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Have more fun by recognizing local
customs and history
Remember that you are in a foreign country, and customs are different. The
best way to enjoy your stay is to be courteous and respectful to everyone--
regardless of his or her station in life. Mexico is an old-fashioned country
where its citizens value traditional ideals of honesty, respect and devotion.
Crime rates are low, and visitors are usually safer in Mazatlán than in their
own cities.
Language: It will help a lot if you learn to use por favor (please) and gracias
(thanks) even if you don't know another word of Spanish. If you can speak
Spanish, remember that when addressing a stranger, it is best to use "usted"
and its corresponding verb form. Once the person you are speaking with
switches to the familiar, then you can address him in the same way. By doing
so you are showing respect.
"No hablo español," is a comment to use when you do not speak Spanish.
Ask the person if he or she can speak English, Habla Ingles, por favor? If not,
don't get excited. Most places in the tourist areas have someone who is bilin-
gual and will translate. Just don't go into a business and expect everybody to
speak English. Remember that you are in another country and they have no
requirement to speak your native tongue. Don't make this common mistake:
shouting in English does not translate to Spanish--no matter how loud. If
using a taxi, carry a map and point to your location, or write the address and
show the driver. I know very little Spanish, but have found ways to communi-
cate with people who could not speak English. A little pocket dictionary or
electronic translator could come in handy.
I decided to take the advice of friends and am taking Spanish lessons. It
seems that my vocabulary is expanding daily.
Etiquette: Mexicans value the family above all else. They spend a great deal
of time with their family circle. Restaurants in Mexico, unlike some in the U.S.,
do not discourage children, so Mazatlecos take small children out to nice eating