Mexico Today: Snog, Marry, AVOID?

Off for a hike in Cuernavaca? Boots, care and a lot of luck needed!

Just one of the many obstacles navigated while  walking in Cuernavaca
Just one of the many obstacles navigated while walking in Cuernavaca | Source

Mexico is tough on aging visitors

Today’s Mexico: Snog, Marry, AVOID?

As Mexico and I age, we get less compatible with one another. I suppose the fault has to be mostly mine, after all, Mexico is about 500 years old since the Conquest and the Indian nation took on the mantle of Spain. I am slightly less than that in years but in general decrepitude, I’ll let you be the judge.

As far as foreign residents and long-term visitors are concerned, Mexico is a young person’s country. By this I mean the place can be hard on the old and ageing.

Like…It’s hard to drive there unless you have the Mexican attitude which is “Viva Yo!” or “I Live,” and I have the right of way even if you have the advantage of the green light; you are going the correct way up a one-way street; the halt sign applies to my minor road; or I can intimidate you into letting me through first in all kinds of situations. Watch how your cabby drives…if you can bear to keep your eyes open! That’s hard to live with for polite drivers from the US or the UK, for example; you are likely to stay rooted and paralyzed for minutes while braving these hostile elements.

So…leave the renta-steed at home and walk?

Well, even if you aren’t half crippled by arthritis or bad circulation, you might well be after a stroll around Cuernavaca’s “paved” streets. The sidewalk here seems like an assault course designed to slow enemy troops, rather than a zone safe for pedestrians to perambulate. There are folds raised by the many earthquakes which are at the best height for tripping you; stairs up, stairs down, steps for no discernible reason, menacing tree roots, pieces of bent post supports, pot holes large and small (some seem to have no bottom and may contain bones of many unhappy tourists for all I know). For quite long sections none of this will worry you, because Cuernavaca’s self-obsessed drivers often see the sidewalk as the ideal place to park: you will need to scramble along the side of them as traffic whizzes past your trembling nose until another clear stretch of obstacle-course pavement can be attained.

The result is you usually end up taking taxis everywhere which are thankfully inexpensive by US and UK standards, although the variety of prices quoted for the same journey can be irritating.

Funny. I hardly noticed these inconveniences when young. Was Mexico nicer then or was it the skinful of tequila I usually had on board?

Bathing. Another facet of Mexican life which can still leave a lot to be desired in 2012, unless your lodgings are the top priced ones, is the shower, and often the lack of any water at all! (And never drink from the faucet, but we all know that). Is there anything worse for your aching and shivering bod than turning the hot water on and nothing comes out except some “We’re right out, sorry” burps? (You did remember “C” means hot here (caliente) and “F” is the cold tap (Freo?).

Yes, I did and fuckall came out from either of em!

You will be reassured by the desk clerk who tells you the whole colonia is out but they are working on it. Didn’t matter when you were young, did it? Chuck a shot of tequila around the groin and arms, showers are for sissies who have time to waste from drinking and shagging.

When we were young, too, it was much cheaper and easier to get to Mexico. You nipped out to the airport 20 minutes before the plane left and for a coupla hundred Ben Franklin’s you were there with all your own toilet gear: no bloody security, 100% taxes and 2,000 people on the same plane gumming up Mexico City airport.

No joy traveling now, is it? And age isn’t the only problem although my feet wouldn’t have suffered from tramping marble floors for 3 hours 40 years ago like they did yesterday in Mexico’s International Airport which has NO seats for passengers unless you are paying for it in one of the restaurants. Isn’t that hard to take??

Complain? “Everyone moans about it,” I was told by a cheerful employee.

I admit it, there is much more of me than there was when I was 30. But I am no means in the upper 20% of fatties being stuffed into miniscular seats and being asked to fly in them today.

I went KLM, an airline I like except, as a frank Stew confided, “Big people can’t fly economy any more, we’re trying to eliminate them” (I think she meant from flying rather than assassination). And I see some airlines have plans to charge excess baggage based on your weight! This is not a condemnation of Mexico, but we oldies still have to get there and when our aching tootsies and legs won’t fit in the seat space and our table won’t come down past our tummies, leaving us feeling like the Iron Maiden has captured us for 11 hours straight, (me, from the UK and back this month). Well, is it worth it?

First Class!? You could have bought the aircraft 30 years ago for the price of a FC return to Mexico from Heathrow, UK. Even the marginally more roomy Business Class is more than double the economy fare!

At least you can save some money once you get there? Not any more brother. Yes, good food in family restaurants is almost worth the trip alone: both excellent and cheap - as are taxis and coach fares. But just about all else is dearer than the US, and much dearer than the UK. Books in Sanborne’s, for example - from about $12 to $18 dollars per paperback. A pair of modest flip-flops $26 dollars!!! (Chinese clothing and shoes, etc., is soooo dear here it was hard to believe). Even the markets charge a lot for rubbish now. It reflects upwardly mobile Mexicans who are working and making much more in 2012. There is little tourism away from the resorts and Mexicans don’t care as they become a world player in commerce and industry.

I stayed 3 weeks in Cuernavaca and saw perhaps 10 tourists in the whole time I was there!!! Might have been the same pair 5 times!

