A few of my favorite things (why? because I like them!)
Chinese buffets in Mexico: Mexican Chinese food has potatoes. And comes with arroz con leche?
The almuerzo/siesta combo: On days when I get out of school early, I come home to a lunch that is too delicious not to enjoy to the point where all I can do afterward is sleep. Viva Mexico.
Cafes that aren’t Starbucks: Nobody is in a hurry here. Ever. My favorite example of this fact in action is when I order a Nutella Frapachino at the mall coffee stand. I’m used to ordering coffee from an American Starbucks, which has an assembly line/ military system of delivering my drink in less than 3.45 seconds. According to the Starbucks’ online calorie counter, my skim sugar-free vanilla latte typically contains about 130 calories.
Here, my server lovingly scoops an entire cup and a half of Nutella into iced whole milk. Excitement builds as I watch her add…Real whip cream via pastry bag! Artistically placed sprinkles! Cinnamon! A cookie! And, after a last critical look-over, possibly a few more sprinkles.
There is no online calorie counter.
Bus shrines: Any bus driver that’s worth his little paper tickets has taken the time to pimp out his bus with the latest in religious trinket fashion. My favorite is definitely the portrait of our lady the Virgin Mary closely bordered by two giant playboy bunny stickers. Our virgin in flashing colored lights makes a close second.
Chiapas hot chocolate (and the rest of Chiapas, too): I’ve already gushed enough about dessert beverages, but the hot chocolate in Chiapas is on par with the Nutella Frapachino. It doesn’t taste like hot chocolate, it tastes like heaven. Not to mention you drink it in San Cristobal, a tiny colonial city nestled into a mountain forest. We drove 14 hours to get there and didn’t bring enough warm clothes for the weather change, but the trip, one of the excursion choices for the program, couldn’t have been sweeter had I drank more than the 12 cups of hot chocolate that I did.
Beautiful ocean beaches:
“What do you want to this weekend?”
“ Well, I guess we could go to Tulum again…if I don’t have too much homework.”
The salsa ladies: I’ve come a long way in my salsa classes since I’ve come to study abroad in Mexico , but my agility still hasn’t reached even a comparable level to that of my classmates—most of whom have literally been dancing about three times as long as I have lived. Sometimes the teacher halts the basic salsa step and encourages everyone to shake “sexy, sexy.” I am humbled every time by the grey-haired, big-hipped (and know how to use’m), spandex-wearing divas.
Mexican time: Once again, nobody is in a hurry. 8:25 is the new 8:00. Sleeping in is a valid excuse to be late to class.