A few things I learned after doing research in Mexico –
1. Always cover your feet. I mean really really cover it. Socks, boots whatever you have. Even if it is 100 degrees. No earth sandals or Havaianas – B-O-O-T-S.0 I got bitten by a spider, tones of bugs and almost by an escorpion.
2. Learn to say no. Value your health first. Try to explain to whoever is offering water that you are not thirsty – EVEN IF YOU ARE. Remember only to drink bottles of water, I say bottles because in many houses they would have the huge gallons (that had a brand and were bought at a store) – but God knows what water they put in there.
3. Learn to say YES. Sometimes, even if you a vegetarian (ME) you will need to sacrifice. You will have to eat the chicken with all the hair and skin. If you are in Mexico do it with a tortilla with a tone of lime and salt. Accepting food is the oldest form of socializing and bonding with strangers.
4. Forget about plans. In Mexico verbal plans mean nothing. People say things that don’t mean and then you will be stuck in some crazy neighborhood waiting for your friend to join you for food. After 45 minutes you call her and ask – “are you coming”. And she answers “I tried to call, but I couldn’t, turns out I can’t make it”.
5. Value your safety first. Drivers don’t wear seat belts and they texts, talk on the phone, smoke while they drive. Tell the drivers that like that, he/she is not taking you anywhere. Seriously, they hardly ever get reprehended, so it will be good. And here is a recommendation for riding cabs in Puebla. The PINK TAXI driven by women, that only take women to places. They are all monitored by the government, with cameras and everything.
6. Take deep breaths (as Alex would say). You are not in NY or in Sao Paulo, things are not as fast and the more you get frustrated the more it will take for your food to be ready.
7. Chat away. People love to talk. And if you are ready and with a good dose of patience you can make great friends. Even if that means talking about stories you know nothing about for hours.
8. Don’t overdue the food. Mexican food – beans, tortillas, avocados, onions are heavy in carbs and will get you stuffed really fast. You will also get bloated. You wouldn’t want to feel like that as you traveling in a small car for 5 hours with 5 other people.
9. Ask to go to the bathroom and pee. It doesn’t matter where you are. I mean – it could be middle of nowhere with “dry bathrooms” ask to go to the bathroom. This is the most common cause of infections – NOT GOING TO THE BATHROOM.
10. When you feel you reached an exhausting point, don’t push. Go home. Don’t put yourself and your body in situations that will cause you pain later on.