Home and Tips for Mexico

June 28, 2010 - Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Alright, get ready, this one looks really loooong.

Have confirmed that I INDEED left my camera case somewhere. I think in either el D.F. or Queretaro. So sad. I've been using a VERY SEXY SOCK since then, jajajaja.

So, I'm home safe and sound, but I definitely had an awesome last night in Mexico.

After Chichen Itza, as you know, I updated and said we'd probably head out again that night and we did, and we looked up my flight with was 7:10 AM; unfortunate. More unfortunate: taxi had to pick me up at 3:45 am (!!!) to get me to the airport on time. So Amanda and I simply decided not to sleep and went out instead. We were just going to wander the shopping street (5th street) and get some ice cream and stand on the beach, but it turns out almost all the shops are CLOSED on domingo. It was dark. We wandered down by the clubs, because we wanted to try mescal (a liquor from a plant that's a close relative to the maguey plant... or, er... well, I know tequila comes from one plant, and mescal from the other, and the two plants are agave and maguey, but I don't know which one's which actually), so we bought a shot. It was the only drink we bought the entire time in Playa, jajjaja. And then the bar Coco Maya was letting ladies in free with free drinks, so we decided it wouldn't HURT to do A LITTLE dancing there, jaja. The drinks were alright, but the dancefloor was lacking, and bluparrot (the bar next door that we liked the dancefloor of) had given us free admission (being a woman ROCKS.) (although we didn't end up needing it, they just let us in because it was getting late), so we went dancing over there. We were immediately scoped out by two guys that weren't of the sort one really wants to dance with so Amanda said she was going to go dance with her friend instead (she meant me) but turned around and, lo, who should appear but Hugo!! So she immediately latched on to him and left me to my fate. Fortunately, fate is kind, and a congo line manifested itself! I was in that line faster than he could sneeze. I have no idea what happened to him. In line, I pulled in this cute Mexican guy because he looked like he wanted to join but didn't know how. When the congo line ceased to exist (because congo lines are like that. The stars align, a warmhole opens and a congo line has suddenly forms; it lasts as long as the constellations remain in alignment, and when they slide out, the wormhole closes, and the congo line no longer exists, and its members are left confused and di scombobulated and strangely hungry for anything coated in salsa. It's one of the greatest mysteries of the world) we started dancing together and I had the GREATEST TIME EVER. He was so wonderful to dance with because he could DANCE, not grind, DANCE. And he was FUNNY. He has given me hope that there do exist men in the world that can be good-humored, good looking, and capable of dancing. I was beginning to think it impossible! We danced for a really long time, until quite suddenly, it was 3 am and Amanda and I had to go. It was a sad parting. Said goodbye to my dance partner (Addin, which always makes me want to say Aladdin, jajajaja), and said goodbye to Hugo, and then  saw Addin was standing off to the side kind of awkward like, and that he was actually sad I was leaving made me feel warm and fuzzy inside (albeit really disappointed I did really have to go. Why couldn't I have met him sooner???), so I gave him a good hug. He said he'd find me on facebook and he did. Happy :D

And then I cleaned up really quickly and changed closed and hopped in a taxi for an hour and then sat in an airport waiting for a Johnny Rocket and Starbucks to open so I could eat breakfast. Shopped some in the dutyfree shops so I could spend the last of my pesos. Bought a root beer I ended up having to chug before I could go through security after customs in Texas to catch my connecting flight-- hadn't really thought that part through. Passed out on the first flight for 2 hours or so. Slept some on the second flight. Momma picked me up at the airport and it was great to see her again!!! She took my out for "authentic Mexican Food", which we both found hilarious. It was weird to hear everyone speaking english for the most part, and hard not to say buenos dias and gracias to everyone. But yeah, made it home and realized I'd more or less been awake for 36 hours, jaja. Went to sleep. :)

I will go back. There's still so much to do!! So many sites to go to and spanish to learn. And because it's now tradition (meaning I did it once before, jaja), I will end with tips for traveling in Mexico. The list is by no means complete and check back in occasionally if you'd like, as it will become more detailed and more extensive as I remember things.


