Friday, October 19, 2012

10 Things Mexico Taught Me

Hello there! Long time no blog post, LOL. In my defense, I have no Internet at home at the moment and it's making me realize how essential it is to my daily existence. Anyways, as I was going through my "blog idea" notebook i stumbled upon this list that I made when I came back from my trip in Mexico. For some reason, I never posted it & decided that even though I came back from Mexico 2 months ago, it's never too late! (In the mean time, while i sort out through all the road trip pictures) :) So without further to do, here are the 10 things that Mexico taught me!

1. Street food is KING here.
Seriously, there is nothing better and tastier than eating some "gorditas" made with fresh frijoles that were just cooked on the griddle on the side of the street. From tacos, to tortas, to fresh cut up fruit, you can find everything right on the streets of Mexico. For some change you can score a meal that will have the flavor of no other.
2. Its okay to be nice and strike up a conversation.
Okay, so if the guy looks suspicious and a little scary maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea, but otherwise, go ahead! The store clerk, the lady waiting for the bus, or the mom at the park with her kids, it's ingrained in their beings to be nice. They like to be amicable, striking up conversations anywhere. It's refreshing where you come from a land where people won't even make eye contact!

3. When it rains, it RAINS!
I stayed in Toluca, and never have I heard the thunder so loud as I did there. It was like hearing someone crack a whip and magnify it by a hundred times! I remember literally jumping out of my skin cause i was so startled.

4. Public transportation isn't all that reliable.
So not that I am trying to bash the public transportation system there, but there are really no set times or designated spots for anything! You can literally walk down to the closest main street and hold out your hand (taxi style) and the bus will stop for you. You can also walk down to the closest main street and gamble on what time the bus will show up. So if time is really an issue here and you need to be somewhere by 3 o'clock, take a taxi. You'll thank me later! 

5. Stop lights, traffic laws? What are those?
I didn't see NOT ONE cop stop someone for running a red light, for expired license plates, or not having a seat belt. Don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

6. Always carry toilet paper, some loose pesos & hand sanitizer.
Public bathrooms are not rare. Free public bathrooms on the other hand are almost non-existent. So to avoid the hassle, always carry some loose pesos with you so you can pay the 3 peso fee which most
people charge. (some might even charge extra for toilet paper!) I also always make sure i carry one of those mini hand sanitizers in case no soap or water is available.

7. Everywhere you go, there's history.
In the buildings, the streets, the landmarks, the schools, and parks. Everywhere you go there's history. In a land where the earliest people known to inhabit settled 23,000 years ago, it's hard to avoid all the rich history and culture that surrounds us. It's refreshing to leave a modern world and travel to a place where building have stood for hundreds of years. To walk on a land that one day was the ground for battle. It's really amazing to realize all of that which came before us!

8. American stuff is ridiculously expensive.
Anything American is CRAZY expensive! 800 peso straighteners (around 80 bucks) that you can easily get for 15$ at Target are the norm. I don't know if it's because it's imported, or because it's American but stick to Mexico made products while you're there. It's better, cheaper, and i think you'll do fine without paying triple for that box of Reese's cereal.

9. Stray dogs are like rats here.
My brother LOVES dogs. So you can imagine how excited he was to encounter many of them while on a simple walk to the store down the street. I remember how he would play and hug them while my aunt looked with a rather distraught face. She couldn't understand how we were so fascinated with all the "cute" dogs everywhere. Come to find out that they really are everywhere, flooding the streets due to a lack of animal control. It saddens me that all the precious animals are on the streets without no real care. I hope that one day Mexico can address this problem.

10. Family and hospitality always come first.
Family. If there is anything that can characterize us (other than knowing how to cook some deliciously mean food) its how family oriented we are. We love big families and even bigger family parties! There is nothing we love more than to be surrounded around those we love. We would do anything for our family, and will always treat you like one even if you are not blood connected. It's in our people to always be hospitable. No matter who you are or where you come from, you can bet we'll be ready to greet you with some food in hand and a genuine smile. Family and treating you like one is definitely what Mexico is all about!

& how i miss it! I miss everything about it! The food, the environment, the beautiful landscape. There is nothing like it! Most of all, I miss the people, my family. The ones who taught me all the values I know. The ones who ingrained in me to be proud of who I am and where my blood comes from. I couldn't be anymore proud to say that Mexico flows through me like a living river! Trust me mi Mexico Querido, I will see you soon!

<3 Stef

*Check out my "10 Things NYC Taught Me" post :)

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