Melaque Adventures, Part 9, 10 Lessons Learned

It's always fun to try to pull out a few lessons learned from an extended stay in a place. While sitting over a warm plate of food at Roosters this morning I started reflecting on few pieces of wisdom acquired during our 7 days in Melaque.

1. It rains in Mexico - This may be an obvious one, but coming prepared with a light waterproof jacket goes a long way to providing some vital protection should things get wet for a period of days.

2. Washing fresh food is key - While they have potable water coming through the taps, the level of trust in its safety is considerably low. Locals use bottled water (really cheap, only 30 pesos for 5 gallons) and a few drops of iodine.

3. Bring fishing rod - I found out that fishing opportunities right from the shore are numerous. In terms of worrying about getting a license, it's just not worth any concern. (License? We don't need no stinking license!)

4. Pufferfish good, porcupine fish bad - I learned this lesson from Mike, an internist from Medicine Hat who was at the dinner party we went to the other night. I told the story about getting stabbed by the pufferfish and how concerned I was that I was going to die. He laughed and assured me that there was nothing to worry about. Had it been a porcupine fish that I encountered, I would probably not be around to be typing this blog post.

5. Siesta time is real - in this authentic Mexican community, most business roll things up between 3 pm and 5:30 pm to go and have a siesta. Trying to go shopping during these hours is probably not the most efficient use of your time.

6. The toilet paper thing - this baffled us the first year in Mexico, the idea that toilet paper is not meant to go in the toilet in this country. Their sewage systems are not designed to handle massive amount of paper products in the waste stream. Beside every toilet is a conveniently placed waste basket. Using it seems weird at first, but you get used to it.

7. Bring binoculars - I realized that oftentimes, the best things worth looking at are far away.  Having a set of binoculars handy to see that exotic bird off in the distance would be very useful.

8. Riding the waves - it took me several days to learn that the biggest and best waves are created when a sizable receding wave meets an incoming large wave. That conflagration can result in maximum height and distance in terms of body surfing.

9. The power of Hola - when in doubt, meeting or passing by locals, saying "Hola" works everytime in createing a brief but positive connection. Even little children love saying hello to you as you walk by.

10. Don't bring a lot of clothes - packing in a lot of clothing for a Mexican holiday is a futile endeavor. You can get by with very little and if ever there is anything you need, multiple shops can provide it at a low cost. So packing light is a luxury you can afford when traveling south.

I'm sure there is more, but these are the lessons that rise to the top.


  1. Those are good lessons.
    Last year when I came to Inlet Beach, Florida I learned a couple of valuable lessons too. Bring the binoculars, which I did this time. Bring a penlight flashlight, which came in handy the first time I grilled on the deck. The owners have no light on the deck outside and by 5:30 it was dark and I couln't see if the shrimp and scallops were cooked. My little flashlight did the trick. If there is anything that you need to purchase, there are a couple of large sized goodwill stores close by--I got a kettle to boil water for tea for $1. Also, sometimes you are looking for something to do at night time--this time I printed off the globe and mail annual crossword in 24"x24", rolled it up and have been working on that on and off.


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