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Is Mexico Right for You? Take the Quiz!

Is Mexico Right for You?  Take the Quiz!

Everyone is different, so it is impossible to tell ahead of time how you will get along in Mexico.  But after years of observing and speaking with visitors and foreigners who live here, we have come to some conclusions.  Take our quiz and see how you do!

August 11, 2008

The cathedral, Guadalajara.

The cathedral, Guadalajara.

Here’s a fun test to see if Mexico and you will get along.  Whether on vacation or if you are considering moving here, take the quiz to get some insight into life in Mexico.  It’s a pretty brutal quiz—it is meant to encourage good travelers and weed out the folks who should stay home.  It’s not a travel agent’s brochure!  And remember—a resort at Los Cabos is very different from a mountain village in Chihuahua, so this quiz is just a general rule of thumb.

Answer the questions “yes” or “no.”  Keep track, and we will go over the answers at the end.  No cheating.

1.  Are you flexible?

2.  Do you check your watch often to see that things are running smoothly and on time?

3.  Are you a listener and observer, interested in learning about people different than you?

4.  Do you like showing people the right way to do things?

5.  Are you comfortable in unfamiliar situations?

6.  Could a cockroach or a spider ruin your day?

7.  Are you an adventurous eater?

8.  Do you think drugs are more available in Mexico and want to check it out?

9.  Would you like to volunteer your expertise to help people?

10.  Do you like to tell people about your money and investments?

11.  Are you humble?

12.  Are you running from trouble and hoping to chill out in Mexico?

Grading is easy.  For every yes you answered to the odd numbered questions, you get a point.  If you answered yes to an even numbered question, you loose a point.  If you get a 5 or above, we can’t wait to meet you!  A three will enjoy Mexico.  If you are a zero or below, you may want to rethink your travel plans.

1.  Flexibility.  Mexico is not Switzerland.  Few things runs like clockwork.  If the party starts at 4, no one will arrive until 6.  The restaurant you traveled to may not open today.  The directions you receive are maddingly imprecise.  On the positive side, you may run into something wonderful and unexpected on your way to the market, and decide to change your plans completely.  Thing is, if you are flexible and have the ability to change directions in a moment’s notice, you will be happier in Mexico.

2.  Time.  If you are a slave to the schedule, if you need to have everything run smoothly and on time, if a last minute change throws you off, you will be frustrated here.

3.  The best travelers are curious about the people and places they meet along the way.  It is hard to learn about how other people live and think if you are talking non-stop about your life back home.  Become a good listener.  Become observant.  Share.  The rewards will amaze you.

4.  How often we meet travelers who feel they need to educate the locals on how to serve dinner, tie back the curtains, and other essential details.  So what if the dessert comes along with the entree in some places?  We’ve actually met folks who are all bent out of shape and complain because things aren’t done like they are done at home.  Our advice?  If you hire help for your house, you have the right to ask them to do things your way.  If not, relax and enjoy the differences.  You will have good stories when you get back home.

5.  Whether traveling or living in Mexico, you will often find yourself in unfamiliar situations.  You aren’t in Kansas anymore.  From eating at a taco stand to attending a wedding or a funeral, you will need to learn the local customs.  No one will expect you, as an outsider, to know all the details.  Mexicans are always happy to help.  If being on unknown ground is uncomfortable to you, if you need to be in control of every situation, you will have trouble stepping outside your zone.

6.  Get over bugs (and arachnids and amphibians and fish fried with their heads on).  Unless you really have an uncontrollable phobia, it is a real shame if you miss out on Mexico because there may be a spider in the bathroom.  (We want to tell you to screw ‘em on, but we aren’t bossy or crude at 365Mexico).

