Published: February 15th 2010February 9th 2010
It's been over a week since I have updated the blog. We have been keeping very busy going places and seeing things. I will post lots of pictures in the next day or two. We have decided that we need to take a day to rest from our vacation!
First, here are some pictures that we have taken around the town of Bucerias. I have mentioned that it is a smaller town than Puerto Vallarta. The "downtown" area and a few of the main streets - mostly where the shops are - are paved with cobblestone. The rest of the town has dirt roads which get pretty rutted when there is rain or if someone has a water leak - this has happened in the street by our place and the water running down the road for several days cut a big wandering rut into the middle of the road before someone finally fixed the water. Road repair doesn't seem to have a high priority here. (not so different than home..
The soil is quite sandy though, so we aren't having to walk through mud.
The standard of living is different here, and what is normal and acceptable is
different that what we are accustomed to. Concrete block buildings with no glass in the windows - sometimes with sheets hung in the windows for privacy are a common sight. Because it is so warm here all year, many people don't bother putting glass in the windows of their houses. Also, many build their own houses, a bit at a time, as they can afford it. So, it seems like construction is never finished in Mexico, and it is common to see homes in various states of being built with people living in them. Used materials are collected and re-used, and piles of what we would think of as junk collect in yards. It is often hard to tell if some of the places are being built or torn down!
Also, I have mentioned the dogs that run around loose, and the chickens that roam the streets. People just don't pen up their animals here. I am not sure how they can tell whose chickens are whose, but this is the way it is done. One man we were talking to said that you can tell the houses of the Mexicans from the houses of people from other countries
by looking to see if they have fences or not. Mexicans don't feel the need to fence in their property.
We always find that we have this period of adjustment when we visit Mexico, and especially since we choose not to stay in the high-end resorts and all-inclusives. Once you get accustomed to the sights and sounds of Mexican life, you can appreciate the interesting and beautiful things you find here. And the people are very friendly and helpful, even with a language barrier. We have had folks stop us in the street to ask where we are from, and to chat a bit. They want to practice their English, and I get to practice my Spanish. It is all good.
I will leave you with four rules that we have learned, that help us to get along here:
1. Vehicles have the right of way always, and won't stop for you even if you are crossing at a corner, so wait for your chance, and RUN!
2. Vendors in stalls and on the beach WILL approach you to buy something, but a smile and a "no, gracias" is usually enough. Sometimes you have to say it twice,
or say "no, nada" (nothing) if they try to offer you one of everything they have.
3. If you do decide to look at something to buy, know that the first price they ask is more than what you should pay. Offer half, then expect to settle somewhere in the middle. They are not trying to cheat you. This is the way it is done. And be prepared to walk away if you don't get them to come down in price. As soon as you really want something, they will know they can get more out of you.
4. Use public transit. It is an excellent system here. When the bus is crowded, if you are a man, stand up and offer your seats to ladies, especially older ladies, pregnant, or ones with babies. (I remember that this is the way it was in Calgary when I was a child too.) The buses get crowded, and one bus will race another to be first one to the next stop. Hang on!
There are more photos below