After spending over two months in Mexico I feel I've gotten to know the place really well and I've learnt many things about the country and it's people. So, to revert to a blog staple, here is a list of things that I learnt in this great country.
You have no idea how good it is – I certainly didn't before I went. I already liked what passed for “Mexican” food in other parts of the world, but nothing prepared me for how good the genuine food was. Tacos, tortas, quesedillas, enchiladas, mole and of course my favourite, pastor. Sure, it will take some work to get back in shape once I get home, but it will be worth it.
2. Don't rely on the Mexican Postal system.
Just trust me on this one.
3. The people are among the friendliest in the world.
I wrote a blog about the people of Burma being the friendliest people in the world, but the Mexicans would certainly give them a run for their money. Just little things, like greeting strangers in a lift or shuttle bus, to the way people sit with strangers at restaurants. The whole place has a community feel, even when you're in Mexico City, which is one of the biggest countries in the world.
4. Mexico has some great beaches.
Yes places like Cancun and Playa Del Carmen are touristy, but they are that for a reason. The water is beautiful, the sand is nice the drinks are cheap. What more could you want?
Playa Santa Fe near Tulum
5. The Mexican people love to celebrate.
In the time I was in Mexico I witnessed celebrations for Christmas, New Years, the Three Kings and the Virgin Guadalupe. With so many saints and festivals, there is always a reason to celebrate, which makes it a fun place to be.
Pinata is a must at a Christmas celebration in Mexico
6. Mexicans love their country.
Being a guest in a Mexican house is probably one of the best thing in the world for a traveller. I was lucky enough to be invited to stay with a Family in Mexico City and instantly had an army of tour guides and people wanting to tell me all of their favourite food, drinks and places to go in their country in the hope I will love their country as much as they do.
My Mexican Family
7. Mexico has great history
Between Chichen Itza, Palenque, Tulum, Teotihuacan – and all of the smaller ones – Mexico is brimming with history. Whether its Aztec, Zapotec, Mixtec or Mayan, the ruins scattered throughout the country make a lot of archaeological sites in other countries look a little boring. At times there almost seems to be too many ruins, but each and everyone is unique and never ceased to blow me away. And typically for me, it was more than just the pre Colombian history that kept me interested. Being a sports addict, getting to visit the stadium where one of the most infamous moments in football history took place (the Maradona "Hand of God" goal) was a huge highlight.
Ancient ruins at Palenque
8. Even their archaeological sites have great beaches.
Just in case you get bored looking at thousands of years of history, you can take a dip.
Tulum ruin overlooking the beach
9. Mexicans love to dance.
Whether it is a salsa bar, some weird 80's dance battle club, or just with their family in their own home Mexicans love to get up and shake it.
10. If I had to get stuck somewhere I'm glad it was Mexico.
I think Mexico is a place where things aren't actually supposed to go as planned, but still end up awesome. I couldn't have wished for a better experience, and now I don't want to leave. But the Long Road to Rio continues!