One thing that will strike you when you visit the Yucatan is the people. They are quick to smile or offer help. There is a genuine warmth that perhaps is born of the easy climate.
Many people in the tourist services speak very good English, but don’t let that stop you
from digging out your rusty high school Spanish skills! We have found that many of the
people love to teach you a bit of their language, so don’t be shy about asking about pronunciations or usage. They will often in turn ask you about English words, as they
work on improving their communication with the tourists. I speak a bit of Spanish and love to try to talk to non English speaking Mexican people! As I begin in Spanish, I am frequently understood, but the trouble comes when they answer me back! Yikes, rapid fire conversation ensues and I am quickly lost. Oh well. I try to get them to slow down and can usually pick out the gist of the communication. Even with just a few words in common, sign language and gestures, we are usually able to get our needs met, obtain directions, or learn about the speaker in some way. Their proud smiles and shy nods of the head are heartwarming! Don’t rush to judgment about someone’s clothing or mode of transportation. Here the values run deeper, with family and friendship holding high value. Work to earn the respect of your Mexican hosts who serve you so graciously and you will be rewarded with the warmth that keeps us returning to Mexico year after year.