A couple of days ago, I wrote about the various lessons I’ve learned by coming back to Mexico. Tonight we hop on a plane and begin a 10-1/2-hour flight, Tigger’s first transatlantic, and head to Spain. Naturally, I have some mixed feelings.
- Mexico is a great country. I love the people and the culture, and, I’ll freely admit, the food. Mexican food is one of the most popular in the world. Even though I’m sure we’ll have some outstanding food in Spain and Morocco, it’s still hard to beat authentic Mexican food.
- Mexican Spanish is fairly informal and full of slang, but I enjoy its sing-song rhythm. Throw in a couple of quick expletives just for fun, and you’ll have the locals laughing. The Spanish theta (“Barthelona” instead of “Barselona”) just doesn’t have the same heart-warming cadence for me.
- The dollar is much stronger when converting to the Mexican peso than the Euro. I’m really going to miss that lovely exchange rate. The other day we took a bus that went from downtown to almost the end of the hotel zone, quite a long ride. It cost 66 cents each. I can buy an extremely tasty tamal for less than a dollar. I’m not likely to find those prices in Madrid.
- While I’m very ready for cooler weather, I’m sure I’ll miss temperatures that more naturally lend themselves to wearing shorts and sandals. Tigger isn’t a big fan of clothes either.
- Many Mexicans will go out of their way to help you out. I’m not sure big city life in Spain is that friendly. We’ll find out.
- I already miss the sounds of the clapping panaderos and the regular pass of the water vendor. I’ll miss the sound of ranchero music, although not the volume at which it’s played. Please, Spain, tell me your people have found and know how to use the volume button at a lower setting.
- The familiarity and comfort of this country has been a double-edged sword for me. On one hand, it’s made it super easy to live and explore here. On the other, the lack of challenge of being in the same places once again has really wore itself out.
- The food. Oh gawd, the food! Did I mention how much I’ll miss the food?
- We’ve spent the last 1-1/2 years in less- and underdeveloped countries. Even in bigger cities that feel more modern, there has still been that sense of a simpler life. While there are small, unpretentious villages throughout Europe, Spain is very modern, and Madrid most certainly so. I’ll be eager to find those little, tucked away places that feel like life has slowed down.
- Mexico feels less rushed, as well, since they give US citizens 6 months on a tourist visa. Most of Europe belongs to the Schengen Zone which means we have 90 days every 6-month period. That isn’t a lot of time.
“I don’t know that I’ll really miss anything about Mexico. Probably how nice they are.” He isn’t a fan of spicy food, so he hasn’t developed an appropriate appreciation for the wonderful food here. Maybe one day.
So, Mexico, we bid you a heartfelt ¡Adios! I’m not sure we’ll be back, especially not to the Yucatan, but we’ve enjoyed your warm, friendly embrace for many months, and you definitely have a special place in our hearts. Keep being wonderful. And, most of all, keep being Mexico. ¡Vale!