Mexico is a country in North America bordering the United States in the north. Only in 1823 did Mexico become a republic after a long war of independence.
Today it is a densely populated country with an interesting history, cultural and culinary traditions. Some tourists are happy to go to Mexico, dreaming of soaking up its beaches, while others fear high crime and drug lords.
But it is quite obvious that most of the people know little about this amazing country, its culture, traditions and people living in it. That is why the main myths about Mexico should be debunked.
The name of the country is Mexico. In fact, this country is divided into 31 states and one federal district. Each state has its own laws and police, just like the United States of America. They do not hide the fact that the state structure was borrowed from a neighbor. And the official name of the country is the United Mexican States. One of the country's former presidents wanted to replace him with Mexico to avoid suspicion of plagiarism. But this venture was not crowned with success, and why give up what is already obvious?
The capital of the country is Mexico City. This statement seems obvious to anyone familiar with geography. But this is only partly true. In fact, the capital is the Federal District. The large metropolis of Mexico City extends beyond this administrative entity. Thus, only residents of the Federal District can claim to be living in the capital. But in Mexico City, not everyone has this right.
Mexican food can be tasted at fast foods around the world. Mexican food is loved in many countries, but usually it is still about tex-mex or tehano. This is the name of the mixture of American and Mexican cuisine. These are the products that are served in most catering establishments in the world. In Mexico, they don't eat Chipotle-style burritos with rice. It is not spicy and hot food that is in demand here, but sour food. Limes, which grow in abundance, contribute to this. Spiced dishes are served under the guise of Mexican in other countries. And in order to try really Mexican cuisine, you should not go to fast food establishments, where the emphasis is on mass character, and not on authenticity. You can find authentic culinary samples in some restaurants in the American South or in street food. In other cases, most often we will talk about imitation, albeit of high quality, national dishes.
All Mexicans are dark-skinned. When people look at photographs of Mexicans, they are surprised. It turns out that not all residents of this country look "Mexican". There is a stereotype that locals should have dark skin and black hair. They are seen as the direct heirs of the Indians. However, there are many white-skinned people in the country, just like in Europe. Mexico City is particularly distinguished by this, where a large Jewish community has developed, and there are other cities with European heritage and corresponding populations. Indigenous Mexicans are rare, and even then - in remote areas of the country. The country is generally one of the most racially diverse in Latin America.
In Mexico, everyone speaks pure Spanish. In Mexico there is a linguistic variant of the Spanish language, which is a whole group of adverbs and dialects. And there is a difference to pure Spanish. For example, in Europe the word torta means cake, and in America it means a sandwich. “Sope” is not a soup, but a dish that resembles pizza in its concept. Mexican Spanish is native to 125 million people not only in this country, but also in the United States, and even the media uses it. The peculiarity of such a language is the clarity of the pronunciation of consonants, which corresponds to the version of Spanish that existed in the 16th-17th centuries.
Mexico is an unsafe country. In fact, this country is much safer than most people think. There are quieter and quieter places here than in American or European cities. Of course, there are crimes, sometimes massacres, but most often these showdowns concern the drug mafia, and not ordinary citizens. The country cannot be called safe, but the threat is still exaggerated by the media. Today, in Mexico, nothing threatens tourists in major cities, beaches or tourist destinations. Violence can break out anywhere, but usually the authorities have control over the main places. And tourists are simply not allowed into the places of the drug mafia showdown.
Mexico is a third world country. The term "third world country" itself was invented during the Cold War as a geopolitical division of countries. The capitalist countries represented the first world, the socialist countries the second, and the third world were non-adjoined and undeveloped countries. But those days are long gone, and the term itself has lost its meaning. Today Mexico is a large developing country with the twelfth GDP in the world. This is the leader of Latin America, metallurgy, mechanical engineering, chemical industry, and agriculture are developed here. There are many modern hotels and exclusive restaurants. But the gap between the rich and the poor is huge. Someone has a driver and a maid, while others do not know how to live on. By the way, the richest man on the planet in 2010-2013, Carlos Slim, is a Mexican. Could he earn his capital in an undeveloped economy?
It's always hot in Mexico. The country is very large in size, so the weather is not the same here. The climate in Mexico is mainly tropical and subtropical. However, in some areas even snow falls. The fact is that in Mexico large areas are located high above sea level, in the highlands. At an altitude of over 2500 meters, the temperature in winter drops to 2 degrees, and in summer it does not rise above 15. But in the flat coastal area the average annual temperature is really high.
