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Hey guys,
I've been living here in Pachuca for two years now and I am changing. I've noticed that my tastes, behavior and general attitude have changed quite a bit. I live here with my lovely Mexican wife. Here's what I have experienced :

1. Driving : I am losing my American driving habits. Because certain people are so inconsiderate (taxis, combis and buses) I now no longer give them the same respect as other motorists. The only people I still respect are the truck drivers, because that job has to suck given the driving conditions.

2. Tips : tips in the US are big because they supplement the income of those who make less than minimum wage. However, here in Mexico tips are completely optional and many times the waitress or waiter will not receive them if they don't get to the table first. I've seen many busboys snipe our tip when we leave.

3. Lending money : If someone asks you for money in the US, they eventually pay you back. Here, it's not the case and when I loan money to someone I never expect to be repaid. There are no loans here, just gifts of money. This also works in reverse and when you owe someone, you must treat them like a padrino, with a lot of respect.

4. HOT HOT HOT. Everything now needs spice. I don't care if it's eggs for breakfast or enchiladas at night. I need my chiles. I need them now.

5. A peso goes a long way. Wages in Mexico are lower of course. Although I make a good salary I'm just not living like an American anymore. Buying a coffee every morning is no longer an option, make it at home! McDonald's is usually a luxury, not a weekly thing. We instead choose good local restaurants with good prices (like 70 pesos or less per meal).

6. Credit Cards are evil. They are. Interest rates can be insane (like 30-40% or more) and you simply can't just charge everything on the magic plastic and hope to pay it back in a reasonable time. Instead, we use offers from stores to pay things over time without interest, like layaway. Stay away from the cards!

7. Buy Mexican. Import tariffs really affect our shopping. If something is made in China it's usually much more expensive and no one buys it. I've gotten into the habit of checking where something is made when I go to the store. My wife and I buy Mexican about 95% of the time now. You'd be amazed how many products are made in Mexico : Samsung, Sony, and even LG. Take a drive by Queretaro and marvel at the factories.

8. Football. I stopped watching American football. I don't know who the good teams are anymore and I don't really care. Instead I just watch the Mexican League and FIFA soccer games. 90 minutes, no commercials and fun.

9. NASCAR. I used to watch NASCAR religiously but since they don't show too many races here I have gravitated towards GT and F1. Occasionally I will catch the Toyota NASCAR series from Mexico but the season is very short. It doesn't matter anyways, Jimmie Johnson will win the Chase for the next 10 years. :p

10. Police. In the US the police are generally good guys who are just doing their job. In Mexico they are money sharks who swarm to collect a bribe. If you are involved in an accident they will surround you and give you infracciones, or fines, even when they were 10 miles away when it happened. They do this to collect lunch money. And if you have a decent car or appear foreign they will ask for a substantial bribe so that you pay them instead of a normal fine. The only exception is the Federal Police. They are paid well and from what I have experienced, they do their job just like American cops. I love the Federal Police.


Well, those are just some of the things that have changed me since I have lived here. How have you guys fared?
 

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Hmmm. I just learned something new. I had not heard of Pachuca de Soto, so I looked it up. Capital of the state of Hidalgo - it's on the map. I also found these nicknames for it from Wkipedia: La Bella Airosa, La Novia del Viento, Cuna del Fútbol Mexicano, Tuzolandia. So it sounds windy and lays claim to being the cradle of Mexican futbol. I'm presuming your on-line name comes from the same root as "Tuzolandia". Does it have an underlying meaning, or is it just a nickname for that area?
 

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Welcome, Tuzo. I hope that ... over time ... we hear more from you about your life in Mexico and, in particular, about life in Pachuca.
 

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Hey guys,
I've been living here in Pachuca for two years now and I am changing. I've noticed that my tastes, behavior and general attitude have changed quite a bit. I live here with my lovely Mexican wife.
........

Well, those are just some of the things that have changed me since I have lived here. How have you guys fared?
Yes, welcome, Tuzo. I think your question is a good one, and I hope others on the forum respond to it. I am not living in Mexico currently, though I wish I were... Some day we will be, but for a variety of reasons we're based in Toronto for now. We do own a small house in Tepoztlan, Morelos, the town where my husband's family lives (I'm also married to a Mexican) and we go down as often as we can. For me Latin America - her people, music, politics, language, struggles, triumphs, contrasting beauty and tragedy - has been a major factor in shaping who I am for the past 30+ years, which is essentially my entire adult life. I really can't say what/who I would be if my path in life had not brought me into an "entorno latino" (Latin environment/surroundings/
milieu). But you've raised an interesting question and I'll be thinking about it. Hope others respond.
 

