Our first full day in Guatemala has seen us have street food for breakfast, plan our next adventures whilst drinking super strength coffee, do our laundry (Boring!), have lunch at a market and apply to do some Spanish lessons. Breakfast was superb, the coffee got us wired, the laundry bit was just dropping it off and picking it up again (yeee ha), and the market saw Dom win at haggling. The Spanish lessons are a necessity.So that in a nutshell was our first day here. What I’d really like to talk about in this post though, are the highs and lows of Mexico, and as I’ve never done a list blog before, I’m going to do it in a kind of list style. So here you go, in no particular order.
The bestest bits
1. The people
Everyone we have met with the exception of a few bus drivers (and I would be a miserable bastard too if I had to drive round the hotel zone in Cancun, all day, every day) have been very friendly, very welcoming and very helpful. Nearly everyone returns our cheerful greeting of “Hola” and most people have a lot of time to stop and chat. Everyone tries to help with directions, and all have been extremely tolerant of our poor use of their language.
2. The street food
The high fat content will knock years off my life and the stalls won’t win any hygiene prizes, but you forget all about that when you taste the food. It’s amazing, it’s dirt cheap and it’s mostly pork. What’s not to love about it?
3. The diversity of the environment
In the few weeks we have been here, we have been to the jungle, the coast, the mountains and have driven through barren lands with fascinating landscapes. The sun has shone, the rain has poured and we’ve felt both high and low temperatures. We’ve seen Crocodiles, Iguanas, Vultures, Flamingos, Kingfishers, Eagles (I think), other different birds, Raccoons, Fish, and have heard Monkeys howling in the jungle.
4. Public transport
Even though we had a bad experience in Cancun, and there is a very good chance of dying from either boredom or reckless driving, the public transport here is pretty good. It’s great value for money, some of the buses have toilets and show films, and blind corners are not viewed as hazards; they are viewed as great opportunities for overtaking. Most of the buses stop and let people on to sell food and drinks too, which is pretty good when you’re dying of thirst on an eight hour journey.
5. The attitude
Nearly everyone here is piss poor, but most of them are always smiling. They’ve never had anything and probably realise they never will, so they just get on with life and make the most of it. I love that. They are living in the now; not the past or the future.
The bad bits
1. Coca Cola
Mexico, brought to you by Coca Cola. The logo for the hazardous substance sold as a soft drink is everywhere. Whole buildings are painted red with the iconic words Coca Cola scrawled over it. Restaurants in the middle of nowhere are furnished with the corporate giants tables and chairs. It wouldn’t be so bad but you know they’ve taken advantage of the owners and paid them peanuts to have their brand advertised all over the country. Even though I love an ice cold glass bottle of the stuff occasionally, I hate everything it stands for, and it’ll rot your teeth and insides.
2. The toilets
Most of them don’t have seats and I still can’t get my head round throwing the paper that you use to wipe your arse, in the bin. Some of the bins don’t have lids and some people don’t have the decency to fold the paper so you can almost tell what they’ve had for breakfast. It’s soooooo gross.
Just like Coca Cola, plastic is everywhere here. The Mexicans must’ve influenced Yazz when she was thinking of a name for her backing band. If you buy a drink other than a can, then it’s either in a plastic bottle, or a plastic bag and you drink it through a plastic straw. They put some street foods in plastic bags, and your plastic cutlery comes in a plastic bag. Sometimes you’re plastic plate comes covered in plastic to cut down on washing up and when you’re done, your plastic waste goes in a plastic rubbish bag.
4. The Gringo tax
We have over paid on lots of things during our time in Mexico. Sometimes we have paid double to what the locals have to pay. I know they are just trying to make a living, but it’s a bit shit that they we have to pay over the odds because of the colour of our skin. I’m poor too you know.
5. The language
Ok so this is my fault and not Mexico’s, but not being able to communicate is a pain in the arse. Even when I think I’ve said something correctly, the person I’m speaking to looks at me with the same blank expression that I look at them with when I don’t understand. If you mispronounce something slightly, no one know what you mean. Back home if someone says “I want a loaf of bled”, you’ll figure out they mean bread. Get it a bit wrong here and you may as well be speaking Russian. Also, I gear myself up to ask a question, ask it and then I get a reply that I totally wasn’t ready for and that’s the conversation over. Nightmare!
Overall though, Mexico was ace. She’s a beast is Mexico, and I recommend her to everyone.