After spending half a year living in Mexico, I felt like it had changed my life in a very positive way and I can fairly say that along with Portugal, it is my favourite country I have visited so far. Mexican people are incredible, there’s so much potential to have an adventure and the food is amazing. However, it’s true that Mexican culture is quite different from British culture, there’s bound to be some things that I of course found challenging. I’m not gonna talk about how dangerous it is as that is just overblown and I have absolutely nothing against Mexico.
1. Unclear Immigration Rules
When you enter Mexico, you have to complete a form about your details and when you arrive you’re asked for your purpose and duration of stay. You keep the small part of the paper which you have to keep until you leave and you can only stay the duration of time that’s written on the piece of paper even though it also says the maximum stay is 180 days. When I arrived for second time, I explained to the immigration officer I was an exchange student and she asked why I didn’t have a visa, however I showed her my student card insisting that I don’t need one.
Because I was only given 90 days, it meant I had to leave sooner than I wanted to and I didn’t realise this until I looked up the rules online as I thought I was just able to stay for a maximum of 180 days.
2. Montezuma’s Revenge
If you are not Mexican, you might have your stomach react differently from the food as it is very different, you might usually just get a sore stomach every so often from the food. Furthermore, having had food poisoning before, I am not a person who is careless with food, however just by chance I got Montezuma’s revenge and it just had to happen at the least convenient moment.
My friend from Michoacán took my friends and I to see his state and literally the moment I arrived my stomach started to ache. That whole day I had a bad stomach, however the worst of it came when we were camping in the forest, I had to get out of the tent as I need to go to the toilet, however I couldn’t make it there and had to do my business between some trees. The diarrhoea is unrelenting and I’m still recovering days after.
3. Slow Wifi
Mexico’s wifi is not fast at all and is even worse in public places. It goes down frequently and the smallest change in weather can lead to the wifi going down for hours. Not only that, but the power also goes out in these storms. However, on the bright side, Mexico City has public wifi on almost every street and this is something that the UK doesn’t have.
4. The Noise
The UK, as with many other cultures, try to minimise making too much noise without good reason, however in Mexico, it seems that being needlessly loud is tolerated. Mexicans don’t tend to have indoor voices and the streets, especially of Mexico City are never quiet. Every so often, especially in the mornings, there would be a pickup truck passing us by with a loudspeaker and it would irritate me every time.
5. Inefficient Public Transport
Although Mexico City has a well-connected system of public transport with a big metro system and metrobus system, it pails in comparison to systems in other cities in the world. The metro might be sometimes quicker than an Uber because of the traffic, however the trains look out of date, the infrastructure looks tattered and it’s very uncomfortable, especially when it gets busy.
Because of the traffic, it can take a decent amount of time to get anywhere on the metrobus. If you also want to get from one city to another, you either have to fly or take the bus, however this is simply the reality of things in Mexico.
6. Lack of Service in Convenience Stores
If you go to Mexico, it’s inevitable that you’ll go to either an Oxxo or a 7-11 to get something like a quick snack or a drink. Unfortunately, the service in these places are irritably slow. If you’re waiting behind 3 people, you’re going to need a lot of patience and the people working at these places won’t always go out of their way to serve you.
Some aspects of Mexican bureaucracy can be frustrated, I just wanted to use the Ecobici service and it required me to create an account. I had to give loads of details, however I was unable to create an account as it could not recognise the ID I had taken a picture of and was therefore unable to use the Ecobici service.
8. The Heat
This only really applies to places like Quintana Roo and Oaxaca which in April felt like a sauna well into the night. During one night in Tulum we had our AC turned off and trying to sleep was incredibly unbearable, you’ll be pleased to know that in places like Mexico City, it cools down once night falls.
If you’re at a party in Mexico, you will no doubt experience having to do a ‘shot,’ this is when they put a bottle of tequila up to your mouth and you have to take as much of it as possible. If you refuse to do it, you have to be assertive and they will be annoyed if you refuse to take a shot.
10. Mexico is Addictive
There are not enough places in Mexico to visit, I have friends from Sonora, Queretaro, Jalisco and Chihuahua who all want me to visit their home state. Not to mention other incredible places such as Sinaloa, Veracruz and of course Chihuahua. As a big country, it has a lot to offer that I will have to come back many times to see.
I have to say that these reasons should not putting you off visiting Mexico, yes the excessive noice can really do your head in, but Mexico is a fantastic country that cannot be missed.