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Totally mundane I know, but I've learned that I don't need to have silence before I can sleep. Roosters, dogs, car alarms, singing, loud music or whatever.....bring it on! Doesn't worry me in the slightest any more.

In the early days here I'd find it hugely frustrating to try and make an appointment a week or two ahead, and be told "impossible to do that, get back to me a day or two beforehand".... Now I wouldn't have it any other way.
 

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Hey guys,
I've been living here in Pachuca for two years now and I am changing. I've noticed that my tastes, behavior and general attitude have changed quite a bit. I live here with my lovely Mexican wife. Here's what I have experienced :

1. Driving : I am losing my American driving habits. Because certain people are so inconsiderate (taxis, combis and buses) I now no longer give them the same respect as other motorists. The only people I still respect are the truck drivers, because that job has to suck given the driving conditions.

2. Tips : tips in the US are big because they supplement the income of those who make less than minimum wage. However, here in Mexico tips are completely optional and many times the waitress or waiter will not receive them if they don't get to the table first. I've seen many busboys snipe our tip when we leave.

3. Lending money : If someone asks you for money in the US, they eventually pay you back. Here, it's not the case and when I loan money to someone I never expect to be repaid. There are no loans here, just gifts of money. This also works in reverse and when you owe someone, you must treat them like a padrino, with a lot of respect.

4. HOT HOT HOT. Everything now needs spice. I don't care if it's eggs for breakfast or enchiladas at night. I need my chiles. I need them now.

5. A peso goes a long way. Wages in Mexico are lower of course. Although I make a good salary I'm just not living like an American anymore. Buying a coffee every morning is no longer an option, make it at home! McDonald's is usually a luxury, not a weekly thing. We instead choose good local restaurants with good prices (like 70 pesos or less per meal).

6. Credit Cards are evil. They are. Interest rates can be insane (like 30-40% or more) and you simply can't just charge everything on the magic plastic and hope to pay it back in a reasonable time. Instead, we use offers from stores to pay things over time without interest, like layaway. Stay away from the cards!

7. Buy Mexican. Import tariffs really affect our shopping. If something is made in China it's usually much more expensive and no one buys it. I've gotten into the habit of checking where something is made when I go to the store. My wife and I buy Mexican about 95% of the time now. You'd be amazed how many products are made in Mexico : Samsung, Sony, and even LG. Take a drive by Queretaro and marvel at the factories.

8. Football. I stopped watching American football. I don't know who the good teams are anymore and I don't really care. Instead I just watch the Mexican League and FIFA soccer games. 90 minutes, no commercials and fun.

9. NASCAR. I used to watch NASCAR religiously but since they don't show too many races here I have gravitated towards GT and F1. Occasionally I will catch the Toyota NASCAR series from Mexico but the season is very short. It doesn't matter anyways, Jimmie Johnson will win the Chase for the next 10 years. :p

10. Police. In the US the police are generally good guys who are just doing their job. In Mexico they are money sharks who swarm to collect a bribe. If you are involved in an accident they will surround you and give you infracciones, or fines, even when they were 10 miles away when it happened. They do this to collect lunch money. And if you have a decent car or appear foreign they will ask for a substantial bribe so that you pay them instead of a normal fine. The only exception is the Federal Police. They are paid well and from what I have experienced, they do their job just like American cops. I love the Federal Police.


Well, those are just some of the things that have changed me since I have lived here. How have you guys fared?
I also thought this was a great post and look forward to responding to it, because Mexico has changed most people who have lived there in profound ways. Coming from a land of prosperity and seeing how hard some really great people must work in return for what most of us would consider almost nothing in the way of personal gain cannot help change anyone who has a grain of compassion in their heart. To me, the real resource of Mexico is its people. Once you have lived with them and laughed with them and worked with them you're not going to be the same person.

How has Mexico changed you is a great discussion topic, and your own observations are just as important as anyone else's here.

That said, who could possibly blame you if you choose to never come back again -- ever -- for seeing your enthusiasm being greeted with disdain and insult. That happens far too often on this forum. But there are a few of us here who actually do enjoy an intelligent conversation, so please considering contributing more of these good ideas for discussion.
 

