establishments. Don't be afraid to take your young children out to the best eat-
ing-places in town.
Mexicans are the most hand shaking, hugging, kissing people I know. If you
are a woman, shake the hand of both another woman and man when meeting
for the first time. With friends and acquaintances, both women and men, a hug
and a kiss on the cheek are appropriate. If you are a man, shake the hand of the
man or woman you are greeting for the first time. If the woman is a friend or
acquaintance, a hug and kiss on the cheek is customary. It may seem stilted at
first, but practice makes perfect. I see Mexican friends every day, and every day
they shake my hand.
It is quite an honor to be invited to a Mexican family's home for dinner or
a party. It is the custom to take a small gift such as flowers or wine to the host.
Discussions should be limited to family, friends, or the beautiful city of
Mazatlán. Leave the business talk for another day. You will earn their trust and
admiration if you take an interest in their values and culture.
Machismo: Is sometimes a Mexican man's obsession to prove his masculin-
ity. When confronted by a male braggart, remain cool and in control. If he is
yelling, stay calm, speak softly and get out of the area as soon as possible.
Mexico has its share of road rage, so be unprovocative while driving. While in
a bar, use common sense.
Machismo requires even more cautious behavior for women. Mexican
women's liberation is miles behind that of her compatriots to the north. Few
women occupy positions of power in Mexico. Wear bathing suits and provoca-
tive clothing only at the beach. Women should not go out in the evening unless
with friends. Mexican men think a woman alone is looking for male compan-
ionship. If alone and a Mexican man is "hitting on you," (and you don't want
to be picked up) ignore him. Even a "no" response may be taken as encour-
agement. If there is a Mexican man that you would like to meet, arrange an
introduction through a friend or relative.
Business culture: Business culture in Mazatlán is almost the exact opposite
of that of the U.S. In Mexico, communicating is mostly indirect and subtle.
Being redundant and diplomatic shows courtesy. The conversations are more
about relationships than information and facts. On the other hand, we are
more familiar with the U.S. business style of directness and frankness.
Mexicans see our business style as insensitive and rude.
It has been my experience that the more I get to know my Mazatleco busi-
ness friends, the easier it is to do business. The reason is because I have finally
understood their culture. Don't misunderstand, I am still a skilled negotiator,
but now I have a lot more fun negotiating with the Mexican business people.
M a z a t l a n I S P a r a d i s e