What Culture Shock to Expect When You Arrive in Mexico
When in Rome… You know the rest. So if you’ve decided to visit Mexico for the first or if you’re planning to move there for business or any other reasons, be ready for this unique, overwhelming culture. You definitely won’t change their ways, so you better be informed on what to expect, and start accepting it.
Of course, there are things that will familiar and completely logical, others that might require some clarifying, and finally those “weird” customs you’ll never understand or get used to. But the most important thing is to go with your mind and heart open. In any case, here’s a heads up on some of the major things, and you will learn the rest on the spot, along the way.
If you’re coming by car, make sure you get a good insurance, since Mexicans are notorious as bad drivers, even though this is not exactly true. This bad reputation comes as a result of the very loose rules and easy driving tests, so a lot of people get their driving licenses.
The taxi drivers are, reportedly, absurdly among the worst, so keep an eye on them. It is not all that bad once you get used to their way of functioning. But as already mentioned, just be open-minded, take a deep breath and don’t lose your nerves. Also, beware of the so-called topes, that is speed bumps, as they are literally everywhere, even on highways, so keep that in mind before you push that paddle.
If you are used to military punctuality and orderliness, well, just forget about it. The whole of the Caribbean region, not just Mexico, has a bit of a liberal perception on time, so if there might be delays of various types. And nobody seems to mind it.
Also, they are quite relaxed and tolerant, so they don’t complain much about other people’s behavior. For instance, if you want to have a party and play loud music, generally, none of your neighbors will complain about it. However, if you end up wide awake because of a similar celebration in your area, well, you are expected to be equally tolerant. So when in Mexico, do show some more tolerance and understanding you expect to receive yourself.
This is one of the important things you will be warned about. In Mexico, they have two separate water systems, so the tap water is only good for washing and you can buy the purified water for drinking. There’s a very logical reason for this since they don’t want to waste the drinking water on flushing the toilet and similar things. So the tap water is not actually polluted or anything, it is just heavily saturated with minerals, and that’s the main reason for its purification.
Paperwork, Banks and Government Offices
If you need to have anything to do with Mexican institutions, as already said, have a lot of patience. Multitasking is not their cup of tea so you’ll notice everything is quite slow. This is not necessarily a bad thing as doing one thing at a time actually means once it is finally your turn, you will have their full, undivided attention.
And when it comes to documents, Mexico is known as the land of paperwork, so be ready for long lines and piles of papers. But again, don’t lose your patience, you can’t change the system so you better comply and make it easier both for yourself and for the public services. Be patient, careful, detailed and well organized and just make sure you copy everything and sort your files in big folders. This may sound like a slow, sloppy land of paperwork, but this just one side of this lovely country which shouldn’t prevent you from visiting it or moving to it. Once you get used to everything, you are sure to fall in love with this beautiful land, its warm and cordial people, its delicious food, sunny weather, its long and rich history, and admit it, you will enjoy a bit of that laid-back approach to life.
Whatever you need will get done, eventually. In the meantime, enjoy the sunshine, grab some fajitas for lunch, if it’s still not done get some churros for dessert. And if it’s really taking insanely long, well, what else to do, grab a tequila or two, it might take from dusk to dawn. Enjoy your stay in Mexico.