~Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Ugly American

The next morning I disembarked the ship in Mexico. Ole!

Things I learned in Progreso, Mexico:

  • Progreso is home to the world's largest pier. It's 4 miles long.
  • The first song I heard in Mexico was Kings of Leon's "Sex on Fire" which was being blasted by a local bar.
  • Coronas taste 84% better when consumed in Mexico.
  • They are sold for $1 a bottle there, or 7 bottles for $6.
  • This part of Mexico is home to the NEW 7 Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza.
  • If you drink enough, you will call it Chicken Pizza and this will be acceptable.
  • It's a Mayan temple.
  • Did you know that there are people there who are Mayan and they still speak Mayan? I DID NOT KNOW THIS. I thought Mayan was a dead language. It's very abrupt sounding.
  • The Mayans make it very clear that they are not Mexican.
  • Seriously, don't call it Mexican even though you are in Mexico.
  • You can call it Chicken Pizza, just not Mexican.
The group split up in Progreso. Katie, Swayze and Jenna took a cab to some other Mayan ruin and took pictures planking on it. I have no idea what Harvey and her husband did. I ended up taking a bus to Merida because it was a larger city and less tourist-y than Progreso, which felt like a bazaar set up in the middle of a very poor town. Also I liked the guide who sold me the bus ticket and he said his bus had air conditioning and I could take my 7 Coronas with me. Sold.

Regarding the violent crime in Mexico, I felt very safe. I did not feel at any time that I was at risk of being beheaded and dumped into a mass grave like CNN likes to report. The Mexican government is heavily invested in protecting the Americans. If something were to happen to an American, the resounding backlash of tourism bans would cripple the economy. There was a Mexican naval ship that escorted our boat in and out of port. There were armed guards lining the 4-mile pier that we took into Progreso. And when I got off the bus in Merida, there was a police car waiting to escort the Americans. We were taken care of.

Merida is the capital of Yucatan. It's an old city established back in the 1500's by Spanish conquistadors, resulting in heavily European-influenced architecture. I got to rub my hands along the limestone walls of the main church that was built in the 1500's. I was encouraged to take flash photography.

When the Coronas had worked through me, I was escorted (past heavily armed guards) into the governor's office to use the restroom. Before I could think of myself as a hot-shit American though, I was handed my allotted squares of toilet paper and shown to a toilet that had no toilet seat. No problem! Drinking as often as I do in the places I do has made me an excellent hover-er. Only when I closed the stall door, there was less than 6 inches of space from the lip of the toilet to the stall door. There was no room for my body to go. That was uncomfortable. And acrobatic.

I took the recommendation from my friendly bus driver and found a real Mexican restaurant at which to eat. And this is where I learned my first rule of international travel: Don't order anything white. When I was in Sicily years ago, I tried to order pasta alfredo. When I was in Merida, I tried to order queso dip. Both times they were like "LOLz! That's an American thing!" The Mexican (or Mayan, I dunno) was a lot nicer about it than the Sicilian. That man went on to insult me for 10 minutes and I didn't do anything about it because I was hungry and vulnerable.

I drank sugar-cane rum because I was told that was the real drink of the Yucatan, not tequila. The older lady at the table next to me also had it. Matter of fact, she had two. I left the restaurant after her and watched her stumble down the narrow sidewalk. Later when she boarded the bus, she began loudly asking me questions and then she began crying. Her husband changed seats. I snorted and fished out another Corona from my bag. Ole!


j said...

Love it! I want to go to Mexico with you. I also want to hear more about cruise boyfriend.

Bathwater said...

I don't know somehow going to Mexico with you only sounds safe, for you, and would be dangerous for those in tow.

Lilly said...

LOL at Bath! And I agree with J. I voted yes! Hell, I'm having a blast living vicariously and I can't wait until we...er, you get to the sex scene!

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

Hmm meeting all of us hopeless romantic online personas.. It will be a booze explosion. The cruise needs to be all inclusive, gotta think ahead!

Non border mexico cities is where it is at, its true legit mexico with cool stuff to do and see.

J said...

I second lowercase j's comments both about wanting to go to Mexico with you and wanting to hear more about your cruise boyfriend!


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