Spring break is something every college student looks towards to. For some it’s having a week off of school or knowing the year it almost over and there are also people who plan a vacation with their friends. I was the third one; I started planning a vacation with my best friends way back October, I wanted it to be one I would forever remember. So where did we decided to go? Cancun, Mexico!
Within a month we had our flights and hotel booked and were counting down the days. When choosing our destination a beach and sunshine were a must, especially living in Oregon. We also wanted to choose a destination that is popular for spring breakers so we would be with people our age knowing they wanted to have the same experience we did. Something we never thought about or discussed was the fact that in Cancun they speak Spanish, we do not speak Spanish.
On the flight you would assume they would say everything in both Spanish and English, they didn’t. I had no idea when we were told to remain in our seats, flight times or when we were descending. We landed in Guadalajara for a short layover and of course you have to go through customs. My five friends and I got off the plane and got in line at immigration, once through we then had to find our bags, go through customs, re-check our bags, go back through security and find our gate. That doesn’t seem that hard when you speak the same language, but when every person working and every sign is in Spanish it’s a struggle. At that moment we knew that we would have to start learning and speaking some Spanish.
Luckily that was the hardest part of the Spanish barrier we encountered all week. Everyone at the resort spoke English and most people at markets and restaurants did as well, so that was extremely helpful. Even though we had the communication part figured out we came across our money problems.
If you go online and search the exchange rate it will tell you one US dollar is equal to 15.39 pesos, so you would think that is correct, ha wrong. Over the week we thought we had managed well with our money until we came across a couple problems. It seemed everywhere we went currency was changing and nothing made sense. The grocery store was pretty accurate $1 for 15 pesos but once we got on the bus it was either $1 or 10 pesos for a bus ticket. We went out to dinner one night and were told the exchange rate was $1 for 12.50 pesos… Finally we went to the hotel lobby and asked and we told it varies from parts of the city and what you’re buying. I didn’t even know that was possible, so everywhere I went I swear they were making up their own exchange rates and all I could do was say okay.
Was it an experience of a lifetime, absolutely! Were there times of struggle and being naïve, absolutely! To me that’s what helped make it fun, trying to order a meal with no tomatoes and adding onions in Spanish and using your hands is hard but it’s also funny. It was entertaining immersing ourselves into their culture and lifestyle. It was a week to remember and also a lesson as well, keep in mind that once you leave the country it’s up to you to learn their ways of living not the other way around.
¡ Verte la próxima vez, adiós México !