Travel Tips for:

Your Passport
As a safety precaution, you should make a Xerox copy of your passport.  Keep this copy SEPARATE from your original when traveling (for the obvious reason).  Most likely you would not need this backup, but if so, it can simplify the documentation process of a lost/stolen passport.

Mexican Cuisine
tamales
:  meat or sweet filling rolled with fresh masa (ground corn soaked in lime, used also in tortilla and soups), then wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf and steamed
tortillas:  a Mexican basic.  Fried and used s a garnish for tortilla and Tarascan soup.  Soft tortillas become tacos when filled with any number of meats
enchiladas:  tortillas that are stuffed, rolled, covered in a sauce and garnished
quesadillas:  tortillas filled with cheese and lightly fried
flautas:  tortillas rolled into a narrow tube, stuffed with chicken then deep fried
tostados:  small, fried corn tortillas topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, chicken and sauce

Tipping in Restaurants
Each country has its own expectations and rules of etiquette that make its culture unique - Mexico is no exception.  Here are a few tips to make all your dining experiences in Cancun good ones:
*To get a waiter’s attention, wave or raise a hand to gesture to him.   Don’t motion with an index finger, as this is considered demeaning, and may cause the waiter to accidentally "forget" about that particular table.
*To get a check at the end of the meal, scribbling on the hand (to imply writing) is an international sign.
*If the tip is not already included, it should be between 10% and 20% of the bill.

Secrets of Healthy Travel
Although Mexico is a wonderful country, some travelers succumb to the famous traveler’s stomach ailment called turista, or Montezuma’s revenge.  It is important to note, however, that the occurrence of afflicted tourists is much lower than it once was, due to improvements in technology.  The majority of hotels in Cancun have water purifiers on site, and signs are posted in hotel bathrooms to put tourists’ mind at ease. If tourists have any questions at all about the quality of the water in their hotel, they can ask the concierge or other hotel employees.

An illness that was once thought to be caused by drinking impure water is now believed to be from a combination of factors, including climate, time difference and fatigue due to altitude. Follwing are a few simple precautions to avoid the possibility of illness:

Do wash hands without fail before eating

Don’t be too experimental with new foods on the first few days after arrival

Don’t buy food from street vendors

Don’t, during the first few days, eat any fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled, daily products or uncooked fish (ceviche)

Do brush teeth with purified bottled water (agua purificada), available everywhere (and in most hotels)

Do drink at least two liters of bottled water per day.  Be sure the bottle is sealed when purchased

Don’t overdo it the first few days - fatigue makes one more susceptible to illness

Do increase time in the sun gradually

Don’t consume more alcohol than you normally would

Note: If you should become ill, stay put! You will not get better if you are spending the day running around.

A Few Hints for Hotel Stays
Express check-out is rare, so it is recommended that you check out the night before to make sure the bill is right.  This way, any problems can be taken care of right away, and not while you are rushing to catch a flight home.

Most tourist-class properties have on-premises water purification systems.(a sticker on the bathroom mirror usually informs guests of this). If you are concerned, check with the front desk.

Air conditioning is always offered by hotels with at least a four-star rating.  Some hotels may have an automatic shut off system that kicks in whenever the room's sliding glass door is opened.

In-room movie channels, ESPN, CNN, MTV and other stations are available at most tourist-class hotels.

Bring along plenty of American one-dollar bills for tipping.   The usual rules apply here:  bellmen should receive one to two dollars a bag and guest-room maids should rceive one to two dollars per day.

It is common in many Cancun hotels to check in/check out pool and beach towels by giving your guest room numbers.  Towels not returned at the end of the each day will be charged to the room.

If staying at an all inclusive resort make sure you make dinner reservations asap each day or for the week in advance as the better restaurants tend to fill rapidly.

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Roy & Nancy

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