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.
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.
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.