Everyone wants to be Marco Polo and discover the wider world around them. It’s a big place, this international playground. Travelling the world it real living.
Like everything else in this life – travelling internationally is not all it’s touted to be.
We live in a digital world, don’t we? It’s a smaller place in light of the World Wide Web and the connectibility of computers, smart phones and tablets.
And then there’s Mexico.
“Si. We have Wi-Fi.”
For a price. But, hey, we can use four devices for $30 for three days. No limitations on time. We’ll get our money’s worth with the six of us swapping around to keep our Facebook friends in the loop.
“That user ID is taken. Choose another.”
So I can pay the $30 again? What happened to this whole four devices promise? Apparently, something was lost in translation.
Or they just want to collect another fee.
Disclaimer: My iPad happily connected to WiFi in Amsterdam and Munich.
Doritos are not Doritos
I don’t even like Doritos. But my kids do. And something I like even less than flavored chips of any kind? Listening to my sons complain about the “spicy nacho-cheese Doritos.”
We bought them at Costco. They said “queso” flavored. Upon closer examination – outside the store and after the bag is torn asunder – there is a picture of a jalapeno beside the hunk of cheese.
And it’s not just the Doritos. The milk tastes funny. The margarine stinks. There’s no Mountain Dew to be had this far south (in restaurants). Life will never be the same now that all these foods have been defiled.
VISA is where you want to be. Master Card makes its way. American Express defies the American borders. Discover? No, no Discover.
I thought Cortes discovered Mexico in the sixteenth century. In Cabo, I’ve found an Un-Discovered country.
And of course, that’s the only credit card I brought. That and my Visa-branded debit cards. Which work, but there’s only so much money in my checking account. And since I can’t access the Internet, there will be no online transfers to cover my fun and food while I’m vacationing in this no-man’s land.
Disclaimer: I had no troubles using Discover in Germany.
Make it All Inclusive
First, it’s the total coverage insurance for the rental car. We reserved with this particular company because their prices were so much less.
Because they conveniently didn’t mention that full coverage car insurance would be required to drive their vehicle off the lot. To the tune of half again the price to rent the ugly white minivan for a week.
At the resort, they offer a lovely bracelet. $90 per person per day and all meals and drinks are included in your stay. Yes, it’s all-inclusive. You can even visit restaurants at our sister resorts.
I’m pretty sure we can eat for less than $540 per day, don’t you? Do people really buy this thing? We saw the bracelets adorning people’s arms, so yes, they do.
On a smaller scale, let’s talk about a buffet. It sounds like a good deal. $29 per person for an all-you-can-eat buffet – prime rib, pasta, salads, fruits and desserts.
We arrive at the appointed time. The hostess says, “It’s an open bar. Do you wish to purchase all-you-can-drink for $14 per person?”
“No thank you.”
Another hostess leads our group to a table. Again, the all-you-can drink option is highly recommended. We don’t drink alcohol, so we pass. After all, how expensive can a few sodas and bottles of water be?
The server appears. “Amigos, I suggest you purchase the all-you-can-drink option. It will save you money. Only $14.”
No thank you.
And the sales pitch continues. Really? We’re being pressured to buy the all-you-can-drink add-on to our buffet?
We thought “no” meant the same thing in every language. My Spanish is rusty, but I’m positive that “no” means no as surely as “si” means yes. Why is this drink thing such an issue? (More on this in another post.)
Disclaimer: We never felt any all-you-can-drink pressure in Europe.
Traffic Laws (or Lack thereof)
In my world, a solid line should be treated as a wall. It’s a barrier. Don’t cross it unless you want to smash your fender (or worse).
A solid line to the right of the traveling lanes is supposed to be a shoulder. The only reason you drive onto that portion of the road is because your car is broke. Or there are flashing red and blue lights behind you. Or you need to stop and take that call.
In Mexico, I have no idea what a solid line to the right means. A solid line in the center of the highway appears to mean “don’t pass” (thus, my wall imagery still works).
What I consider the side of the road appeared to be a merge lane. Vehicles traveled in it as if it was just another part intended for vehicular travel.
No need to pull over there if your car broke. Just put on your hazards. Maybe stick a friend behind your heap of immobility to wave his hat so passing traffic would swerve around the hunk in the far left lane or even the right lane. The “merging” lane? No, that was no place to put an immovable object. It might get rammed by people trying to get up to speed from the strangely un-exit-like exits (and entrances).
Lack of signage is another issue which makes international driving problematic. The fact it’s in a foreign language would offer an opportunity to decipher the proper direction.
In fact, rules of any sort appear to be something akin to the Pirate Code. If they exist, they’re there as more of a guideline than anything multiple parties operating motor vehicles will adhere to all at once.
World traveling? Great, but it has a down side. This short list of five detestable things is obviously not exhaustive.
What is your experience? What other negatives have you experienced while traveling internationally?