Mexico Today: Snog, Marry, AVOID?
Off for a hike in Cuernavaca? Boots, care and a lot of luck needed!
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!