Updated: Jan 18, 2020
Before I came to Mexico, I had a lot of ideas of what it might be like.
I was read numerous articles and blog posts and watched videos, to try and understand what I could expect; and because of this, I created a picture of what I would likely be faced with everyday.
Here's a list of 12 assumptions I had before I came here, and how true or untrue each one was for me:
I can't drink anything with water in it unless it's bottled because the water is unsafe to drink. And even then, be careful- they may have filled a bottle with tap water!
This was the biggest thing I heard about Mexico. “Don’t drink the water!!” “Omg you’ll get so sick. Just avoid water.” This has been true and untrue; the first few days, I avoided anything with water in it. Lemonades, iced teas, glasses of water, ice cubes, etc. I would shower and be very careful to not get any water in my mouth and if I did, I would spit it out immediately and nervously keep a watch how my body would react for the next 4-5 hours. (The typical amount of time before you know if something caused you to become sick.) The truth about the water is that the tap water may be scary and actually cause you to be sick, but I use it to brush my teeth and I’ve been fine. I’ve never actually ingested more than traces of it via brushing, but I’m not really looking to try a glass of it. I’ve had lemonades nearly everyday I’ve been here (because they’re amazing) and haven’t gotten sick. I've had bottled water nearly everywhere I go and always check the seal, but I’m pretty sure that most places use bottled water for nearly everything so I haven’t really worried about that. But the first couple days? Geez; I was sweating bullets from worry that I would get sick every-time I ate or drank something! 😅
I won’t be able to eat the fruit unless I soak it in a solution of antibacterial stuff for 20 minutes.
This has been untrue for me. There’s a tiny fruit shop that Nathan and I got to down the street and I’ve eaten fruit from there and have been fine. Although, I always rinse it with tap water, wash it with soap, then rinse again bottled water. Excessive? Probably. I’ve actually eaten the grapes without rinsing them and have been fine. To be honest, they don’t put nearly as many pesticides and other things on their fruit here, so it probably is a little better for us anyhow. I’ve avoided street vendor fruit so far, but I will eventually get the courage to try it. Although, some of the fruit in the fruit shop we go to, has been from the United States like the apples, which are from Washington state.
People would attack me and take my purse if I had one visible, so you have to wear a fanny pack to deter them or something you can hide under your clothes.
I don’t actually think this is a bad idea; there's nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution and it's not a bad idea to be a little overly cautious when in a new place. But after the first three times of being out, I stopped wearing my waist wallet. Not only was it super awkward to be reaching into my pants every-time I needed money, but it was pretty obvious that I had one and you really can’t carry a lot in them without it looking like your 4 months pregnant or like you’ve eaten 4 burritos. I now carry a small cross-body cell phone purse around with me. I always have my hand on it and I make sure to keep it in front of my body while I’m out. I can carry more things in it like ibuprofen, hand wipes, money, headphones and my back-up charger and passport without having to fish into my pants whenever I need something. Maybe you’re wondering why I keep describing it as ‘fishing in my pants’? Okay; so, I don’t know if this is the way you’re supposed to wear waist wallets, but I was wearing inside the top part of my jeans so that it was more un-noticed and hidden. Due to my tighter-fitting clothing, you would have been able to easily tell if I was wearing something like that around my actual waist.
I won’t be able to wear spaghetti strap tank tops.
This is partially true. The first full day I was here, I went out in a standard tank top and people kept looking at me. Was that because I’m the color of a lamp-shade or because I was wearing a tank top? I’m not sure. But after that, I would try and wear a light sweater over my tank tops and boy was I sweating. Now, I just wear the spaghetti strap tank tops. I’ve seen other women wearing them as well as shorts, but I haven’t traveled into the shorts realm yet and have only worn long leggings and my long jeans rolled up to capris so far, and I always put on a sweater or something to cover my shoulders when I go into a church or cathedral just to not offend accidentally.
I won’t be able to walk around town by myself.
I had heard from so many people that it would be really unsafe for me to walk around alone.
I partially agree. The first day I was here, Nathan went to work and I realized I needed to get money, so I needed to go out by myself. I was terrified! But it actually wasn’t bad! I was more concerned than I think I needed to be. I went to the ATM and then came back to the hotel and didn’t go further. But every day after that, I just ventured a little further. I never let myself go more than 2 or 3 blocks further than the day before, simply so I could learn where I felt comfortable and where everything was. With all this said, I do want to mention that I rarely go out alone without my pepper spray with me and I always have it somewhere I can easily grab it and use it if need be. This has personally helped me feel safer physically, along with knowing the basics on how to get away from somebody. On the spiritual side of things, the first day I called in Archangel Michael an he was with me along with my guide Nekato who is always with me.
Archangel Michael followed me around the streets of Mexico for the first week I was here. But he either stands across the street from me now, or isn’t around. And I know I can call on him whenever I need help, but I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable alone here.
But if he does show up, I know to be a little more aware of what’s going on around me- just in case. 😉
I would be cat-called every-time I was out. No matter what I wore.
This is different for everyone, so please don’t take this as the normal situation for every-one, but I’ve only been cat-called twice so far. Once while alone, and once while with the group of us. It may happen more, but it actually happened the first time, on the 6th day I was here; which was way later than I thought it would. When it happened, although my face got hot and I felt exposed, I simply ignored it and kept walking. For those wondering what I was wearing, (because I know there will at least be one. 🙄) I was wearing my jeans rolled up to capris and I spaghetti strap tank top like I had worn for the previous 4 days.
I would be hearing Latin music everywhere and I would crave the music I’m used to.
