A friend of mine from the México Today bloggers group I was a part of a decade ago made me think when I read his Facebook post below. (thanks, David!)
” The internet/social media has taken Discovery out of travel. #dumbquestions “
This is a bit of a hot button issue for me, as the questions asked on forums and Facebook location pages show a remarkable lack of adventure from those traveling or living away from their home country. Do you really want someone else’s preferences to drive your experience?
Most of my most memorable excursions are those that happened organically, .
Here are some things I have read on social media:
Where is the best laundry/doctor/hairdresser/barber/?
This is where my inner smart aleck wants to say “step out your door and walk through your neighborhood checking out all the shops as you go. When you pass by a woman sweeping the sidewalk stop and ask her if she knows where a lavanderia is. You might even make a friend and preparing yourself ahead of time with a bit of research into the Spanish words you might need will help your language skills, too!”
Where can I buy some US/Canadian style food item?
I realize it can be frustrating when you move somewhere and don’t have your familiar food items but isn’t exploring and trying new things part of the reason you came here? I love to buy weird fruits and vegetables to try anytime I can. I like to buy groceries in the little tiendas. Even the tiniest usually have an amazing inventory. Explore! You might have a fun adventure, actually I know you will. And here at Lake Chapala you most certainly know where the gringo food stores are for the times you absolutely must have Rice A Roni or canned pumpkin.
Who has the best hamburger?
This is the kind of question that is very subjective. Please just go out and try a variety of restaurants, there’s no need to have your hand held to get a hamburger!
What are all the bombs about?
This question happens over and over when there are celebrations here that include cohetes. Those are rockets that are enthusiastically a part of every event in Mexico. When you hear them, I recommend walking over to the church in your barrio to see what’s going on and I am pretty sure it will be a group of happy folks setting them off. Cohetes are also a part of most parties too so buy your dog a thunder shirt or try to convince him they are fun.
What is going on for the Day of the Dead or other holiday?
I don’t understand why people don’t pick up a newspaper or “like” the municipal government Facebook pages. Try to read it and if you get stumped, put the text in Google translate. Or our favorite is to just go over to the main plaza once it gets towards dusk. You’ll figure it out and get swept up in the fun.
I’m moving there in April. Should I bring my pots and pans, favorite chair and my antique loom? What cell phone company is good? How is the internet? What are the gym fees? Should I bring my car?
These are the ones that make me tear my hair out. I mean, really?
These comments are mostly seen in the Facebook pages for people who live in México but the same goes for people visiting as tourists. If there is one piece of advice I could give it would be to just get out and explore!
My favorite places to go when exploring a new town here in México are of course the main square – both day and night – and the mercados (for sure). Have your shoes shined in the square and buy a guanabana at the mercado to eat in your hotel room later on. Look for signs in the afternoon like people starting to set up tables and you might have just stumbled on an evening artesanias market. Who knows, musicians might set up later and there might even be dancing. Keep your eyes open and have the mindset of adventure and I know you’ll have one.
My adventures have led to some really good Spanish lessons for me, too! I will never forget the difference between mono and moño after my visit to a papeleria one day long ago!
The picture at the top is our little plaza during the Fiestas Patrias