10 Reasons to Visit Mexico

Mexico is a mosaic of different realities and beauties.

Enrique Pena Nieto

At the thought of sounding racist, and knowing that there are Mexicans and those of Mexican descent that read my blog, I will admit, I have a typical American view of Mexico. It is either the land of drug-infested violence,  desert town where a dust ball rolls in, or a place where Ernesto is cheating on Maria with Maria’s twin sister’s maid who is secretly a nun. I watched a lot of telenovelas in college. Mexico was either something out of Desperado, or a sleepy village where a bunch of Mexican men are napping under their sombreros, and a fast mouse running by. Most of my knowledge of Mexico has been either telenovelas, Speedy Gonzales, El Kabong, or the movies.  Stereotypical maybe, racist, yah, I will give myself that. But in my defense, Mexico wasn’t on the bucket list of places to visit so I never did any research.

One of the reasons I believe travel is so important is that it takes whatever precognitions that we have about a country and turns it on its head, before shaking it around, knocking some sense into it before setting it on the ground again.  Violent yes.. but I too come from the land where people stereotype us as a bunch of violent people running around with horns on our heads eating stinky fish. Not all of us do that, some of us are dentists.

But back to my point, the reason we travel is to learn that what we thought is completely different than what is. And if we are willing to be amazed, then we might find ourselves pleasantly surprised.

And that was Mexico.

10 things I should have understood about Mexico – or 10 reasons why you should visit Mexico. Take your pick.

1 – FOOD! The food culture is alive there and yes Tacos are as big as you think they should be.  Mexico is much like the States where it is a melting pot of people and flavors.  As one of my tour guides explained “When people travel to new countries they take their food with them. They get there and realize that they can’t get the same ingredients, so they make new food.”  The tacos al pastor is a prime example.  When the Lebanese came over with their roasting spit meat and realized that the meat is just as good as on a Taco as on a pita, it became a whole new taco. Great yes, still a taco and still Mexican.

2- THERE ARE MORE THAN ONE  TYPE OF TACOS.  There are over 18 different recognized taco types, and that is not including all the regional and unique tacos.  Mexico is literally heaven for the taco lover.

3- THE REAL REASON WHY MEXICANS DON’T DRINK THE WATER.  Surprisingly Mexico is environmentally woken.  They have a better recycling program than the states do. Straws were very rare and depending on the restaurant could cost you, most of the stores either don’t give you a bag or a paper bag.  And for the most part, they own up to the fact that they use the most bottled water more than any other country per capita in the world. So why can’t they get rid of the bottled water problem? Mexico is really old with lots and lots of history and ruins. Every time they go to dig a new pipeline, they find more ruins, and the project gets shut down because of excavation for ten years. While the people are waiting for the all-clear from the archaeology department, the government has moved on with the next project.  Blame history.

4- THE DOLLAR SIGN. Want to be confused out of your mind.  Fun fact, it was Mexico using the $ long before the United States adopted it.  Unlike other countries I have visited, who have their own currency sign, Mexico uses ours or we use theirs? So, something might cost $23,999 and you are sitting there wondering if it is in Pesos or Dollars.

5-HISTORY Mexico is an old country with an even older history made up of Empires, murder, intrigues, rises and falls.  Game of Thrones looks like a Dr. Seuss novel compared to Mexico.  Just be ready to learn that Mexican history is all around you while you visit.  Even in the main square of Mexico City, there are ruins. So if you are a history lover you will love this country.

Side hint- Nothing pisses off a Mexican faster than telling them the aliens built the temples.  I have a funny story where one guy was trying to convince our tour guide it was in fact aliens who built all the ancient structures, only for the tour guide to ask him what they call a bunch of Mexicans who cross the border. The rest of the tour group shouted “Aliens”! The temple-building alien lover stayed quiet the rest of the time.

6- MUSEUM – Some of the best museums I have ever visited were in Mexico.  Again, with a history as great and as complex as theirs, they know how to tell a story.  Every museum I visited was amazing, and worth the time to visit.

7- DIFFERENT CULTURES – if you think all Mexicans are the same, think again.  There are over hundreds of Indigenous tribes, and it is estimated that over 350 local dialects are spoken. There is no such thing as a typical Mexican. And not everyone speaks Spanish.  One of the tour guides explained while working in another country, he and one of his co-workers only spoke English to each other, because even though they were both from Mexico, they didn’t speak the same dialect. Add in that Mexico is as much of a melting pot as the States are, and you are bound to run into people of different races, religions, and soccer affiliations.

8- MODERN COUNTRY It is a pretty modern country.  I was expecting more of a third world area, than a place with good transportation, modern conveniences, and easy to get around.  Electricity is about the same in the United States.  Other than you cannot drink the water, the place is modern. They have Starbucks and Walmart.

9 – SAFETY. I honestly felt safe wherever I went.  Mind you I was also staying in pretty safe areas.  Do I recommend getting drunk and stumbling into a car or looking for the local drug of choice…nope. But if you stick with the areas where there are a lot of people and don’t stick out, then you will be safe.

10- INDEPENDENCE DAY Cinco de Mayo is not their Independence Day. This happens on September 15, and it is better than anything you will experience in America when it comes to Independence Day.  At 11 pm on September 15 – the president gets up on the palace balcony and shouts out the historical revolution speech. Mexican shout back at him that they are ready to revolt and win their Independence. And then they blow up a bunch of fireworks. The party doesn’t stop there, the next day is the military parade, followed by a lot of partying and good food.

I am going to admit when I first went to Mexico, I was kind of expecting the whole lazy hombres and lots of tacos. When I left there, I found a bunch of people who were friendly, and inviting, love to have a good time, proud of their history and what they have accomplished, and love tacos. But as George Clooney said in Up in the Air. “Stereotypes exist for a reason,” and Mexicans do love their tacos!


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