They say first impressions count. I think that’s true in certain situations but I’m yet to see if this statement is valid when it comes to traveling. It takes months if not years to really get to know a place and first impressions can sometimes be misleading. Nevertheless, here’s a quick list of my first impressions of México:
Disclaimer: this is based on my judgement from seeing only one part of the country – the Playa del Carmen area. Not all the points in the list may apply to the whole country, I guess I’ll find out with time 🙂
- This place is super green!
My first thought when landing in Cancún was ‘wow! There’s so much greenery here!’. I guess that’s not surprising if you consider that almost 90% of the Quintana Roo state is covered in tropical rainforests. But for someone like me who hasn’t been around many rainforests in her life, the many hues of green were a pleasant surprise for the eyes.
- The American influence is strong here.
Cancún and Playa del Carmen are full of typical American shops and fast-food restaurants. McDonald’s, Walmart, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza… There’s one on every corner. Although I’m guessing this is not the case in the less touristy areas of México.
- The people are friendly and welcoming.
I’ve had nothing but kindness and generosity from strangers so far. From the lovely Couchsurfer who accepted me into her house, to the strangers on her street helping me find her house (I mean I did get lost and I was peeking through their windows… Despite that, they were very helpful!). From the friendly gentleman I met at a bus stop who accompanied me to the beach and town centre, to the random passers-by on the street who always smile and greet me. To be honest, I’m still not sure if they do this because I’m clearly a tourist or because it’s a local neighbourhood and it’s normal to greet strangers. Either way, the locals are very welcoming which is always nice when you’re in a foreign land.
- The pace of life is slow and relaxed.
I guess the extreme heat has a lot to do with it but it seems like the tempo here is generally slow and calm. Leisurely strolling replaces rushing around and people seem to take their time whatever they do. And generally, their personalities seem chilled and easy-going. I mean I’m not surprised, even my energy levels and excitable nature naturally take a back seat in such a hot climate.
- Crazy driving
It’s a whole different story, however, when it comes to driving. Lanes don’t really mean anything here, I think they’re more suggested guidelines than traffic rules. There seems to be a separate unwritten rule-book for driving altogether. That being said, it doesn’t feel dangerous or reckless. Somehow everyone seems to know exactly what’s going on on the road, even if I don’t.And last but not least…
- They sure like their Corona!
That’s the one and only logo that sticks out to me everywhere I go – on trucks, massive towers, beach cafe umbrellas… Again, maybe it’s just this part of México.
Those of you who’ve been to México before, do you agree with any of my observatios?
What other things stood out to you or surprised you here? Let me know! 🙂