I actually found this really funny because every day I’ve been here, they’re playing Coldplay during breakfast, American pop music at dinner and I’m hearing that kind of music in nearly every store I walk into as well. I have come across places that we’ve gone to for dinner where they’ve played modern Latin music, but it’s been pretty rare. When we were at the restaurant that was playing the latin music, they were playing the music videos for each song and I noticed a pattern; 90% of the music videos had the singer at a microphone in a studio setting, singing passionately into the microphone and then pulling away and either clutching their heart dramatically like they were having a heart-attack if it was emotionally charged or smiling and hopping around if it was happy. And it would always pan back to the studio producers watching the singer and nodding their heads if it was a sad song or smiling and laughing if it was happy. I’m not exactly sure why this is a thing, but if you don’t believe me, just watch some modern Latin music videos.
Everything is dirty in Mexico and places/restaurants/hotels aren’t clean.
I feel like a dick for having assumed this. 🙁 I think it was partially due to so many places online saying to bring hand sanitizer and me really not knowing what to assume and having only seen google earth images of the town and assuming how it would be or having clips of people covered in dust and dirt show up while talking about Mexico on the news. But this is untrue for the majority of places I’ve been so far. Every-time I’ve been into the city, people are scrubbing the sidewalks with brooms and soap outside of their shops, waiters/waitresses are constantly taking your dirty plates, napkins or drink glasses from the table within seconds of you putting it down, etc. and they’re always giving you a new cup. I have only ever seen them refill coffee mugs a handful of times. I brought little individually wrapped hand wipes with me and have been using those for when my glass is sticky or I touch fruit and it’s sticky, but this isn’t anything different from how I act in America. I just really don’t like my hands feeling dirty. 😂 All this to say, it’s not as dirty as you might assume. I am, however, surprised at the number of people (including wait staff) who don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. 😬
I would only have Hispanic food available to me.
Not true. I’m not exactly sure why I assumed that other countries are completely void of places where there’s a variety of foods available to you, but I did. I’ve eaten burgers, chicken nuggets, tacos, burritos, crepes, brownies, etc. here, so if you’re nervous about the food that would be available to you, don’t be. 😊 And while we’re on the subject of food, OMG THE LEMONADES. I’ve had lemonades with fresh strawberry, passionfruit, pineapple or raspberries and blueberries in them and they’ve all been amazing. P.s. The street vendor churros put any churro I’ve ever had in my life to shame and even when not super fresh, have been amazing.
I won’t be able to find pads, panty liners, period supplies, etc. easily there, so I need to bring every-thing I might need for as long as I’m there.
This stressed me out. And again, I'm not exactly sure why I assumed this, but I had read on some blogs that this would be the case traveling here, and not only did this cause me to pack a quarter of my suitcase (or it felt like it), only to met with complete access to whatever I would need here, but it caused unnecessary stress. Now, this might be different if you’re going to a more rural area, but in the town of 58,000 people, this wasn’t a problem like I assumed it would be.
I would easily understand how much to pay someone.
HAHA. This has been an issue. 😅
While learning common phrases in Spanish, I should have also learned common number sequences. This isn’t too much of a problem if you’re buying from a pharmacy, most stores or restaurants, when you can see a total. but if you’re buying from someone that doesn’t, you’re just pulling money out of your bag and waiting for the merchant to either nod ‘yes’, or say something else and wait, which indicates it’s not enough. If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, at least know some basic number sequences and you can thank me later! XD
The hotel might not be super clean or have nice facilities.
I actually thought this. Granted, I think it may be because I had worked at a hotel in America about 7 months before leaving, that wasn’t top-notch. As an example, the maids at the hotel I worked at, might show up for work every-day; and if they did, they would either do a mediocre job or do a good job on 5 rooms. This all was due to minimum payment, the tools available to them as well as there not being nearly enough of them because of the minimum wage. Our hotel also didn’t have coffee available for the guests for 6 months. 6 months. I’m not making this up. It wasn’t because my manager didn’t order it, it was because the owners didn’t want to pay for it. You were lucky to have the maids come to your room, so when they did, it was a relief. Anyhow, none of that is a problem here. The maids are all really nice and will say “Buenos Diaz” to you every morning. Every morning after Nathan leaves for work, I get my laptop and head downstairs to a small sitting area, where I write these lovely blog posts for you all. 😊
I watch as the maids first, mop all the floors in the hotel, dust all the furniture, and then get their supplies to start cleaning the rooms. They change the sheets on your bed every-day unless you put a sign on the bed that says not to, and even then, they’ll make your bed. They clean the bathroom, leave new toiletries and will always take any opened bars of soap away. They’ll typically sweep the floors in your room too if not mop them. They even do your laundry for you. After the first week, I was out of clean clothes and followed Nathan’s instructions on how to get the laundry done, which was to simply fill a clear bag with our dirty clothes, leave it on the bed and then wait. Yeah! Later that day or the next morning, they’ll bring your clothes back, clean and folded. It’s like magic!
Mexico is not as I had assumed. And although I feel guilty for having assumed some of these things, I also wasn't given a really fair view of Mexico through the news and blogs. Do I recommend you visit? Absolutely! Come with an open mind, empty stomach and an adventurous heart!
Do you have any assumptions you'd like to share? If so, leave them in the comments below and I'll try and respond with what my experience has been or what I've seen! Or, if you have any of your own assumptions that were proven right or wrong, leave them in the comments as well!
(As a disclaimer, I've only traveled in the Jalisco region of Mexico and cannot speak for other areas. Everyone's experiences differ; what I experience, may not be what you do. Always be prepared, safe and vigilant and travel in areas at your own discretion. Safe travels!)