Mexico didn’t disappoint. There’s a lot more to it than beaches. Mexico is rich in culture, history and natural beauty, even more so than I’d previously imagined. The people were overwhelmingly friendly and I was usually treated graciously and with kindness. I forgot to mention an incident the other day in Merida. When someone shortchanged me in a shop (which I never noticed) they chased after me down the street to return the 20 pesos (80p) I was owed and apologised. A week never seems to pass without hearing a horror story about some sort of grim incident occurring in Mexico. The regular law-abiding Mexican should be separated from the drug cartel gangsters who’ve devastated some parts of the country. Idiots such as Donald Trump and Top Gear don’t help the matter with their ridiculously xenophobic stereotyping. Obviously a tour holiday isn’t going to take you to any particularly dangerous places but I never really felt unsafe at any point.
The tour itself was excellent. Organised trips are usually a bit more expensive than travelling independently but here we got to see all sorts of stuff that would not have been that easy to otherwise do. You can hardly complain at £50 a day for transport, accommodation and a guide. However that price included a sale discount and was in the pre-Brexit world (which I know I promised not to mention again) so it’s probably closer to £70 now. Tours certainly have their place. You may not need to use such services in Europe, North America, South-East Asia or Australia. However they can be great in places where it is not so easy to travel, language barriers exist or there are potential safety issues.
Without reeling out the cliches, what makes a good tour is the people on it. On this one everyone was nice. And I’m not just saying that in case any one stumbles upon this blog! We became buddies in no time and there were certainly no arseholes, something that could potentially happen in such a situation. I grew to like Mark the tour guide as the trip went on. He’s a great organiser with everything running smoothly, which can sometimes be easier said than done in Mexico. Despite coming from the Mexican outpost of San Diego, Mark obviously likes the country and knows loads of good places that we would probably never have otherwise found. He can come across as a bit grumpy but once you get to know him he has good sense of humour. On a couple of occasions I saw him go beyond what would be reasonably expected to help people so in my book he’s a decent fella.
After these sorts of tours there’s usually a few stragglers left around but most people left today to either go home or carry on to wherever they were off to next. All whom remained to go out for some tea were Dutch Mike, Nicola from the Preston metropolitan area and myself. Then it was back to the world of the hostels and those deathtrap bunk beds with no rails on, although at least it had air conditioning which is nice if you fancy getting some sleep when it’s 30C!