Travel

Some Downtime in Mexico

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 12th, 2018 3:47 pm
Tags:
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 10, 2015
1752 posts
547 upvotes
Monte Creek, BC

Some Downtime in Mexico

Over 20 years ago we starting coming to the Manzanillo area, first time was an AI of course but as nice as it was it just wasn't Mexico. We wanted to experience the people and the country.

So our next trip we flew to Manzanillo and then took a 4 1/2 hour bus ride to Guadalajara. That was an eye opener. First the bus ride, ETN buses. Wow, cheap efficient and luxurious. Then Guadalajara where we stayed in the Hotel Francis for a few days. Cool, very old hotel that I think was built around 1610. Guad has several million people, it's got lots of history, a huge market (Mercado Libertad) and a bustling economy. We then bussed back to the coast for a few days in Manzanillo and then a week in an AI. Btw, weve gone back to Guadalajara a couple of more times.

A few more one and two week vacations to Manzanillo and also Puerto Vallarta, sometimes AI and sometimes on our own. We've stayed a few times here at a cool little place Hotel La Posada.

This time we're in a condo for several weeks. Doesn't seem right to call it a vacation or a holiday, so I'll just call it downtime.
Here's a bit of info on what we've observed and experienced.

Manzanillo it's now a huge port city catering mostly to container ships. Due to Los Angeles being plugged solid, the overflow now comes here. They also handle oil tankers and bulk ore carriers. Consequently the city has grown, no apparent unemployment.

The People When people say Mexicans are friendly, it's very true. Walking down the street and acknowledging or saying hi to a local always gets a big smile in return. Every single time. But not always from the tourists! Mexicans are so laidback compared to us.
Surprisingly I saw very few people with tattoos, maybe two guys with a lot and a couple with maybe one. And no body piercing. Very little smoking and lots of places with No Fumar signs. I think i've counted less than six people smoking. A pleasant surprise after being turned off by the smoking in the Las Vegas casinos. Absolutely revolting!

Law Enforcement First thing that comes to many people's minds along with CARTEL. Colima got hit last year with a big increase in CARTEL killings so the government responded. Manzanillo was targeted due to the cartel trying to control the port, so now a large hotel not far from us has pretty well been taken over by the Policia Federal. They are constantly driving up and down the main streets and along with Policía Estatal and the municipal boys, no bad guy is likely to show his face. Oh, and there is also a naval base here, so always a few Marines cruising the streets in their trucks.
There are always a number of the Federals standing around their hotel entrance when we walk by, and I wish my Spanish was better as they are very friendly.

Transportation Along with the ETN bus line, the best for long distance travel, local buses are a breeze. 9 pesos will get you anywhere. Buses will stop pretty well anywhere, drivers give you change and many of the drivers have their own stereo blasting out the tunes. Can you imagine the outrage back home with a driver doing that?

I got run. My wife needs a cerveza in order to start cooking.
I'll add more later if anyone is interested..
Diversity is Our Burden
12 replies
Deal Fanatic
Feb 7, 2017
5615 posts
3193 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Following...

@poleman I await your return.
Always interested in reading first hand accounts of other people’s travels
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jul 29, 2005
7104 posts
1392 upvotes
Mississauga
We got back from Playa del Carmen late last week. On the day we arrived into Playa, there was a bomb explosion on the ferry to Cozumel. There was also alot of police with guns presence throughout, especially on Friday and Saturday night.

Also, lots of seaweed in the water and on the beach. People are extremely friendly here.
My food blog - Reggie The Food Critic.
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 10, 2015
1752 posts
547 upvotes
Monte Creek, BC
We have some sports fields across the street from us. Ball diamond, playground, large running track and a couple of soccer fields. Canada will never beat these Latin American countries at soccer. They play twelve months a year in the heat.
Well maybe if we invite them to a tournament in Edmonton in January....

Next to it is a secondary school. The school is set up like a motel with the "hallways" on the outside. The rooms are small and the classes appear to have about 15 kids each. And get this, the school's operate on two shifts. I believe the first shift is 7 am to 1 pm and the second shift is 2 pm to 8 pm. Not sure if the teacher works both shifts but it wouldn't surprise me if they did. Can you imagine our teachers doing two shifts a day?
And of course all the kids wear uniforms. They look classy.
If you walk by the elementary schools at lunch, 11 am, the mothers are all standing on one side of the fence giving the little kids their lunches, usually hot.
Diversity is Our Burden
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 10, 2015
1752 posts
547 upvotes
Monte Creek, BC
Yesterday we hired a car and driver and went to see a bit more of this area.
The first city we stopped at was Colima, the capital of the state of Colima. This city and its surrounding area are old. Very old.
We went inside the state government building and discovered it was built in 1523. Something is wrong in our country, we are lucky to keep a building for 75 years!
There is a huge, old church next to this building and while we were there the church bells started ringing. It went on for ever and was deafening, but the people in the offices just kept on working. My ears were ringing. And it does that every thirty minutes.

