shop on which tourist man proudly answered they have only time for un rapidin because their bus is about to leave soon. Should I say salesman almost felt down from holding laugh? Instead of rapido (quick) he said rapidin (quicky) – a little difference, don’t you think so? But the couple seemed really nice; about age of 50 if I should guess. So I learned a new word.

I met many good people in Mexico (Mexicans but not only). Not with all of them I became friends, which is only normal but I still love those people so all what I wrote, I wrote with love and if seems like laughing about something then still with all the respect they owe. Smile with kindness because so it is. Los amo