1. You don’t need a power adaptor, it’s cool.

2. It’s hot: dress in cool, breezy clothes that don’t show much sweat.

3. On the note of clothes, (ladies and gents!) in the cities, wear pants, or skirts (fashionable for men in the British Isles!) that aren’t TOO short. DON’T WEAR SHORTS. It’s not that it’s necessarily trashy (it’s becoming more normal, although it is still considered distasteful in places), but that you will look EVEN MORE like a tourist (and a GRINGA/O) and people won’t want to associate with you, they’ll stare at you, and they’ll charge you more for things! And who wants to be charged extra just for wearing shorts?? Wearing jeans isn’t actually so bad, especially in el D.F., where I found it a VERY pleasing temperature.

4. See different parts of the country! El D.F. has lots to do and see and is generally very exciting, Queretaro is gorgeous and adorable and also has lots to do, but more in the I’m-just-chilling-and-I-don’t-really-have-plans-so-let’s-take-a-walk-somewhere sort of way, and Playa del Carmen, well, it’s the beach! So get a feel for more of the country than just one city if you have time!

5. Go see the archeological sites near you!!! They’re VERY cool and some of the best sites you’ll get in the New World. (I’m an anthropologist, I can’t help it...)

6. Traffic? jajajajajajaja, oh traffic.

7. Yeah, there’s not really “rules of the road” either. I mean, there ARE rules, but they’re more like GUIDELINES. Like in China, only people have been doing it longer here. People just sort of drive in a method that gets them where they want to be, regardless of whose in the way, or whether you’re crossing 6 lanes of traffic, etc etc. Oh, and buses drive like they own the roads. Because THEY DO.

8. I don't suggest renting a car and trying to drive yourself places, even though it doesn't cost a whole lot. I didn't do it and I'm glad. These roads would be TERRIFYING to drive.
8. Don't put things down and forget about them. Like my camera case (thankfully without my camera inside). Or Amanda's phone. But that's just a general rule for anywhere I guess.
9. Take buses places. They're an excellent method for travel and generally cheap. Use them instead of taxis in the city-- they generally cost about 10 (or under!) pesos, when a taxi will cost you 40+. Unless you REALLY need to get there SOON, in which case, take the taxi. They WILL get you there; they drive very, er, WELL. Buses will also take you long distance; anywhere 3 hours or less will be cheapest and easiest to take a bus to. They're quite comfortable and sometimes provided a small lunch.

10. Learn Spanish. No, really. Most people speak quite a bit of English, but you look like an annoying tourist and they raise the prices on you or just generally treat you unkindly. It's sad. Since I didn't speak spanish, and didn't really learn (to speak) enough for a conversation, when I introduced myself in general situations (not to store owners and the like, but on occasions when the intent was usually to make friends with person, even if only for a short period of time, especially tour guides), I often followed up "I'm from the U.S." by "I'm an anthropologist", because it made me sound more educated (not a stupid annoying tourist) and that I care about respecting and learning their culture. Turned the reaction from disdain to respect. :)

11. When you greet people you know (even if you barely know them), or meet a friend's family who you're staying with, kiss them on one cheek (usually their right cheek, on your left) and give a friendly hug. They all do that. When you leave, do they same again. Mexico's very friendly.

12. Guys you meet (especially those at bars and clubs) will all want to kiss you goodbye on the cheek and some will try to sneak one on the lips. Do what you're comfortable with, but in my opinions cheeks are fine and a positive way to say goodbye to your dance partner (even if you're really trying to get rid of them, but then you don't offend them much). Hugs are also perfectly acceptable if you enjoyed their company, and a squeeze of the hand is not unusual.

13. Ladies, bars will often offer you free admission, so gather the "no cover" tickets they give you, but look for the ones that will give you free drinks, too. ;) Guys, sorry, you're out of luck here.

14. BEWARE THE CHILE/SALSA. It's a LOT hotter and spicier than it is in the U.S.

Final tab: $1108.06
Amount of that spent in Mexico and airports: $430.24
Amount of that all plane tickets (US to Mexico City to Cancun to US): $677.82


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