If you are going to be spending a lot of time in Mexico then you will find that the country houses a rich and fascinating culture. Many visitors there fall in love with it so much that they feel the urge to try and become a real Mexican.
If you want to live like a local then here are a few fairly simple steps to follow:
1. Drink Lots of Tequila
If you have drunk tequila somewhere other than Mexico then you already know that it is a fairly strong drink. Sorry, did I say fairly strong? I mean absolutely blooming knock-you-down strong. Drinking it in Mexico is completely different from doing it anywhere else, of course. In its country of origin it is a part of the culture, with many songs and TV programmes mentioning the drink. If you like the drink you should take a trip out to see how it is made, as the blue agave plant is harvested and then put in an oven before being mashed up to extract the juice.
2. Eat Tortillas with Everything
You probably already know a little about Mexican food as well but that won’t prepare you for the local cuisine. Mexican cuisine is famous for being spicy but there is a lot more to it than that. Menudo, for example, is a popular filling soup made with the gruesome parts of the cow you don’t usually get to see at meal-time. However, if there is one type of food you should get used to it is the humble but versatile tortilla. Mexicans eat them with everything and they make a tasty and interesting accompaniment to just about any meal.
3. Learn Some Typical Words and Phrases
Wherever you go in the world it is a great idea to learn some local phrases. The Mexican version of Spanish is rich with colloquialisms and you will have great fun learning them. The television is a great place to get started, with the Cantinflas films and the El Chavo del Ocho programmes among the classics you can’t miss. Phrases you might want to learn include no hay bronca, which simply means that there is no problem. Chido means cool and you probably guessed what ándale meant when you heard Speedy Gonzales shout it over and over again. You’ll feel great when you finally get to say it in a normal, real life conversation.
4. Listen to Mariachi and Rancheras
Music plays a big part in Mexican life and there are some great musical styles to choose from. Modern options include rock from bands like Mana and pop from Paulina Rubio and Luis Miguel among others. Mariachi is a more traditional type of music, with the musicians usually dressed up in elaborate outfits known as charro. Rancheras are songs sung by a single performer with a guitar and are often passionate, fish clenching affairs that may strike you as a touch overwrought at first. If you want to be a real Mexican you’ll need to start to love hearing them, though.
5. Go to Rodeos
There are many popular sports in Mexico but the traditional rodeo is the one you should be most interested in finding out about. These can involve horses or cattle and are fascinating events for a visitor. The typical clothing here is the same charro style you might have seen those mariachi performers wear and which is used for a variety of other traditional occasions as well. You will hear a lot of those typical phrases we mentioned earlier at these events, so you might want to take a Spanish language level test before you head over to Mexico, to see how you are likely to get on with the language.
What else would you like to do in Mexico in order to feel at home?