To my brother, family, and friends in America,
As many of you know, I’ve been living and traveling around Mexico for over a year now.
This letter is to tell you, I’m going to need $5,000 deposited into my BOA account tomorrow—just kidding.
I haven’t been kidnapped, shot, raped, turned into a drug mule, or even spoken to harshly during my time abroad. It turns out, most Mexicans are kind, generous, loving, and peaceful—like most Americans, in my experience.
And although the citizens of the good ol’ US of A and those pesky Russian bots elected a monster-child to the throne—a petty tyrant who riles up the disgruntled Right by promising a wall (as if drones, boats, ropes and ladders don’t exist)—who’s rescinded DACA, unleashed ICE, and who seems to glow (more orange than usual) when he talks shit about our brothers and sisters south of the border—most Mexicans understand that you, gringo, are not solely responsible. They’ve had their fair share of shit Presidents too, and they will treat you with the respect you deserve, if any.
But I ramble. My point is that I think you should come visit me in Mexico, brother, fam', and fellow gringo friends, for if you’re an American with any curiosity about the world (and what else are Americans known for if not curiosity about the world?) and you haven’t been to Mexico yet—well, wtf are you waiting for?
So without further ado, here is my internet-friendly list of the eight reasons you should visit Mexico this year (especially if you're a pinche gringo):
- It’s cheap, and let’s face it, so are you. Currently the exchange rate is 18.5 Pesos for 1 American Dollar. I just ate a three-course lunch and slugged down a green alfalfa, pineapple and guayaba smoothie for about $4.50. There’s a taqueria around the corner that advertises 5 tacos and a drink for 42 pesos. That’s about $2.50 (and you thought Taco Tuesday was a deal!) Plus flights from most major American cities to Mexico can be had for under $300.
- The food. The markets in Mexico City and throughout the country are abundant with fresh fruits and vegetables, delicious meats, a variety of nuts, herbs, spices, smoothies, and homemade drinks like horchata, tamarindo, and jaimaca. In fact, the average Mexican market puts Whole Foods to shame, which is probably the reason there’s no Whole Foods in Mexico, just a lot of whole food, ya dig? Imagine buying groceries without handing over half your paycheck. Hey, isn’t that the American dream? And the street food here is on another level.
- Diversity. Much like the US, Mexico is a big, diverse country with a little bit of everything. If you’re looking for a vibrant nightlife, modern dining, colonial architecture, and even ancient Aztec ruins, come to Mexico City. More of a beach bum? Try Quintana Roo, Baja California or Nayarit. Want culture, food, textiles, folk art, outdoor adventures or a good mushroom trip in the mountains? Oaxaca and Chiapas are waiting for you.
- It’s right next door! It’s not like I’m asking you to fly half way around the world for chrissakes! Sheesh. What are you gonna do, go to Canada? Have you read my articles about Canada? And besides, Love Thy Neighbor starts with a meeting.
- Your American passport is a privilege. Mexicans can’t travel to the “land of the free” without first applying for a visa. The process is expensive and intrusive—it allows agencies to monitor your bank account, inquire about your relationship status, and of course, you need a solid reason to visit America (and a lot of money). But because of our birthright known as the American passport, we can hop borders like a mofo and nobody bothers us (for now at least).
- Relax. Take a break from the American political climate. Have a piña colada. Drink a pulque. Stop watching constipated bobbleheads shouting talking points at each other between commercial breaks for diabetes medication and a “new” style of Nacho. Stop obsessing over the latest gaffe from Señor Presidente, or as my Mexican friends like to call him, Manos Pequeñas… If need be, you can scratch your politic-itch in Mexico by browsing a local newspaper you don’t understand, or take it a step further and march in a demonstration for a cause you’re unsure of.
- To show you’re not an asshole. Look, not all Mexicans eat tortillas (most do) and dream of coming to America (most don't), and not all Americans are narcissistic power-tripping racist dunces with spray tans. But the surest way to come to these understandings is by connecting with people on an individual level. Why not take the first step?
- You’re still a patriot if you travel. Don’t worry, you can come visit Mexico and you won’t lose the thing that makes you the same as everybody back home but extraordinary everywhere else in the world—that is, your Americaness. That shit’s here to stay, trust me. I’ve been in Mexico for over a year and I still eat Ketchup. I’m still not playing SOCCER on a basketball court. Football will always have quarterbacks, touchdowns, and commercials for shitty delivery pizza. And though I’ve learned Spanish and enjoy speaking it, I haven’t lost my mother tongue—American, nor my capacity to talk mad shit—Jersey.
So have no fear, hermanitos, apply for your passports today, or dust off the one you already have and cop a ticket to Mexico. Expedia’s been having a sale since 2009 (and so has all the competition), so you’re bound to find a great deal!
And don’t worry, America will be just as confusing when you get back.
See you soon, cabrones.
Nate Lost makin' groceries at @ El Mercado de San Juan in Mexico City.
Thanks for reading! I'm a travel-writer, poet and podcaster currently based in Mexico City.
If you're on Steemit please follow me @natelost for more articles.
& HIT A MOFO W/ AN UPVOTE ON YOUR WAY OUT