Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Last Post I'm Going To Write About Mexico. Maybe.

To conclude this series of posts, I'm going to list off random tidbits:

-If you learn no other Spanish, learn to count.

-The lazy person's conversion is 10 pesos equal 1 Canadian Dollar.

-Bring a small towel with you, for drying off your feet after you've been strolling on the beach.

-Before you start negotiating ruthlessly on a souvenir ask yourself, "Am I just haggling because I honestly don't think this product is worth the suggested price or am I doing this so I have a cool story to tell my friends about the great deals I scored in Mexico?" In short: don't be an ass, you rich gringo.

-Bring your own Gold Bond lotion. They don't sell it in Mexico.

-If you are going to use a new brand of hair chemical depilatory (because your usual brand is in an aerosol can that you can't pack in your luggage), give it a test run before leaving home. Otherwise you might suffer a chemical burn on your Lady Garden Area and then discover -- to your great ITCHY horror -- there is no Gold Bond lotion in the whole country except for the bottle belonging to your 20 year old nephew who will cover his ears and scream in horror when you explain why he needs to give you that GOLD BOND LOTION RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND OR I WILL START WEEPING!

-A trip to the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens is a great way to spend the day. The food at the restaurant was wonderful. But there's a mariachi band that serenades patrons at their tables, and I found it very, very awkward. We followed the website's instructions about catching a local bus and had no problems.  It took almost an hour.

-We only packed one swimsuit per person, which I now regret. It would've been less of hassle for organizing daytrips that required suits if we'd had extras. DRY extras. Plus we could have worn them TO places (ie the Pirates of the Bay, the Botanical Gardens) and not have worried about finding changing facilities. And to make things even easier for me (in terms of using the ladies' room) I should have packed one regular swimsuit and one tankini style suit.

-Careful when getting a cab. That cold puddle you sit in might be vomit.

-If you are looking for religious themed souvenirs (and really who ISN'T?!) then make your way to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

It's two-blocks off the Malecon, and the neighbouring streets have many shops selling Church-y things.

-Tip. Yes, it gets exhausting after a while, but consider tipping a form of tourist tax and stop fighting it.

-My husband says "Old buses don't die, they just wind up in Mexico." What the buses lack in aesthetics and floor boards, they make up for in speed, convenience, and cost. The bus' destinations are written on the front windscreen. Look for bus stop signs or people who look they are waiting for the bus and as one approaches make eye contact with the driver. He'll stop if you look like you mean business.

-Don't buy a sombrero. Just don't.

-Teeth whitening seems to be very popular. Going rate is $50 USD. But the blood poisoning? It's FREE, baby.

-There is no ginger ale in Mexico. This is just wrong.

-If you want to book day tours you have a few routes. You can contact the supplier directly (via phone or website). Or you can ask at your hotel's guest services counter, and they'll direct you to their employee who arranges excursions. Or you can go to these small hole in the wall travel agents on the streets who book your tickets and usually get a commission. Personally I'm deeply suspicious of the latter, and did our bookings online.

-We booked with WestJet Vacations and they were excellent.

-When you get off the plane, you will collect your baggage, head through customs & then step out into the arrivals lobby of the airport. Do NOT make eye contact with the guys in the airport carrying placards with the name of your hotel or airline. These are timeshares salesmen and they will promise you ANYTHING to get you to one of their presentations. Follow your tour rep outside and on to the buses.

-What Hemingway is to Cuba, John Huston is to Puerto Vallarta. The guy slept and ate in every little hotel and bar from Los Arcos to Bucerias to Guadalajara.

4 comments:

  1. Your whole trip sounds wonderful. And tiring. I'm lazy like that. I could use some beach now...it's been 2 1/2 years. I NEED a little beach. Or a big beach, you know what I mean.

    When I was in Mexico, many years ago. I got all weird about the food/smell and ended up only eating McDonald's ice cream for a few days. It sounds like you guys had lots of good meals. Makes sense that a family vacay would find better meals that a large group of 20-year olds enjoying the loose drinking laws. :-)

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  2. I loved the phrase "don't be an ass you rich gringo". Every time someone (mainly my SIL) brags about their haggling I will think about this and smile.
    My very big, very tough brother went to a time share presentation and when he said no the guy got so angry (threw a chair angry) that my brother was frightened. He is NEVER scared. He would second your advice about avoiding eye contact at all costs.

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  3. The haggling. I know. I know. Is it really worthwhile to get that price down from $1 to $0.75 for some crappy ceramic sombrero? Sheesh people.

    Also, I forgot to comment on this on your previous post, but Mr Wrath is one sexy mustachioed bastard! Rrrrarrraarrr.

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  4. Why does a 20 year old need Gold Bond?

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