Five Ways to Be An Ugly American in Mexico

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Good news: U.S. tourists are finally starting to return to Baja California. Three friends and I just returned from yet another fantastic weekend doing the "20,000 calories south of the border" tour, and while we adjusted to "Mexican time" and had a grand time lowering our blood pressure, some of our fellow countrymen obviously were having a hard time. Following are three ways to make sure you'll have a terrible time south of the border.

Of course, these behaviors aren't specific to Mexico; you'll find ugly Americans, ugly Brits, and even ugly Canadians all over the world.

5. Insist on New England Protestant-style punctuality.

Fact: life in Mexico is not as tightly regulated as life in the United States. Power outages happen; road closures happen; people will stop and assist at accidents, because another person's well-being is more important than being at the restaurant at 7:00 on the dot. This drives Americans crazy, particularly when the response is an unapologetic shrug. So alien to the culture is the idea of slavish devotion to the clock that when you actually want someone to show up at 7:00 sharp, you have to specify, "a las siete, hora inglesa"--at 7:00, English time. Meanwhile, have another beer.

4. Fail at polite small talk.

The US is a very, very abrupt culture. We have no problem launching straight into a conversation, even if it's someone we don't know very well. No hello, no polite inquiries into the other party's well-being. At home, that's considered efficient and being respectful of the fact that people have other things to deal with; in pretty much every other country in the world, it's considered the height of rudeness. Start every conversation with a greeting and at least a "¿cómo está usted?" before asking questions.

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Five Ways to Be An Ugly Mexican in America

5. Come to the US illegally by climbing over the border fence packing 60 pounds of marijuana on your back.

4. Drive a car without a drivers license or insurance. If you have an accident, flee the scene and return to Mexico, especially if you kill somebody when you hit them with your uninsured car. When the police stop you for driving drunk, while driving with neither a license nor insurance, insist that it was just racist profiling.

3. Work for cash under the table without a legal work permit. Be sure all your children are on food stamps, WIC and Medicaid while going to the free public schools, so you can maximize the amount of your un-taxed and unreported earnings you send back to Mexico.

2. Demand that everything be translated into Spanish for you.

1. Put decals of the Mexican flag all over your uninsured car and tell everybody how proud you are to be Mexican, and that you only sneaked into the US illegally to make a little "feria" because there is no work in Mexico, especially for a "moreno" like you.


CPT. that's why they are the third world

John Drysdale
John Drysdale

These rules apply anywhere, even in the states. If you can't relax and be flexible on vacation then don't go. Be a slave to work and make everyone around you miserable.


They missed the people who complain that people don't speak English....that drives me nuts...probably the same people who complain about people speaking spanish in the US.



Not just good advice about not being an Ugly American in Mexico... good advice about not being an Ugly American period. 


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