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Just for a nothr point of vie:

Hey guys,
I've been living here in Pachuca for two years now and I am changing. I've noticed that my tastes, behavior and general attitude have changed quite a bit. I live here with my lovely Mexican wife. Here's what I have experienced :

1. Driving : I am losing my American driving habits. Because certain people are so inconsiderate (taxis, combis and buses) I now no longer give them the same respect as other motorists. The only people I still respect are the truck drivers, because that job has to suck given the driving conditions.

When I lived in Los Angeles, San Franciscans couldn´t drive; when I moved to San Francisco, Los Angeles people couldn´t drive. In the early 2000s Guadalajara bus drivers killed and maimed a record number of pedestrians. Hundreds as I recall and many waiting on sidewalks. Not even one Guadalajara bus driver was ever arrested or charged with manslaughter because of their powerful union. If you refuse to respect a Guadalajara bus driver, he´ll run you over and kill you and never face even termination or suspension much less jail time. Same thing in Paris or San Francisco or New Delhi.

2. Tips : tips in the US are big because they supplement the income of those who make less than minimum wage. However, here in Mexico tips are completely optional and many times the waitress or waiter will not receive them if they don't get to the table first. I've seen many busboys snipe our tip when we leave.

Tips are indeed expected in Mexico everywhere although a tip of 10% is considered generous. To fail to tip in Mexico means you are a cheapskate whether the busboy steals the tip or not. Tips are typically shared among the wait staff and even the kitchen in Mexico,

3. Lending money : If someone asks you for money in the US, they eventually pay you back. Here, it's not the case and when I loan money to someone I never expect to be repaid. There are no loans here, just gifts of money. This also works in reverse and when you owe someone, you must treat them like a padrino, with a lot of respect.

We have lived in both Ajijic on Lake Chapala and San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas for overa a decade and, when our domestic staff, whether houskeeper of gardener, are experiencing hard times financially, we have always lent them money to see them through and they have always paid us back every centavo borrowed. ALWAYS? If you don´t insist on this, you are a mark and deserve your fate.

4. HOT HOT HOT. Everything now needs spice. I don't care if it's eggs for breakfast or enchiladas at night. I need my chiles. I need them now.


Mexican food is not typically spicy or what you call hot. Accompanying salsas can be spicy and are available to spice up your food if you so desire. Otherwise, Mexican food is fairly bland in general. Try East Indian or Ethiopan cuisine among several others if you want spiciness.

5. A peso goes a long way. Wages in Mexico are lower of course. Although I make a good salary I'm just not living like an American anymore. Buying a coffee every morning is no longer an option, make it at home! McDonald's is usually a luxury, not a weekly thing. We instead choose good local restaurants with good prices (like 70 pesos or less per meal).

Mexican wages are lower than where? A cup of coffee or hamburger at a McDonalds is a luxury? I make my own espresso and cheeseburgers at home wheth I´m in Ajijic or San Cristóbal and pay peanuts for both. I mus admit, however, that occasiionally I wlak down the Anadador in >San Crist´óba an purchase a cheese whopper at Burger King but Ajijic doesn´t have one of those franchises.

Credit Cards are evil. They are. Interest rates can be insane (like 30-40% or more) and you simply can't just charge everything on the magic plastic and hope to pay it back in a reasonable time. Instead, we use offers from stores to pay things over time without interest, like layaway. Stay away from the cards![/B

]We agree. Credit cards are not important in Mexico. We haven´t had one in ten years but we do have a few debit cards for cash acquisition and such things as airline or hotel reservations.

7. Buy Mexican. Import tariffs really affect our shopping. If something is made in China it's usually much more expensive and no one buys it. I've gotten into the habit of checking where something is made when I go to the store. My wife and I buy Mexican about 95% of the time now. You'd be amazed how many products are made in Mexico : Samsung, Sony, and even LG. Take a drive by Queretaro and marvel at the factories.


People do buy things made in China even though they are often being duped. A large amount of crap being sold in the streets of San Cristóbal to tourists represented as having been made in indfgenous communities surrounding San Cristóbal de Las Casas is actually made in China. It´s a local joke.

8. Football. I stopped watching American football. I don't know who the good teams are anymore and I don't really care. Instead I just watch the Mexican League and FIFA soccer games. 90 minutes, no commercials and fun.

