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Mexican people are wonderful. Theirs is truly a multicultural society. They have met this head on and strive as a nation under one flag to work together for a free prosperous society.
The Mexicans you meet will undoubtedly be hard working individuals with strong family ties. Mexicans are extremely family oriented. Children are adored here and much attention is paid to the old and disabled.
Mexico has a rich culture, a fascinating history and is nothing short of magical. The people reflect this and do so matching western contemporary styles. You may see a young boy with baggy pants and a skateboard sitting at a computer terminal in an Internet café in a remote village while his mother, in traditional Maya clothing, waits outside.
Something you may find surprising is that people want to talk to you. This will occur often. You will also notice yourself saying hello a lot more than you are accustomed to!
Mexico is a complicated place. Many people have sacrificed their lives in the fight for freedom and equality. Ruthless invading forces have left bad memories and stigmas that still surface to this day.
Less and less women opt for the traditional huipil, western fashion prevails instead. TV is everywhere. The modern world exists all over Mexico integrated with traditional lifestyles. What will evolve will be truly interesting.
Mexico is populated by Meztecs, which is a mixture of Indian and foreign ancestry, as well as many indigenous Indian races the most well known being the Maya and Aztecs.
It is a common held belief that all the Maya disappeared or were killed by the conquistadors. This is entirely false. Yes the conquistadors did attempt to conquer the Maya and every other Indian race they came upon, but were highly unsuccessful. The conquistador's savage ruthlessness is no myth, however, their acts of conquest are, as well as numerous other fallacies.
They report that the Aztecs were bloodthirsty heathens hell-bent on mass sacrifices. This is a total fabrication and it was the conquistadors who were conducting mass extermination. This hangs heavily on those left to pick up the pieces of a massacred race.
The remnants of these societies exist, not as ruins for tourists to visit but in the sparkling ray of hope that exists in each individual eye that calls Mexico their home. These cultures still flourish, maybe not as elaborate as they once did however there is a transition going on, a rebuilding.
SOME PRACTICAL ADVICE
Even though the person you are speaking to appears to understand English or German or Italian, keep in mind that they are also learning and will quite often not really understand what you are saying even though they say they do. This leads to confusion and the belief that the person is dumb. This is not true and the person may be trying very hard to help you and there is simply a language barrier.
Do not think that because a person does not have a big house, nice car or lots of material things that this person is poor. Standard of living is a relative thing. Pity is not recommended, as the person who has no shoes may be happier than you are. My best friend in Mexico once said to me that his hammock led a more complicated life, so true.
When you see a beautiful Mayan women and wish to take her picture, ask first. If she has a baby do not ask to take the picture and by all means do not secretly take a picture of her or her baby.
Many Mexicans are devout Catholics and if you criticize the church while they may not appear to be openly offended by this, you can be assured that they are not happy with you and this will put you in not so good graces with them.
Feel free to ask for help, from anybody, if you need it. Our rule of thumb when approaching strangers is to go to the roughest looking guy in the crowd, the guy who you would think to be the least likely person to assist you. This always works great, as he is delighted you chose him and often bewildered that you did. We have never been mislead!
When you encounter a situation that makes no sense to you do not take your frustration out on the poor person trying to help you. Be friendly, shake your head and laugh it off, you're on vacation.