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Mexico is an amazing place, full of history and culture. Everywhere you turn there is something else. Like most tourist destination, they seem to have their own time “Mexico Time” referring to the pace that the local people want to move, not pace the rest of the world seems to want to move at. Which is nice, and it forces you to slow down and appreciate that time is relative. If you don’t stop for a second time could move so fast you have none left. With all this in mind, and the fact I hate not being on time lets see what I learnt in Mexico:

  • Mexican people are warm and friendly, they will welcome you into their homes given a chance
  • Much like Australians, they seem to be hard at work or hardly working. Most of the time it is hard to tell
  • As far as public safety or Work Health and Safety goes I think it is every man for himself. Some really avoidable situations on the streets, like open holes and exposed wires, but I guess they get around to it and it’s probably only stupid tourist like me that seem to fall into the hole
  • The Mexican people will serve with a smile on the face and a story to tell if you let them. Negotiate prices before hand to ensure no mucking around after the experience
  • Currency exchange or “cambio” is a fluid concept, sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. To get the best rate head to a bank, otherwise take your chances but keep your wits about you and a current knowledge of the rates is handy too. No one likes being ripped off
  • Buses are for everyone, and they go everywhere, so many. Ask before hand haw far you will get, because it may take a few to get where you need to be. The National bus carrier ADO will go long distance between towns at a very reasonable price.
  • Mexican airports are the very definition of a clusterfuck, so disorganized and chaotic from the outside. I still don’t know how a flight can leave 45 minutes late but arrive on time. Maybe it is built in because just about every flight was late and stuffed about but always seemed to be on time. Don’t believe the gate on the boarding pass either, check at the gate. Not always the same
  • If you have the opportunity go into the lounge at the airport, In Mexico City it cost $35 for a day pass. Comfortable seats, all you can drink and snacks and light meals galore. Well worth it, especially if there is a long layover. Also, you can have a cheeky nap and no one will steal all you stuff
  • Even a little bit of Spanish is enough to get you started. I had a few bizarre conversations where Spanglish was the main language
  • Weather in Mexico is humid, even in their winter, I left Sydney to escape the humidity but to no avail
  • Everything major ends in “MEX” e.g.
    • Pemex = petrol station
    • Cemex = cement company
    • Telmex = telecommunications
    • Banamex = Bank
    • Cinemex = cinema
    • Comex = Paint
  • San Jose Del Cabo (number 37 on the New Times 52 places to visit in 2015) is an excellent place to relax and while away time. Remember all Mexican beaches are government owned and can be used, but resorts can limit your access through their property
    • The rip at San Jose can drag you out and quickly, there are no life guards on duty
    • San Jose Del Cabo was ravaged by a hurricane but is making a come back, amazing to see new building intermingled with hurricane mangled debris
    • There are very few cheap options for accommodation in San Jose Del Cabo but everything else seems to be reasonably priced
    • Lots of time share and holiday packages for sale there, not sure how many of them are a scam, but you will be offered them endlessly if you let them
    • Great surf if that’s what you’re into, I didn’t but apparently there is a great surf there
    • Down the road (short bus trip away) is Cabo San Lucas. Another popular destination
  • Mexico City like most huge megalopolises seemed a bit smoggy to me, I was told it was just the day I was there but I’m not so sure
    • The metro is amazing, will take you any where for 3 pesos, no return trip, just 3 more pesos to go somewhere else
    • So many people, they just seemed to be everywhere, again like most major cities. All were fairly friendly or at least didn’t bother me
    • I seemed like a giant in Mexico City. I would say on average I was about a foot taller then everyone else
    • Chualcapec is the historic and cultural Centre of Mexico City and to a large extent Mexico itself, well worth a look at all the attractions. I didn’t really understand what going on as it is all in Spanish but you can get the idea
    • Street food in Mexico City is plentiful, I took the chance but I could see it ending badly for a person with a less than cast iron stomach like I have
  • Campeche (number 27 on the New Times 52 places to visit in 2015) is trying really hard to be a tourist Centre. They have it all, multiple options for accommodation, lots to see and do, friendly people, attractions both in the city and external. It just seems like it is less frequented than it should be. So far it is my favourite place in Mexico
    • All the building in the Historic Centre are painted a different colour, makes the places just pop. It’s great to walk through a place that feels like it is vibrant
    • There is so much Mayan culture around Campeche it is not funny, if you are into ruins there is an endless supply of new places being found. Apparently the biggest Edzna was a capital of the Mayan people, and it needed a lot of support
    • It seemed like the Mayans loved Z and X, all their place names have them in it
    • No beaches to speak of, right on the gulf of Mexico but no beaches
  • Cancun was a stop of necessity for, not a desired destination. It is very plastic, apparently only built for tourist, prior there was nothing. Unless you are going wild or need to spend heaps of money on beach side accommodation avoid the place like the plague. Outside of the hotel zone it is dirty and unwelcoming. The bars in the Hotel zone are fun though. Cancun Airport has to be the most disorganized of all the Mexican Airports, it is huge and packed with people, I still don’t know how I made it out
  • All in all Mexico is a place of contrasts, certainly from the super touristy to the lesser-explored places. Certainly worth a visit, and cheap enough to be done on any budget. Next time I want to make to a Mexican Soccer game, I think it would be a spectacle not to be rivaled
  • Word to the wise, there is a US$26 airport tax to leave Mexico, I didn’t come across this in any guide or on any website, stung me a bit I must say
  • I can see why San Jose Del Cabo and Campeche made it to the list, next time you are in Mexico get there
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