9. NASCAR. I used to watch NASCAR religiously but since they don't show too many races here I have gravitated towards GT and F1. Occasionally I will catch the Toyota NASCAR series from Mexico but the season is very short. It doesn't matter anyways, Jimmie Johnson will win the Chase for the next 10 years
. :p

U.S. football games and NASCAR. OK, pour me another Bud Lite and pass that joint.


10. Police. In the US the police are generally good guys who are just doing their job. In Mexico they are money sharks who swarm to collect a bribe. If you are involved in an accident they will surround you and give you infracciones, or fines, even when they were 10 miles away when it happened. They do this to collect lunch money. And if you have a decent car or appear foreign they will ask for a substantial bribe so that you pay them instead of a normal fine. The only exception is the Federal Police. They are paid well and from what I have experienced, they do their job just like American cops. I love the Federal Police.

There are a lot of crooked cops in both Mexico and the United States. As for the federal police in Mexico, when the local cops stiole my walltet in Cacahoatan, Chiapas, the federal cops gave us a ride back to our hotel in Tapachula after an accident at 2:00AM and in the middle of nowhere on a deserted highway, they made us pay them $10,000 Pesos or threatened to drop us on on that deserted highway in the middle of the night so we could walk back to Tapachula at 3:00AM in the pitch black darkness on a back country road with no shoulders. We paid. Disgusting thieves.


:whoo:
 

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Around the Lake Chapala areas, people are expected to tip the waiters and even so, a few rat fink restaurant owners grab all the tips from their staff. They shouldn't wonder why they have trouble keeping good help.
There were other good points, but I agree with the Hound that repayment should be expected when loans are given.

I agree that what they lack in salary, the local cops attempt to make up for in extortion. I hope this eventually changes. The new traffic laws will, I fear, just provide more opportunities for mordida.

People who respond to perfectly valid posts with insults should be booted, or at least have their posts deleted. Who needs that?
 

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I certainly agree with the sentiment that tips for good or even adequate service are appreciated and well deserved. Leaving it on the table, though, is often not a good idea. A more thoughtful way is to call the waiter or waitress over and give it directly if at all possible.
 

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Hound Dog: In reply to your question about who was being addressed: My point was that I agreed with the mod that insulting posts should be deleted. If anyone gets his/her jollies by being obnoxious, the resulted delete shouldn't be surprising. I have no idea who made the objectionable and deleted post, BTW.

I also feel that we should all be entitled to disagree with the OP if our POV is different, and that is best done by citing our own experiences, not by insulting the poster or demeaning him or her, and in that spirit, I cited my points of difference with the OP.

It will be chilly in Hades when I trust the local police to be more of a help than a problem.

It might also be interesting to note that the OP hasn't been here long.
 

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I certainly agree with the sentiment that tips for good or even adequate service are appreciated and well deserved. Leaving it on the table, though, is often not a good idea. A more thoughtful way is to call the waiter or waitress over and give it directly if at all possible.
Giving the tip directly to the server is always easy. The server, not the busperson brings you your change. This is a no-brainer. Actually, tips in Mexico are usually shared by all wait-staff amd buspersons I prefer the French system where the tip of 15% to 20 % is usually added to the bill. Of course, I´m not Canadian so apoplexy is avoided
 

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Giving the tip directly to the server is always easy. The server, not the busser, brings you your change. This is a no-brainer. Actually, tips in Mexico are usually shared by all wait-staff amd bussers I prefer the French system where the tip of 15% to 20 % is usually added to the bill. Of course, I´m not Canadian so apoplexy is avoided
I haven't the faintest idea how this relates to the topic or what I said, so go bug someone else, would you?
 

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I´ve been living in Mexico 9.5 years now, which is a long time past adjustment. First 5 yrs in the city of San Luis Potosi, then in Jerez, Zacatecas now 3+ yrs in Zacatecas, Zac. Mainly I am less angry than I was in USA, I can imagine these days living there I would be furious at political and economic developments. Its close so I do get up there for big electronic purchases and culture stuff, NYC & LA, I work in TV and the arts so there is crossover. But I feel a bit immune to both there & here BS, I think its great being an expat - so much freedom to be who you choose.

Its hard to separate out life changes in general from their causes. I am naturally much more comfortable with my position in the fabric of Mexican society now, that comes with familiarity and ability to choose friends and associates. Takes alot longer to get real trust here, everything takes alot longer. But that becomes sorta fun, its just such a social place.

