Helpful Things to Think About Before Going to Mexico!
|Author Faking a Smile|
Traveling and being in a near environment will most likely affect your body. City altitudes can reach over a mile high. In comparison with the near sea levels, you will be short of breath easier. Most likely you will be walking around a lot and the streets aren’t always in the greatest shape. Try not to push yourself too hard at first in terms of sampling street food ect give yourself a week at least if not two.
2. There are Big Cities
You will find Burger King, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, etc. and there are malls and movie theaters that are as nice as ones in Oregon. There are plenty of ATM’s and unlike their American counterparts they do not charge a fee to be used. An American bank however, will likely charge you $3.00 or so. At the same time the downtown “el centro” is very quaint with the narrow cobblestone walkways and plazas.
3. People Will Stare
This is not meant to scare anyone off but it is helpful to know that you will get noticed. Some cities are fairly homogeneous with not a large population of international people (unlike say, Mexico City) so you will stand out. Taxi drivers will be curious, as will most people that you will encounter.
4. Assumptions Made of Americans and Westerners
Some people will assume certain things about Americans and Westerners. The first, of course, being that you have money. Of course, this not meant to be a blanket statement but many people you will meet will have ideas of Americans from TV and movies. Think of this as an opportunity to help change these stereotypes by just being you!
|Fountain of Neptune in Queretaro|
Getting lost on the bus, not always understanding when people speak to you, having to pay to use the bathroom – there will be so many things that will not be expected. Take it as an opportunity to learn and you will surely be the better person for it!
6. At the End of the Day a Peso is Just a Peso
Sometimes you may get overcharged or maybe you get “ripped off” but my advice is that at the end of the day a peso is just a peso (or roughly 10 cents) so try not to get too upset about it especially if it is just over 5 pesos or so.
7. The Buses Are Like “Bombas”
That was what my host brother told me the 1st day of school on our way to the bus stop. And at first the busses really can be like bombs, especially the little ones that can really fly. I always felt safe though except for one time when the bus was on the freeway and I was standing on the top stair and the driver left the door open. But that was only one time. Remember to bring your student ID and the bus is only 3 peso or so (30 cents). Good luck with crossing the streets!!!!
8. Carry Your Own Toilet Paper and Bring Floss
Oddly enough I had the most difficult time finding floss and when I did it cost about 6-7 US dollars. Bring your own floss, but there are plenty of items like shampoo and soap and deodorant. Although come to think of it sun block was on the pricey side. One thing though that you need to do is carry toilet paper with you because more times then not there will not be toilet paper in the stall. Trust me!!! And it wouldn’t hurt to bring some antibacterial gel if that kind of thing is a concern for you.
This is not meant to scare you. Don’t let this deter you from trying new things. Of course there is always a risk when you dine out. Personally, I think I may have had one case of some mild food related illness that lasted about 24 hours. In general, I found the restaurants to be sanitary and just fine. Out of our group there was one major illness that was caused by some bad water in some ice (we think) that caused some of the girls to get sick. But the health care they received was in my opinion excellent. My point is that try not to let the chance of food related illness deter you from trying new things. (Lime juice when sprayed on food naturally kills some bacteria).
Of course, I could go on and on. It never hurts to read a book or two before you go. I would recommend The People’s Guide to Mexico by Carl Franz and reading a Lonely Planet/ Frommer’s type travel guide.