Women are treated as usual in Mexico. And although there are a large number of stereotypes that Mexican women should certainly be downtrodden housewives, in fact they have very real privileges. In Mexico, pink buses run especially for women, and they have a special section in the metro. Perhaps for some it seems like a mere trifle, but you can remember Turkey. There women are constantly humiliated in transport, no one cares about this issue, and the government does not even consider the issue of creating separate sections. And the Mexicans themselves are considered very gallant, they will always open doors for women, come earlier to a meeting and pay for everything. In 2013, a study was carried out in Mexico, according to which women suddenly stated that they preferred to ride the subway in a shared car, instead of separate sections. It's just that other people will give way to them, while this will not happen among fellow travelers. But don't idealize the situation. Pink buses are only in Mexico City, and some caballeros will still try to pinch the lady on the soft spot.
Cancun and Baja California are typical Mexican resorts. Tourists are usually aware of two main Mexican destinations. For foreigners, this is Cancun, and for Americans, Baja California. Nevertheless, these places are not at all traditional for Mexico itself. Tourists in the "hotel zone" will find an extremely Americanized area. Everyone there speaks English, and things are expensive. And outside of the big resorts, prices plummet. The Mexicans themselves choose other places for rest: Acapulco, Guadalajara, Playa del Carmen, Guadalajara and many others.
May 5 is the national holiday of independence. On September 27, 1821, Mexico declared its independence, and the beginning of the war for it was on September 16, 1810. It is on this day that the main national holiday is celebrated now. And on May 5, the Battle of Puebla took place. Then the Mexicans defeated the French, defending their independence. The day of the battle became the celebration of the Cinco de mayo, or the Fifth of May. It is an official holiday in Puebla; immigrants in the United States consider this very date the Independence Day of Mexico, knowing nothing about September 16. There are some companies in other parts of the country that celebrate the holiday, it's just more local. For the people of America, this holiday has much more meaning than for the Mexicans. The fact is that then the army was stopped, which went to the aid of the slave-owning south. The holiday itself is the local analogue of St. Patrick's Day. Mexicans celebrate it with music, dancing and feasting. Yet this is not Independence Day.
Mexico is part of Central America. People usually misjudge a country's geographic location. Some consider it to be part of Latin, and hence South America. Others consider it to be in Central America. In fact, Mexico is part of North America, just like Canada and the United States.
Cacti grow throughout Mexico. This is far from the case. Can you imagine a cactus growing in the middle of the road to Mexico City? In fact, in big cities, these plants are generally difficult to find. There are many of them in the north of the country and in the deserts.
The best food is prepared in restaurants. In this respect, Mexican cuisine is similar to Asian cuisine. The best tacos here are not prepared in an elite restaurant, but in an ordinary street kiosk.
Mexicans dress casually. The dress code is quite strict in this country, so sometimes even bus drivers wear suits. People in Mexico pay attention to clothes, so the locals try to look good at all times.
In Mexico, they don't know about tampons. This hygiene product is really little known here. Many women have never heard of it at all, while others are afraid to use it. There are several types of tampons available in the supermarket, but they are of terrible quality. "Advanced" Mexican women prefer American products. Basically, this ignorance concerns poorly educated citizens who do not speak English, do not use the Internet, do not travel and live in their pueblitos. Unfortunately, there are many such citizens in the country.
The police are hard on drivers. In Mexico, most drivers drive after taking a drink. But the police are very loyal to this. She just stops the car and asks the driver, "Did you drink?" And if he answers negatively, then he is most often released.
Best Mexican Beer - Corona. This brand of Mexican beer is quite popular in the world. However, in the country itself, such a drink is not particularly quoted. He's not even number one here. The situation is similar to Australia, where Fosters is not appreciated, and Holland, where Heineken is not in vogue.
Mexican children do not receive gifts for Christmas. Not only do children receive traditional Christmas gifts here, but their holiday also turns out to be double. The New Year's festivities have just finished, as the Day of the Three Kings begins. It is celebrated on January 6 in Spain and throughout Latin America. And the children get gifts again, for this they have to put their shoes out the door.
It's easy to buy a colorful bird in Mexico. You can really get an unusual feathered pet here. It's just that in large markets, painted birds are often offered. Are blue, red and green ducklings and chickens found in nature? But in the Mexican markets, this is real.
Mexicans are slim and fit. People in this country love to eat, which determines the existence of a social problem. Over 70% of Mexicans are overweight. This makes the country the second in the world for this indicator.
Mexico City drops 25 centimeters annually. It turns out that the city stands on an unstable aquifer. It is from there that Mexico City takes drinking water. It is believed that over the past 100 years, the city has already sunk by 9 meters. Today, the 20-million-strong metropolis continues to consume the liquid at an accelerated pace, which keeps Mexico City afloat. The ground is sinking so quickly that scientists are already making predictions about when the Mexican capital will cease to exist altogether.
