14. Best speed-limit signs
When a Mexican is killed in a traffic accident, relatives mark the site with a roadside tombstone.
15. Best Mexican driving joke we know
This was told by Chi Chi Rodriguez: A tourist is riding in a taxi and the driver goes screaming through a red light. The tourist says. "Are you crazy? You just went through a red light!" And the cab driver says, "It's O.K., my brother does it all the time." Then he went flying through another red light and the tourist screams, "C'mon, we're gonna get killed!" And the driver says, "It's O.K., my brother does it all the time." Then he comes to a green light and he stops. And the tourist says, "Why'd you stop? The light is green." And the cabbie says. "My brother might be coming."
16. Best book on Mexico
Carl Franz's The People's Guide to Mexico
costs $14.95 but is really priceless. Among countless nuggets, Franz tells you which is the inside and which is the outside of a tortilla. (The outside is thicker, like the crust on bread.)
17. Maybe you should wish for more plates
At Christmastime along the Pacific, they make bu�uelos, a thin, crispy pastry covered in honey. After the last spoonful is eaten, you are supposed to smash the plate underfoot and make a wish for the coming New Year.
18. The Corona curtain
Why do Americans drink Mexico's Corona beer like Kool-Aid, when a Mexican wouldn't touch the stuff if he had just crossed the Baja in coonskin pajamas? We couldn't figure it out either, and Corona wouldn't tell us. Some say the wells they use for the domestic stuff are different than the ones used for exported beer. Some say it is the different pasteurization standards in the U.S. All we know is, when in Mexico, the beer to drink is Pacifico. And don't ask for a lime.
19. Workable Mexican toast besides salud!
Another useful nugget from Franz: !Arriba! !Abajo! !Al centro! !Adentro! (Up! Down! To the middle! Inside!)
20. A word about clocks
There aren't any. Or, at least, many. After all, who has time for clocks? So much sun and surf and beach and beverage. Your average coastal local would no sooner wear a watch than a monocle. In Careyes, it's a policy: No clocks provided. Not in the hotel rooms, not in the restaurants, not at the pool.
At first, of course, we found this quite impossible. One of my companions begged for a clock, bugged housekeeping for one, bothered assistant hotel managers—to no avail. He might as well have been at the Gnome Hilton in Zurich asking for Coppertone.
But by the end of our trip almost two weeks later, he had forgotten clocks existed. You could have asked him what time it was and he would have replied, "Friday. Or at least Thursday." He no longer gave a tamale about train schedules or Filofaxes or the 30-seconds-or-less express lane at Wendy's. He had become completely unaccountable to his Seiko.