We found a small coffee shop nearby and the young woman serving us started talking in perfect English. Seems she was born and raised in Colima and now teaches French at a high- end private school, where they also teach English and German. She commented on my 0.1% knowledge of Spanish and my 5% knowledge of French by saying why do they teach you French and not Spanish?

A short drive from there were the ancient ruins of El Chanal. From what we could gather, they go back to about 1300 BC. Not all the ruins have been uncovered yet and many were lost when developments took place, a lot of people not realizing what the mounts of rocks were. But this particular site was considered quite holy and only open to the high priests where among other things, sacrifices of other humans were made which included removing the heart from the victim. Not sure if the person being sacrificed was a captured slave, a non-believer or a virgin. There was an inscription regarding sexual abstinence by the priests. Seems we've heard of that before.
I had no idea there ruins here on the west coast not unlike the Mayan ruins, only smaller.

From there we drove to Comala, a gorgeous little city pretty well all painted white. We were lucky at lunch to have some nearby tourists pay a mariachi band enough to play for about an hour.

We also made stops at a place along side a huge saltwater marsh where salt was being extracted through evaporation. My wife wanted to buy a one kg bag for 10 pesos to bring home! The fight was on but common sense prevailed. (she lost)
Also stopped at farms where various fruits were grown including the largest papayas I have ever seen, 50 to 80 % bigger than a football.

Btw, gas here in Mexico is about $1.00 Cdn/ lt.
Diversity is Our Burden
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 10, 2015
1752 posts
547 upvotes
Monte Creek, BC
Here's the lowdown on tattoos in Mexico.
You won't get a job if you have a visible tattoo. If you have a visible tattoo you are viewed as being affiliated with gangs. Many people have them but they are hidden.
As for body piercing, the guy I was talking to just rolled his eyes.
Diversity is Our Burden
Deal Addict
Nov 23, 2008
2629 posts
673 upvotes
poleman wrote:
Mar 6th, 2018 5:36 pm
The People When people say Mexicans are friendly, it's very true. Walking down the street and acknowledging or saying hi to a local always gets a big smile in return. Every single time. But not always from the tourists! Mexicans are so laidback compared to us.
Surprisingly I saw very few people with tattoos, maybe two guys with a lot and a couple with maybe one. And no body piercing. Very little smoking and lots of places with No Fumar signs. I think i've counted less than six people smoking. A pleasant surprise after being turned off by the smoking in the Las Vegas casinos. Absolutely revolting!
hey I just got back from mexico city days ago.
I've honestly never encountered people as friendly and helpful as mexicans, thru my north america, europe, and asia travels
I really couldn't believe it. Here were some examples:

* I flag down a taxi. The disembarking customer gets out, then I guess recognizes me as a foreigner, and automatically asks where I would like to go (in english) and makes sure it is communicated to the taxi driver.
* I go to the market and look at the spanish menu for a few minutes, slowly deciphering it in my head. Another customer eating at the bar automatically comes over to explain the whole menu to us for about 10min.
* we are on the street looking at my phone GPS, and an old couple passing by approaches thinking that we are lost, and helps out
* my wife goes to the paid WC, inserts a few coins, but is short (but didn't know it) and the gate refuses to open. Another woman sees this and comes over to insert another peso or two from her own pocket to allow the gate to open.

there must have been about 10 other times where strangers voluntarily came over to help us.
I'm still in awe just thinking about it........
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 10, 2015
1752 posts
547 upvotes
Monte Creek, BC
SomeOtherDude wrote:
Mar 11th, 2018 11:31 pm
hey I just got back from mexico city days ago.
I've honestly never encountered people as friendly and helpful as mexicans, thru my north america, europe, and asia travels
I really couldn't believe it. Here were some examples:

* I flag down a taxi. The disembarking customer gets out, then I guess recognizes me as a foreigner, and automatically asks where I would like to go (in english) and makes sure it is communicated to the taxi driver.
* I go to the market and look at the spanish menu for a few minutes, slowly deciphering it in my head. Another customer eating at the bar automatically comes over to explain the whole menu to us for about 10min.
* we are on the street looking at my phone GPS, and an old couple passing by approaches thinking that we are lost, and helps out
* my wife goes to the paid WC, inserts a few coins, but is short (but didn't know it) and the gate refuses to open. Another woman sees this and comes over to insert another peso or two from her own pocket to allow the gate to open.

there must have been about 10 other times where strangers voluntarily came over to help us.
I'm still in awe just thinking about it........
Yeah, pretty cool people.
We hopped on a bus yesterday and I know I gave the driver the correct change, but he starts going at me and showing some coins, indicating I didn't pay enough.
Then a guy from farther back comes up, asks in English if I gave the driver the correct amount then starts giving the driver hell, as did a couple of other passengers. The driver shut up and off we went.

