As I have highlighted in my previous posts, I truly did enjoy my time in Mexico. I (along with others) had my preconceived notions, but once I arrived, any worries that I had quickly vanished. Mexico was magical. However, it would be irresponsible of me to not include both the good and the bad moments from my trip.
$1USD is around $15MXN.
- El Bueno: Your money will go far! If you like to travel but still have to abide by a budget like me, Mexico City is perfect for stretching your dollars. I was able to eat decently and not break the bank.
- El Malo: Because we were American, it was assumed that we were balling out of control. If you are not careful, you can get scammed out of money easily with vendors and their "conversions". Do not automatically assume that they are telling you the truth, do the math in your head first!
As a black woman, you are a hot commodity.
- El Bueno: If you do not feel appreciated in the United States, you will certainly feel appreciated here. It was nice to receive special treatment without paying for VIP. It is hard not to smile when folks are constantly calling you and your travel partner beautiful. Get your camera smile ready, because plenty of people (including cops on duty) are going to ask you for pictures.
- El Malo: You're new. You're exotic. You're different. You are going to get stares and if you're lucky, people will ask prior to touching your hair, outfits, etc. Since personal space standards are not the same, some of the lovely native Mexicans we met did not think to ask prior to examining you as if you were in a museum, and sometimes, you just do not feel like taking a picture.
- El Bueno: There are quite a few options! There's even UBER in Mexico City (super clutch). Cancun's bus system was extremely reliable and systematic. For $1USD each time, you can go wherever you need to go, and we did not have to worry about having a car. In Mexico City, multiple avenues were available including cabs, trams, and buses.
- El Malo: You need to be certain of where you are going and try to get a sense of the route, otherwise, drivers will take the "scenic route" and your fare will increase. Furthermore, pirate taxis are real. Have no shame in inspecting the cab for lights, driver's information posted, the license plate, and condition of the car. We are talking about saving your life.
- El Bueno: I was able to barter away! It was great going back-and-forth in Spanish, negotiating prices for items. It could be a bit stressful at times as I was mentally converting the amounts into $USD while negotiating, but it was rewarding to knock down prices.
- El Malo: Some of them were downright ruthless. I am completely aware that being a vendor can serve as someone's livelihood, but I wish that they could take our "no gracias" with stride. Some would downright follow us, grab us, and that made the shopping process a little uncomfortable. There were plenty of times when we would hear "it's almost free". *This could also be said for the gentlemen advertising restaurants outside in the Hotel Zone in Cancun.
At the end of the day, you are still black in Mexico.
- El Bueno: You have the opportunity to change perceptions about black people. My travel buddy and I met plenty of people and had great conversations and were able to break barriers. We were able to share our music with one of our Uber drivers and were able to experience a new culture. Putting yourself out in a city where "we" usually don't go, is an act that more black travelers should take!
- El Malo: You will still hear the occasional "negra". Not all stares are coming from a kind place. People will walk up to you and offer to sell you weed. Folks will talk in Spanish about you until they realize you can understand them. Airport security will still find their way to try to embarrass you and go through your items after you have already passed every clearance because they do "random" searches. Men will still make obscene sexual gestures because you are young and pretty. You will still need to roll with the punches just as you do in the good ole USA.
With everything stated, I still think Mexico is a magical country and have intentions of revisiting Mexico City first, and hopefully sometime within this next calendar year.