There are few police in Mexico. The myth of rampant crime makes one think that there is no police in the country. Meanwhile, in many cities, law enforcement officers are literally at every corner, fully armed. And the reason is not that everything around is bad - it is just accepted here. The police will always help tourists, they are helpful and friendly.
In Mexico, it is unsafe on the roads. There are legends about how robbers stop buses and rob on the roads. But people who have lived in Mexico claim that if there are risks in local buses, it is not from bandits, but from air conditioning. In addition, in a first-class bus, and even on a toll road, there is definitely nothing to fear. Much more dangerous in Guatemala or Honduras.
It's dangerous to eat on the street in Mexico. Tacos, chips, corn, sandwiches and quesadillas are sold on the streets of Mexico. And those who are not afraid to eat such food out of hunger have nothing to fear. For those who are squeamish by nature, there will be confirmation of all fears. If there are fears of catching a virus with food, then before traveling to this country you need to get vaccinated against typhoid fever.
All Mexican food is spicy. The dishes here are not at all as spicy as they are considered to be. Usually several sauces are spread on the table, the most famous of which is salsa. And the person himself decides what kind of sharpness he needs. But it is also wrong to say that, in principle, there are no spicy dishes. In Mexico, there are even desserts with pepper, not to mention soups and main courses.
In Mexico, tourists constantly have to be wary of snakes and insects. The most common threat in rooms is mosquitoes, but proven remedies save them. There is no other danger in hotels. But in houses there are sometimes scorpions. In the dry season, they literally attack human dwellings. True, such arachnids are not poisonous here. But snakes and spiders, which are usually feared in exotic countries for us, are few.
In Mexico, you can take pictures of real Indians. In fact, the Indians are not very friendly and do not like to be photographed at all. Once these people believed that photography takes a soul away from a person, since then the attitude to such a process has been ambiguous. So it is better to take consent first, so as not to run into aggression.
The main alcoholic drink in Mexico is tequila. The traditional alcoholic beverage for this country is not tequila, but mezcal. If the first is made from blue agave, then the second is made from any cacti. A caterpillar often floats at the bottom of a bottle of mescal. Some consider this to be a publicity stunt, while others see it as a tribute to some tradition. They also say that the presence of a caterpillar in alcohol guarantees the quality of the drink and its strength. This means that it is at least 40 degrees, otherwise the insect would simply decompose. And it is customary to eat mezcal not with salt, but with dried caterpillars.
Mexico is a small, sparsely populated country. It is the 15th largest country on the planet, in which area would fit Spain, Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany. And 114 million people live here, which is the 11th indicator in the world.
Mexico is a backward country in terms of technology.Some tourists, arriving here, are interested in whether there is electricity here and whether the television works. Mexico has not been technologically backward since the beginning of the last century. There are electric cars, computers, nuclear power, and schools and hospitals are not much inferior to European ones.
Mexicans are immigrating en masse to the United States. It is believed that hundreds of thousands of Mexicans move to the United States every year. There are stories about undermining, sneaking from patrols, or just driving a truck. However, in reality, everything is far from the case. Today it travels to the north about the same as in the distant 1970. And the ratio of Mexicans entering and leaving the United States is approximately equal. This can be attributed to a recession in the American economy, but it could also reflect changes in Mexico itself. If in the 70s women had an average of seven children, today this number has dropped to two.
Mexico is a corrupt country. For the country, corruption, especially in government, is an important problem. The country seems to be a kind of Wild West, where there are constant skirmishes, and officials live on bribes. In fact, the level of corruption is similar to Brazil, Argentina and even Italy. But tourists are not afraid to make romantic trips to Rome or Venice because of this. This is a local problem that hardly affects travelers. Attempts by some politicians to fight corruption have led to outbreaks of violence, but those who do not participate in this process have nothing to fear.
The history of Mexico is inextricably linked with the Aztecs. When the Spaniards arrived in these places, they found a powerful empire of the Aztecs here. Now there is a myth that these Indians were on the territory of Mexico always before the arrival of the Europeans. However, it would be a mistake to ignore dozens of other ethnic groups with their own long and rich history. The empire itself emerged from the union of several tribes. The Aztecs called themselves Mexica (which gave the name to the country), as well as tenochka or tlaltelolca, depending on their hometown. The Indians quickly conquered the neighboring city-states. The empire appeared in 1427, just 100 years before its conquest by the Spaniards. It is worth noting two more important civilizations in these places. The city of Tiotihuacan in 100 AD had a population of 125 thousand people, being the largest in the Americas. Its ancient pyramids were for some reason abandoned in the 8th century, who built them and why is unknown. There are traces of the ancient Mayan civilization in Mexico, no less mysterious. This people lived in the southern part of Mexico, they knew about the stars and natural cycles.