Mexico is the land of beautiful beaches, delicious food, generous people and perfect weather. It is so full of amazing places I found it hard to choose when deciding on “The 7 Things I Love About Mexico.” But who cares about those! Let’s talk about all the reasons you should think twice before taking a trip across the border.
The 7 Things I Hate About Mexico:
Mosquitos, flies, no-see-ums, roaches, scorpions, and ants! And those are just the ones you can see. Yes, even the no-see-ums! Nothing bugs me more than bugs! I look like a psychopath running around our RV with my dust buster in hand, hunting down every last one of them! And Noah has been bitten by so many of these pests, you could connect the dots across his body and he’d resemble a Van Gogh painting. If you don’t like the feeling of insects knawing away at your flesh morning, noon and night, maybe think twice about a trip here, or anywhere tropical for that matter.
It’s hot in Mexico! Unless you visit the inland cities around Mexico City, and specifically the Butterfly Sanctuary where you may even need your Patagonia ensemble, you had better like the heat. And I thought I did. Or at least I used to. And maybe I still would…that is if we were traveling from hotel to hotel and pool to pool. But no, we are traveling in a 27’ sauna with limited airflow. Things get a little unbearable when you find yourself camped out with no breeze, no power source and an AC unit that will only run off 30 amps. Quito starts panting, Noah starts scratching, and our moods become as hot as the unmarked bags of salsa at the Super Mercado. We’ve resorted to searching out campsites based upon their ability to provide us with AC first and beach second. First a blow-up bed, now this! I guess we’re not 21 anymore!
The food is oh so delicious in Mexico. I could survive solely on fish tacos alone. But we’re not referring to the restaurants and road-side taco stands. We’re talking about buying your own food to cook on the road. Once you load up prior to crossing the border, you’d better be prepared to go without. There are limited amounts of grocery stores or at least the kinds we have learned to rely on, especially in many of the small towns we find ourselves traveling through. We don’t often come across Municipal Markets like the one we found in Mazatlan, where you can get everything you’ve ever dreamt of, including an entire pig’s head. And who doesn’t need one of those?
There are plenty of “Super” Mercados in almost every town and even more “Mini-Supers,” which sounds promising, right? Well, “super” must have a different meaning in Mexico. How do you say “false advertising” in Spanish?
These ‘not-so-super’ markets have little in the way of fresh vegetables, meats, and pretty much anything else, but occasionally you can find a few necessities like individually sold (raw) hot dogs, and eggs which you’ll carry home in a plastic bag if you forget to bring your own carton.
We could eat like kings all throughout Mexico if only our budget allowed. Between those small restaurants and road-side taco stands mentioned above, we could taste all the flavors Mexican cuisine has to offer, and on the cheap! But unfortunately, we need to save our money to pay for the Mexican toll roads, which leads me to the next item on the list.
We have a love/hate relationship with toll roads! Toll roads are plentiful throughout the country of Mexico and a real savior when it comes to keeping your RV in one piece, not to mention your sanity. But they are not cheap! And depending on what type of vehicle you are driving, you can pay as little as $1 or as much as $20 per booth. We once went through 9 booths in 5 hours and blew over half our daily budget on toll fees alone. That said, we still opt to take them as they have got to be much cheaper than marriage counseling.
You can certainly steer clear of the toll roads by taking the “libre” or free route, which will lead you through many of the small pueblos. Some will say this is the best way to travel to experience these authentic little towns. But we have found we spend more time with our eyes glued to the road than on the sights around us. These towns are famous for a lot of hidden topes (speedbumps), and the second you take your eyes off the road and hit one, you’ll be saying goodbye to everything not nailed, glued or strapped down. Maybe next time we’ll drive Mexico in a 4WD, but while in La Tortuga, our 27’ land yacht, we’ll stick to the toll roads, even though it means Noah will have to fund his own college education.
I’m not sure what reason one could have for dumping trash and beer bottles along the roadside and all over the beaches, but it seems to be a national sport of some kind. Although many of the smaller towns are developing a “Keep Our Beaches and Towns Clean” initiative, the majority have not yet gotten the memo. Besides obvious items such as plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups, bowls, trays, and the millions of other things made from this disgusting material, you’ll also see discarded toilets, mattresses, hundreds of tires, and an excessive amount of women’s bras. I don’t know what these poor women are doing without the support of a good underwire!
Speaking of trash, it’s quite acceptable to burn it wherever you please here. In Colorado, when you see smoke and it’s not coming from someone’s chimney, you call the fire department. In Mexico, it’s normal to see mounds of trash set aflame in fields, front yards and alongside the road. I completely understand that trash collection here is not what it is in the states, but I’ll save my marshmallows for another time, thank you!
Roosters and Stray Dogs
Alight, so this is probably not specific to Mexico. After all, I’ve had plenty a sleepless night at my own mother’s house due to the sweet sounds of roosters crowing. But Mexico may have the largest population of these early-morning alarm clocks. And they don’t just hang out around camp. They roam free throughout the streets, restaurants, and beaches, and you’ll often find a rooster hanging out in the isles at the super mercado. I guess we all have our shopping to do. Or maybe they’re just delivering eggs!
And the last of The 7 Things I Hate About Mexico…
Spotty Internet or No Internet at All
Yes, I know what you’re saying and it’s nothing I haven’t already told myself, in between crying fits! Why do I even care when I should be disconnecting and enjoying what we came here to see? Well, first off, this is not a week-long vacation we are taking. We’re living throughout Mexico for the year. And second, there is business one must tend to online, like paying bills, updating family and friends on the state of our mortality, and catching the latest Wide Spread Panic music stream…ok that’s just Gregg!
There are the occasional RV parks with rocket-fast WIFI, but they are few and far between and you’d better be prepared to pay out some serious pesos per night. When we come across one, we sometimes find it difficult to leave as we are able to update the blog, download new e-books and catch up on all the fake news across social media. The rest of the time we’re either going without WIFI completely or watching the spinning wheel of death trying to load a page or upload a picture, silently screaming obscenities inside our heads…sometimes not so silently!
So, there you have it! Those are “The 7 Things I Hate About Mexico and maybe some reasons you should consider before booking a trip here, at least if you plan to buy, renovate and drive an RV throughout the country.
With all those negatives, it’s probably not even worth talking about The 7 Things I Love About Mexico. Actually, that list is much longer. For instance, you wouldn’t want to know how welcoming the local people are; how they will invite you into their homes and share a meal with you; how they’ll stop on the side of the road to help you change a flat tire, even though you’re just another gringo invading their country.
I should also not mention how beautiful and untouched so many of the beaches are; how you can just happen upon a turtle nest with tracks leading to the sea; how, during morning coffee, you can catch sight of whales breaching offshore; or how you can go out for a morning paddle, only to have your peace and quiet disrupted by a school of dolphin traveling by. Those are just a few of the experiences we’ve had in our short, miserable time here.
You definitely don’t want to know about how simple and real life is here, and how people still find the beauty in talking to one another instead of into their phones; where kids still play in the streets until after dark each night, only to be called in by their grandmother who lives with them.
You’d certainly never want to visit during a Mexican holiday, where all of the locals come out, dressed in colorful garments, singing, dancing and making beautiful music; where delicious home-cooked food is gathered into the square to share with one another…including the pesky tourists lurking about.
Yes, this is Mexico!
lf the above makes you feel uncomfortable (or itchy), I’d think twice about crossing the border. Those untouched beaches won’t mind if you do. For us, those 7 annoying things above are all a part of the charm and culture we are excited to learn more about. Well, except for the bugs! I’m always going to hate the bugs!