I do think I have an edge migrating here as a woman without husband, working in a biz that is really similar whatever country, the expats I have met who are in pairs and retiring do not tend to meet the range of people I do, most of whom are good to meet. I´m very happy I moved here before retirement.

Great question, and Pachuca is really interesting - the Fototeca de Mexico is there, all the historic photos, the INAH collection.

Oh, and I always tip well. That has more to do with the former-server superstition about a hot place in hell reserved for cheapskates than anything maybe, but my Mexican colleagues and friends are pretty uniformly generous also - I mean you are really only talking about what an additional $5, 10, 20 or 50 pesos that is gonna help somebody lots more than it will help me....Among the guys here, particularly the politicos and hotshot biz types there is a substantial "show-off" factor in passing money.
 

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I certainly agree with the sentiment that tips for good or even adequate service are appreciated and well deserved. Leaving it on the table, though, is often not a good idea. A more thoughtful way is to call the waiter or waitress over and give it directly if at all possible.
After living in Mexico for several years, I have learned to always give the tip to the waiter directly or put it into the tip jars some informal eating places have. It is considered a bit rude to just leave it on the table.
 

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We always give the tip to the server. And I always need coins in my pocket when I go out cause you tip the person who bags your groceries and the guy who pumps your gas. And sometimes it's convenient to have my windows washed while I'm in a store.

I have become more patient, way more patient. If someone says they'll be over to fix your oven this afternoon, it may be today, tomorrow or next week- being mad doesn't help. In Mexico everything is possible, but you must wait....for everything. :)

I have slowed down, alot. I've found out I can get along with so much less, of everything! And wow going to the doctor is a piece of cake. I agree with somebody above- don't make an appt further out than tomorrow; usually we just go to where we need something and either get taken care of that day or told when to return (next day or 2). Have never waited for the doctor although my visits have been simple- the flu or a migraine (a shot for both). And it's ALWAYS cheap!

I like the conversation before & after business, the social-ness of it all. We are settling into a little town south of Ensenada- yeah so 3 states in less than 2 years...but this basic stuff has been the same across the board. I've come to enjoy the laid back culture so much more than right now! right now! right now! Know what I mean?

Oh...and I don't trust any cops and try to fly under the radar...
 

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4. HOT HOT HOT. Everything now needs spice. I don't care if it's eggs for breakfast or enchiladas at night. I need my chiles. I need them now.

Mexican food is not typically spicy or what you call hot. Accompanying salsas can be spicy and are available to spice up your food if you so desire. Otherwise, Mexican food is fairly bland in general. Try East Indian or Ethiopan cuisine among several others if you want spiciness.
I would differentiate between spicy condimentado and spicy picante. Indian food - masala/curry- is both. In my experience Mexican food as eaten by most Mexicans is picante (unless their doctor has told them to go easy on the chile due to gastritis). The salsas in Mexico - made fresh from real ingredients - are an integral part of Mexican food - not to be relegated to an optional add on like ketchup or Tabasco sauce NOB. The salsas are varied, delicious, hot spicy and not to be missing from the Mexican table. I do find sometimes people who don't know me well will dial down the heat for my sake, until I let them know I love it hot.

When my husband cooks for some friends who have no tolerance for picante, he thinks he has made it non-spicy but they still can't eat it. He puts jalapeño in the rice and in omelettes, most Mexican guacamole I've eaten has jalapeño or serrano, too.

Those glorious displays of all varieties of chiles at any Mexican market? They're not just for show. I know they are not all picante, but they count as spicy in my books. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmmm.

The Mexican children I know take chile on their fresh fruit, their corn on the cob, and their candy.

Bland?? That would be the casserole culture in small town Nebraska in the 70's, when fresh garlic was an exotic spice.
 

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An addendum to the above. I just discussed this post with my husband and he pointed out there is no single homogeneous "Mexican cuisine". There are regional differences and great diversity in Mexican cooking. The cuisine in Puebla is different than that in Michoacan, Yucatán, the border areas, etc. So the experience of someone in one part of Mexico regarding "Mexican food" won't necessarily reflect that in another part of Mexico.

I haven't explored the forum to see if there is a thread on this topic. Nevertheless, I think this particular topic is best explored experientially. Que rico!
 
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