Eight Annoying-As-Fuck Things New Travelers Do, Part 2 of 2
5. Talking about HOW CHEAP everything is in front of local people who see it as completely normal.
When I first moved to Mexico City, I didn’t realize I was moving to Mexico City. On a sunny Wednesday morning in March 2020, I was laid off from the travel company where I had worked for nearly four years. Travel wasn’t even possible anymore because of the pandemic, so I understood. Ultimately, I felt grateful to be in Mexico City when it happened and to have a partner to build a quarantine nest with. In those early days of unemployment and quarantine panic, María, my Mexican partner, showed me an Instagram account (which is no longer active) called “Mexico is so cheap.” Back then it was a very popular account, essentially dedicated to making fun of gringos for their never-ending chorus of “Oh mah Gawd, Mexico is sohhhhh cha-EAHP!”
It’s true — Mexico is considerably more affordable than anywhere in the United States, and if you’re coming from San Francisco, I understand that things basically feel free. But not to Mexican people. To Mexican people, it’s normal. To Mexican people, their prices make sense, and the prices in Europe, the U.S.A, Australia, and Canada are insanely high. There’s even an expression María taught me that’s used when Mexican families travel north of the border on vacations and shopping trips to the ol’ US of A: “El que convierte no se divierte!” This basically translates to, “One who converts [currencies, in their head] has no fun.”
After living in pesos for over two years, I know this feeling intimately now. On a recent trip to Vegas, I couldn’t help but think, when I was handed the bill at Denny’s, Two fucking breakfast plates cost over 1000 pesos, fuck off! For our very first meal in Vegas, we stopped at a famous sandwich place inside of a casino and shared a single $20 Rueben. There isn’t one sandwich — NOT ONE — in the country of Mexico that costs over $20, and this was the first thing we ate off the airplane. I had to just let go. In general, I have to stop thinking about money entirely to now have any shot of enjoying time spent in…