For so many Americans Mexico offers a great place to come and retire or to switch up their lives and look for something a little different. In reality it is easy to understand why so many do this, Mexico is a wonderful country to be in and it offers a wide range of experiences from gorgeous beaches to bustling cities, the perfect place for a change of pace and lifestyle. To those of you who are going to be making this change, here are some important tips to bear in mind, which will help you to settle in.
The language is going to be really important for you to learn, even if you just aim at conversational Spanish. There are some areas around the country where English is spoken a lot, but there are also many areas of the country, and many people who do not speak very good English at all. Beyond this there is a certain responsibility which people coming to the country have, of learning the language and the culture of their new home. Start as early as you can with your Spanish, and look to use it wherever possible, you will find Mexicans are very understanding and helpful to those who try.
There are many foreigners who come to Mexico and who have problems with their stomach, and there are some steps which you can take to avoid this from happening. Firstly the water is not drinkable from the tap, always use bottled water and make sure that if you get ice in the restaurant or bar, that it is from filtered water. Secondly you have to wash all vegetables and fruit that you buy with iodine to kill of bacterias. Not only is the soil different here, but the handling of the fruit and veg in markets is often a bit rugged, and can mean that the produce gets dirty. Finally when eating from street food vendors, check how they are storing their meat before buying, and aim to buy food from a vendor which is popular, this will give you a better chance of avoiding problems. Finally, when it coms to salsa, take it step by step in terms of heat.
There is a Mexican quirk which my friend Rose Burillo warned me about, and it is important to know. It is actually well intentioned but can very frustrating. Here they don’t like saying no or letting you down, so it is easier to tell a little lie which means they don’t have to. For example if you ask someone where to go, and they don’t have an idea, they will still offer you some kind of direction. Just keep an eye out when asking people and entertain the fact that they may be telling you a little lie, so that they don’t have to disappoint you.
Remember that nothing happens quickly in this country, and always expect to wait a while when people tell you timings. Beyond this tips, just enjoy this amazing country and the kind people.