7.  Even if you don’t try the real exotic stuff, your diet will be different in Mexico than it is at home.  Lots of foods are fried in lard (yum!), staples like peanut butter (or Nutella if you are reading this in Europe) are in short supply, and you will be offered foods you never knew existed.  If that sounds like an adventure to you, an opportunity to learn and experience and try something new, then come on down!  If you want your plate to look exactly like it does in Detroit, well, it ain’t gonna happen.  The up side is that food in Mexico is incredible and varied and you’ll love it.  And before you worry too much about the lard, look around at all the healthy and long-lived Mexicans eating the same things as you.

8.  Drugs.  Instant 0 on your quiz.  Don’t even go there.  People often ask “Marijuana is legal there, right?”  Are you crazy?  NONONONONO.  The fines for drug use are much stiffer in Mexico than in the states.  You will go to jail for years (Napoleonic Code—you are guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent).  Stay home.  You aren’t welcome here.

9.  Earn 5 extra points.  One of the nicest experiences all around is if you can go to a country, help the people there with your expertise, and learn in the process.  Lay on the beach a couple of days and shop till you drop—that’s fine, but give back as well.  The rewards are huge.  Presently we are looking in and around Guadalajara for children with facial deformities.  We match them up with folks who take them in vans to the local Operation Smile hospital, where doctors come and volunteer their work to operate on people who can’t even afford bus fare to the hospital.  (Much more on this program in an upcoming post).  There are always things you can do here, at retirement homes, orphanages, refuges for street kids, and schools.  One of the most interesting experiences of my life was when I worked as a volunteer ranger in the National Parks of Costa Rica.  Now that learning and volunteering vacations are growing in popularity, we look forward to matching up interesting people with volunteer jobs.

10.  Money.  Yuck.  It is wonderful if you have a big bank account.  Use it for good.  There certainly are enough needy people you could help.  But unless you are in an investment club with your friends, don’t tell us how many millions you made in the stock market yesterday and what colonial building you are going to buy and refurbish because everything is so inexpensive for you, especially after Paris, Tokyo and New York.  There is something called “Eating bread in front of the hungry.”  If you are blessed with funds, it is your responsibility to better the world with them.  If you disagree, good for you.  Just don’t crow.

11.  Be humble.  You get ten extra points.  Most of the positive attributes we find in a traveler center around humility.  Not that you need to be a mouse or a doormat—that’s not the idea.  The humility we are talking about is an awareness of the world around us and how we fit in.  We are all different, and all part of the bigger picture.  We all add to the cloth of life.  The earth, the sun, and Pluto don’t revolve around us.  We are each here for a short time, we each have special talents, and we should use them to make the world better.  To do that we need to understand and accept each other, to learn from our experiences.  Our wonderful friend Bill is a good example of this.  Quiet, unassuming, and a great listener, you would never know that through an interesting job he has traveled the world and has worked with just about every famous person you could name.  Bill doesn’t hide his light under a bushel, but he doesn’t make a big deal about his experiences.  Instead, he is always there for his family and friends, listening, touching lives and quietly making the world a better place.  These qualities make Bill a great traveler and a wonderful friend, and have given us a role model to help guide our actions at 365.

12.  Don’t laugh.  Years ago I lived 50 feet from Teatro Degollado, right in the center of Guadalajara.  There were beautiful parks just outside my door, and anytime I wanted to speak English all I had to do was take a book and sit on a bench.  There was always a foreigner passing by to talk with.  I finally had to stop, because I kept meeting guys on the lam.  If you have troubles at home, you are going to get into problems wherever you go.  Seek help, pay up, get back on track.  Don’t expect miracles and a new life south of the border, because it doesn’t work that way.

There you have it, random thoughts on Mexico.  Remember, this is meant to be just a rough indication to see if you are the kind of person who would like to travel and live here.  Everyone is different, and you need to make the final decision yourself.  Just don’t come expecting to change Mexico.  Believe me, Mexico will change you.  It’s great!

How’d you score?

Dan and Omar

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1 comment to Is Mexico Right for You? Take the Quiz!

  • Ásta

    This above is so true. We been in Guadalajara for some months and it´s been wonderful. So many thngs to see and do and try. People are helpful and nice.

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A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.