Every Friday I present a list of 7 Things I have learned/observed/frantically made up for your reading pleasure. Love it? Hate It? Got a great idea for a 7 Things spot? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is(n’t) okay to drink the water. If there was one thing everyone told me before going to Mexico it was:
don’t get taken don’t get killed don’t drink the water. “I know, I know,” I thought. Of course once I had arrived at our resort, you can imagine my shock when the water that ran from the tap seemed purer than that of Jackson. Then again, if you’re from Jackson, you may not be shocked at all. I received many conflicting reports, locals said not to drink the water, foreigners living in Mexico said it was fine except for the high calcium levels. Considering that everyone who told me not to drink the water was trying to sell me a bottle of agua for $3.50, I was conflicted on whom to believe. Here’s hoping that at worst I’ll end up with a tapeworm, and finally lose those last seven pounds.
Languages are hard. We all have to take foreign languages in high-school, and since I obtained a classical education, I took Latin and Old Testament Greek, you know, two languages that offer me no practical use while traveling abroad. While studying business at Belhaven, I qualified to take a one-semester class entitled Global Culture to replace all of my college foreign language requirements. The one thing I really took away from the course by the end of the semester? The importance of learning a foreign language. My brain works in mysterious ways, and as soon as I set foot on Mexican soil it knew I needed to begin communicating in a different language. Why it chose Thai is beyond me, but I found myself trying to use Thai words rather than Spanish, and I definitely attempted to Wai a cab driver or two over the course of the past week.
When it rains, it pours. Sometimes you feel the need to check out some Mayan ruins, and sometimes you just don’t want to check out the ruins that are 20 minutes away from your resort. Your awesome, dry, inviting resort. Nope. Sometimes you want to take a 3-hour bus ride across Mexico, stopping at tourist traps all along the way. Thanks to this “day trip”, the expression, “They were going at it like two dogs in the parking lot of a Mexican gas station during a thunderstorm,” now has meaning to me. A meaning, and a very vivid mental image. It was like that intense scene from The Notebook except less talky and more thrusty. Just to clarify, these were actual dogs, and is not me being a racist.
Mexicanomics. Now, please understand that I went to business school. I know how bidness works, y’all, and oh how it works in Mexico. If you’re carrying USD and attempt to pay for something, the exchange rate is 10 pesos to a dollar, and if you’re carrying pesos, and need to pay for something with USD the exchange rate suddenly changes to 14 pesos to a dollar. The price of a rain poncho also varies from about $1 when the sun is out and $10 when you’re being washed away by a monsoon.
Machine guns are everywhere. “Welcome to the Yucatan Peninsula! Don’t worry, this isn’t the Mexico you see in the news. You can tell because everyone has a machine gun here!” I mean, I guess I should be reassured by the federales all carrying automatic firearms, but we’ve already established my irrational unease with the Po-Po. Then again, I feel like I read something somewhere about the Mexican police being corrupt, that couldn’t be true could it? That doesn’t sound like it could be true. Can I also just take a moment to point out that typing the words “the Mexican police” felt racist to me. I realize I am in Mexico, and that I am surrounded by actual Mexicans, but surely I’m not supposed to call them that?
America is far too uptight, but I miss hamburgers. Oh, to think of where I would be if I had never tasted a hamburger. There’s something so magical about the more relaxed cultures of other countries, but I’ll be damned if I’ve ever had a good burger abroad.What is it about a slaughtered cow thrown on a fire and then placed between two buns with some ketchup, mayonaise, and mustard that just keeps me coming back for more? If I had ever found a decent burger in Thailand, I would have never come back. I was so close to packing it all in and moving abroad, and I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those meddling cows.
The length of a Mexican minute. “Un momento por favor” literally translates, “I’ll be there when I freaking please.” Things move a little slower in Mexico. Mostly because things don’t always have access to reliable transportation. I fully embraced this, and that is why last Friday’s 7 Things is about a week’s worth of momentos late. My bad. P.S. I also learned the length of a 60 feet-under-the-water minute. Hint: it’s about 30 seconds worth of air and 30 seconds worth of sheer terror.
I had such a great time in Mexico! I managed to stay out of the office for 12 days, and have nary a tan to show for it. Slightly disappointing, but I’ll take it. Where did you guys vacation this year, did anything awesome/horrible happen? Can we all make a blood oath never to use the abbreviation “vacay”? Ok, cool.