Verdict? Still love Mexico and Mexicans, but I’m just not fit enough to take on the challenges. I will go again in February, but straight to La Paz in Baja Sur and a decent hotel near the beach…and I will have a rental steed.

As far as the interior is concerned, it’s not Snog nor Marry any more, but, sadly, Avoid as much as possible.

Diogenes (Bob Challen) is baaack wid ya…lot of catching up to do!

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Comments 16 comments

Peanutritious profile image

Peanutritious 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

This made me chuckle and reminded me of my years travelling on a budget around india. I went to Mexico briefly when I was 15 and remember it as chaotic, sweaty and very exciting. Your observations haven't put me off, I would love to go back. All the madness adds to the experience. I loved your portrayal of it though. Voted up!


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

Bob, I loved this hub. You made me realize it is not those places I used to love that have changed so much, it is me that has changed. In my youth, I spent quite a bit of time roaming around Mexico with no clear destination in mind. If I found a spot I liked, I stayed until the urge to see the other side of the mountain overcame me. I rode busses packed with people, chickens, and other odd thing and had a great time. The language barrier was no big issue because back then if you even tried to speal the language there were plenty of locals willing to help you. I too love Mexico and the people, but my mind and body are no longer as adaptable as they were over 50 years ago. Some of my fondest memories are of my travels through Mexico, the great people I met, and the fact that I had few worries or concerns about anything.

Great hub and it is great to see you writing again.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Peanutritious. Yes, as Old Poolman says, it's we that change more than the environment...bit of both as well.

Thanks for visit

Bob


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Old Poolman.

I really noticed how hard it was for me to adapt, mentally and physically, and not criticise.

I did have a good time in the end, but it was a battle!

Thanks for dropping by

Bob


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Love Mexico, don't much care for the cities though. I would always stick to very rural towns and only go to the cities if I could not avoid doing so.

I'm going to Cancun in December and I have never stayed there before. I would have preferred to stay in Playa del Carmen, but I hear that has grown exponentially since I was last there.

Travelling, in general, is for young people. Age does change people. I tried going to a water park last weekend and it nearly killed me. I cannot even handle water like I used to. The waves in the wave pool totally knocked me over and over and over. But I did still have fun. Sore for days, but at least I recovered.


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Hola Alberto. Como esta amigo? Now here´s a coincidence. The region I live in , in the Spanish mountains is called Cuerna..No horned cows though, well actually no horned anything at my home.

Funny you should say how expensive Mexico is, as I have at least 4 Spanish friends who can´t wait to sell up and move out there. They want to get out of Spain for exactly the reasons my husband and I left the UK, to find their version of utopia, and a better and cheaper way of living. Maybe it´s just expensive for tourists ?


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 4 years ago from northeastern US

missed you. glad you're well.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Glad to see you again...I was wondering where you were.


diogenes 4 years ago

Thanks all. I am severely jet-lagged and too bushed to reply individually...please forgive.

Thanks for comments

Bob


stricktlydating profile image

stricktlydating 4 years ago from Australia

Great little insight into your life experiences. Hope you keep continuing to come back here too!


diogenes 4 years ago

Hi 'Strictly...The old bad penny, tha knows!

Bob


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Ha! Getting old sucks, but it better than the alternative, as my dear old father-in-law used to say! Traveling is more difficult, but it's worth the effort, don't you think? It's just time to treat ourselves to more of the comforts (if we can afford them).

Enjoyed your article. I've mostly only been to border towns in Mexico except for one fun visit to Saltillo where I stayed with friends. It was nice to have someone else driving and acting as a guide.

Just noticed something odd...I've been your follower for ages, but I seldom get notification of your new hubs..WTH?


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Ha! Getting old sucks, but it better than the alternative, as my dear old father-in-law used to say! Traveling is more difficult, but it's worth the effort, don't you think? It's just time to treat ourselves to more of the comforts (if we can afford them).

Enjoyed your article. I've mostly only been to border towns in Mexico except for one fun visit to Saltillo where I stayed with friends. It was nice to have someone else driving and acting as a guide.

Just noticed something odd...I've been your follower for ages, but I seldom get notification of your new hubs..WTH?


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Hi Bob it has been awhile...Many tourist areas that one would love to visit...are quite difficult to walk or maneuver in a wheel chair...It does seem the older we get... a little more difficult and even irritating at times. Your plan sounds like the perfect one, resting on the beach, I hope you enjoy!

Take care,

Sunnie


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

Very interesting and nice to learn about your experience. Sounds vaguely better than I imagined it, but not enough so to tempt me to ever want to go there. Frankly, with all one has to go through to fly these days, I prefer to stay put or travel by car around the U.S., if I go at all. Maybe Canada someday . . .

While your additional years are bound to make a difference, I think the biggest difference is the change in Mexico.

Up, interesting and awesome. Shared. Always enjoy your hubs, Bob. xx


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Dear Steph, Sunny and Misty. The worst - absolutely - is the seat space on KLM (and most airlines). It's OK for North Americans as the trip is so much shorter, but suffering these conditions from Europe is sheer torture for 11 hours and really not worth it unless for a really long stay.

I still like Mexico but nowhere near like I once did.

Thanks for comments

Bob xxx

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