In most respects living in Mexico is not very different from living in the United States. This will disappoint many people, but the physical and cultural proximity to the US — much more pronounced in a resort town like Puerto Vallarta — means if you squint your eyes and don’t think about it much there’s not a huge difference between living here and say, Cleveland.
Like I said, when you say it like that, it’s disappointing.
Still, we enjoy it here and there’s comfort in familiarity at times. When it’s all said and done if we successfully move to Thailand in three years or so like we plan to, this will have been a necessary step to have made that possible not only financially, but spiritually as well.
Because no matter what, there are still some things that just aren’t the same which you inevitably miss when you leave the United States. This is an incomplete list of some of those.
Since we’re returning to Las Vegas next weekend to get our first microchip injections/tracking chips, this seems like as appropriate a time as any to discuss what I’m missing the most in Mexico.
Or in my case, Diet Mountain Dew.
You may not be a Dew fan, you may even hate it, but you can’t deny that it’s woven into the fabric of America between sponsoring NASCAR in the 80s and ubiquitous TV advertising to several generations of American teens.
As it turns out, it is indeed very literally an American phenomenon only. You can’t get the stuff anywhere other than the United States (and presumably Canada?) I had noticed this before on trips to Europe and it registered with me but only to the extent that it meant I had to stick to Diet Coke (or now, Coke Zero).
After three months without I can report that I miss it very, very much and looking forward to that first sip of faux-citrus fizziness. It could very possibly be my first purchase back on American soil after we clear customs at Orange County Airport next week.
Of course you can get beer in Mexico, but if your tastes run to anything other than domestic Mexican lagers you’re bound to be disappointed and/or get sticker shock.
Nicer grocery stores carry most common American brands like Bud, Miller, etc. though at prices higher than what you would pay in the United States, presumably because of import tariffs. (There are some American beers that are apparently produced in Mexico like Michelob Ultra which are ubiquitous at bars and restaurants and priced similarly to Mexican beers.)
As far as independent breweries or microbrews, forget about it more or less. If you look hard enough you’ll find some like Stone, Deschutes or similarly large west coast breweries but at prices so laughably high it’s not worth it (to me). Like about 300 pesos ($15) for a six-pack. For the same price, you can get two 12-packs of a premier Mexican beer like Modelo or Pacifico (or Corona for you maniacs who like that).
Microbrews are not exactly cheap in the United States either, but any decent bar should have a huge selection to choose from which might include 20 (or more) taps. There’s essentially no such thing as beer from a tap in Mexico with the exception of the local breweries (which are quite good, at least).
OK, hear me out.
The food here, especially the smaller taquerias, is outstanding and authentic so why would I miss Taco Bell?
As it turns out, Taco Bell is NOT really Mexican food. Tanya has been saying this for years and I always thought it a bit of an exaggeration but it turns out it’s true. There’s no possible way to replicate the enjoyment of that mixture of meat-like substance with nacho cheese sauce in whatever formulation you’re craving (nachos, tacos, burritos — it’s all the same stuff just in a different package, itself comforting in its own way).
There’s almost nothing better after you’ve had a long night out on the town drinking some cold ones and there’s no close Mexican analogue. Yes, the numerous taco trucks here fill that hole somewhat and their offerings are superb, but they’re different and there’s no getting around that.
Don’t blame you for thinking this is me trolling about the weather here, but I’m playing it straight.
This is probably a case of “be careful what you wish for” since the rainy season here is fast approaching this June, but it has been roughly about 82 and sunny every of the 100 or so days we’ve lived here so far.
People who haven’t lived in Las Vegas have a vast misunderstanding about the weather there and I don’t want to spend too much time getting in the weeds on that but there is absolutely distinct seasons in Las Vegas and within those seasons occasionally cloudy or rainy days. Sure, it’s sunny about 320 days a year, but the other 45 days are scattered so effectively through the year that you never really feel the “sameness” of the weather like you do here.
Not having lived here through the rainy season I might be lamenting ever wishing for a rainy day and eagerly awaiting the monotonous sameness of 82 and sunny every day come October.
For now though, I wouldn’t mind a gloomy, cloudy day.