Living in Mexico we are lucky that we have access to satellite TV and have become slightly obsessed with the Homes and Garden network channel – HGTV. On Wednesday evenings there are a series of programmes; Hawaii Life, Caribbean Life, Island Life and House Hunters International. The premise with all the shows is that couples are leaving their humdrum lives to set up new homes somewhere far more idyllic. Each week the couples will declare the obvious about the change of scenery. For example Ken & Barbie from Dullsville, Oklahoma are moving to Hawaii, Ken wants to know if it ‘rains all the time’ meanwhile Barbie will declare in every home they view ‘Oh honey look at the view’ and then will say ‘you don’t get beaches like this back home in Oklahoma!’. Both Mr E and I shout to Barbie ‘no shit sherlock’! and no Sheila from Crapton, Ohio you don’t see many tropical toucans like that back home do you??
Alas though I have had many Barbie & Sheila moments living in Mexico. ‘Oh my! look that man is chopping wood in his flipflops’ and ‘ooh you wouldn’t get away with that on a construction site back in the UK’ there are no risk assessments here! And now we say in a southern drawl ‘Gee honey look at the view’ whenever we see a pretty vista!
Mexican people are beyond friendly, are extremely hard working and have been nothing but helpful to us, we love it here but there are a few things that you just don’t find back in rural Wiltshire…
1. Men in vests sporting moustaches carrying machetes.
‘That’s not a knife this is knife’
2. Snogging couples everywhere, from kids on corners to fully grown adults sucking each others faces off. Get a room!
3. Breastfeeding mothers on buses, trains, while walking round shops and at bus stops. There is nothing wrong with this, as they say breast is best and of course costs nothing, but it’s quite an unexpected shock in SuperChe when Mum has her boob out in full view in the Taco aisle.
4. Oaxaca is a poor state, many families cannot afford baby carriers, push chairs, baby car seats or cars for that matter. What you will see is Dad on a motorbike, mum sitting behind holding the baby in her arms and the younger child sat in front of Dad. All in no danger of falling off and quite content whizzing about town. Children get carried around like Baby carried that watermelon, these Mexican kids are tough little suckers!
5. Mexicans will put chilli sauce on pretty much everything. Crisps and corn snacks get a dusting, fruit on sticks will get the chilli sauce dip, fresh cooked sweetcorn gets lathered in mayonnaise with plenty of chilli powder sprinkled on. It’s Muy Picante!!
6. Only in Mexico have I ever seen a fun drink called a Michelada. It’s a large cup of beer mixed with spicy tomato juice with chilli powder dusted around the edges of the cup. It’s the Mexican equivalent of Alcopops and is drunk in its gallons at holiday weekends.
7. Mexicans love tooting and a hooting on their horns. The split second the red light changes to green, the car behind will honk for you to get a move on. There’s no compulsory driving test either…
8. Jesus and Mary are the real deal here. The main religion in Mexico is Catholic. Religious shrines are everywhere – on street corners, at the car wash, the laundrette, shops and in most homes. Colonial churches have life-size mannequins of their Saints that are a tad scary, I expect them to come to life to scold me for not praying often enough!
9. Coca Cola, yes OK we do have Coca Cola back in the UK but Mexicans drink more Coca Cola than any other nationality, 60 gallons per person per year! Coca Cola is said to be “an essential part of the Mexican people’s diet and can be found even where there is no drinking water” Mexico has a soda pop and junk food tax which generates $16 billion per year. A third of the population are obese, Coca Cola is as cheap as a bottle of water!
10. Mexico runs on Tacos, they are cheap – 1 peso buys 1 taco. Poor families depend on tacos to feed their families served with fish, chicken and cheap stews. We love Tacos Al Pastor they are yummy parcels of crispy pork served with roasted pineapple and all the trimmings. 3 pastor tacos cost $25 that’s about £1.
Have you visited, do you live here – what have you noticed that you only see in Mexico?