Another time I saw the stop where I wanted off, but the bus was so crowded I couldn't get through the crowd. Passengers started yelling at the driver and he quickly pulled over and I hopped off.
Very helpful people.

But they sure like their weekends and their music.
More on that later.
Diversity is Our Burden
Deal Fanatic
Feb 1, 2006
9426 posts
537 upvotes
SomeOtherDude wrote:
Mar 11th, 2018 11:31 pm
hey I just got back from mexico city days ago.
I've honestly never encountered people as friendly and helpful as mexicans, thru my north america, europe, and asia travels
I really couldn't believe it. Here were some examples:

* I flag down a taxi. The disembarking customer gets out, then I guess recognizes me as a foreigner, and automatically asks where I would like to go (in english) and makes sure it is communicated to the taxi driver.
* I go to the market and look at the spanish menu for a few minutes, slowly deciphering it in my head. Another customer eating at the bar automatically comes over to explain the whole menu to us for about 10min.
* we are on the street looking at my phone GPS, and an old couple passing by approaches thinking that we are lost, and helps out
* my wife goes to the paid WC, inserts a few coins, but is short (but didn't know it) and the gate refuses to open. Another woman sees this and comes over to insert another peso or two from her own pocket to allow the gate to open.

there must have been about 10 other times where strangers voluntarily came over to help us.
I'm still in awe just thinking about it........
We just spent a couple months living in Mexico, and your experiences mirror ours. I had read too much warnings about scams, and was immediately suspicious of people trying to help us, but in every case, they were legit and sincere. I am about 50% fluent in Spanish, and everyone would try so hard to help me learn. I spent every taxi ride getting tips on proper uses and grammar. In a nice way, not condescending.
Deal Addict
Nov 23, 2008
2629 posts
673 upvotes
Bullseye wrote:
Mar 12th, 2018 9:29 am
We just spent a couple months living in Mexico.....
wow.... I don't know how you did it. I got sort of sick of tacos and taco-related foods after 2 weeks.... lol
they don't have a ton of diversity there so there weren't a huge amount of choices for other foods.

It was awesome at first eating everything new, then I had one bad late night taco from a stall that put me out for a full day..... and my stomach was a little weak till the end of the trip
Deal Fanatic
Feb 1, 2006
9426 posts
537 upvotes
SomeOtherDude wrote:
Mar 12th, 2018 10:42 am
wow.... I don't know how you did it. I got sort of sick of tacos and taco-related foods after 2 weeks.... lol
they don't have a ton of diversity there so there weren't a huge amount of choices for other foods.

It was awesome at first eating everything new, then I had one bad late night taco from a stall that put me out for a full day..... and my stomach was a little weak till the end of the trip
We were mainly in Playa Del Carmen, so any food choice you can imagine is there. Very international city. Never got sick either! All four of us in my family were good.
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 10, 2015
1752 posts
547 upvotes
Monte Creek, BC
So far taxi experiences have all been positive. Taxi fares vary somewhat as they don't use meters. Before the taxi takes off, you agree on the fare.
Going from a main grocery store to our condo, fares range from 35 to 40 pesos. Twice now the taxi driver has helped carry in the groceries.
And grocery shopping is an adventure. Often times it's hit or miss as what you end up buying. But that's all part of the adventure. Prices in general are cheaper than back home. Can you believe Washington State apples are cheaper here than what we pay?
Alcohol has gone up a lot in the past few years, except for beer. Some good tequilas are the same as home. The best and cheapest wines are from Chile, sometimes Argentina.
Six packs of good Mexican beer range from 70 to 80 pesos and Wal-Mart isn't any cheaper than the corner stores. Modelo does have some of their own outlets, a bit cheaper.

Tomorrow we're off to Barra de Navidad for the day. Taking The ETN bus, the best bus line in Mexico, and the one way fare for a 1 1/2 hour ride is 90 pesos. Less than $6.50 Can. It makes Greyhound look like a chicken bus line.
Diversity is Our Burden

Top