After spending two months in Mexico, I wanted to resume a couple of points treating both the image of Mexico and the differences between simple daily life topics.
Difference between the pre-conceived ideas and reality
When you think Mexico you may think : insecurity, violence, kidnapping, and narcotrafic. Would this stop you to go on discover this country ?
If this does, that means you’ve been reading too much the news and haven’t asked yourself what is the true reality of the country.
Truth is : yes narcotrafic exists in some parts of the country, and so does violence, so just avoid these areas. Mexico is a HUGE country, there are plenty of places to discover in a very safe environment.
People are very welcoming, warm and keen on advising you and helping you get the best out of your Mexican experience.
Before going to Mexico City I was a bit overwhelmed by all the bad stuff I heard about it, but when I discoverd it by myself, I realized that the image which the medias paint of it are far to be true, truth is: there are plenty of safe places where you can live pretty much as you would do back home in Europe, go out at night easily, meet people, discover places of interest. Take the public transports.
Pacience is key in Latin America, in most case scenarios, for example waiting for the bus. Do not expect the public bus to arrive at the exact time you saw it the day before, first of all there is no time schedule, and secondly, it will arrive when it will arrive. So just take a book with you and take it easy.
In the street especially here in Guanajuato, as the walking path are sometimes really narrow, people walking are sometimes really but seriously REALLY slow, and they are not really taking any attention that someone behind them may want to walk a lot quicker. So well, again, take it easy, ask gently if you can pass, this happens all the time. (But it does get quite tiring when you need to be punctual at a meeting).
So in Europe there is nothing really special about going to the toilets, here… there is a slight difference. Given that the toilet paper may block the evacuation tubes, it is forbidden to throw the toilet paper in the toilet, therefore, after using it, you actually need to drop it in a little bin. Not very hygienic I would say, but that’s how it is in all the countries of Latin America.
So in Switzerland, the gaz or energy that brings you heat is not really something you worry about because it’s already there and organised. Here, every morning, there is a truck passing by with someone shouting “Gaaaaaaaaaaaazzz” (no it is not the most appealing alarm clock), but back to the Gaz, basicelly every house needs gaz in order to get hot water for the kitchen, for the shower.
But in order to add some complexity, apart from the few existing streets, Guanajuato has hills where only small walking path access houses, so the guys selling the gaz are actually very strong mens able to carry the gaz tank up to the house of the client.
You are used to drink water from the Tab, here the drinking water needs to be bought, Why ? because due to a lot of minerals in the water, it is really not recomended to drink it from the tab.
After taking a few showers, you will realize that your skin gets quite dry, that’s also one of the effect of the water. (this is one of the rare case scenario where a man starts to put cream to hydrate his skin).
But more importantly, you basicelly need to buy purified water in order to do your usual cooking.
You are used to wake up with the whistling of the birds and maybe the nice sound of a peaceful little river nearby. You have a lot more chance to be awaken by the barking dogs, or some people shouting in the street. Noise is a lot more present than in Europe.
That’s maybe the most difficult point to get used to. For example if someone tells you “ahorita” which basicelly means “soon”, it could be in 10 minutes, like it could be tomorrow morning. So, in terms of time organisation, coming from Switzerland where everything is calculated closely, you have to work on your pacience. On the other hand you may also wanna temper the meeting time, when someone says “we will meet at around 10 pm”, you should expect an hour of delay. Although it depends of the country.
Big positive surprise, anywhere you go, you can find a wi-fi, in restaurants, bars, bus station, it’s damn helpful!
Coca Cola is everywhere
You wonder why Mexico is the second country of the world with obesity issues ? Just look at how many liters per week a Mexican family drinks “refrescos” (Coca Cola, Sprite and products alike). This is seriously shocking from a European point of view.
What is even more shocking is how Coca Cola has advertised it’s brand until the very lost little countryside village of any latin american country. Where is the ethical responsibility ?