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Author Topic: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)  (Read 20802 times)

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Offline Basquo

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Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« on: June 27, 2008, 09:35:20 PM »
I'm starting this thread in anticipation of info from my friend Sativa who lived in Mexico for 6 years and just returned last summer. I'm hoping that she'll give us some good advice about handling money/cash/ATMs in Mexico City.

So here's my contributions so far:

1) I read online that there might be a lot of panhandlers, and it's best to not acknowledge their presence if you don't intend to help them.

2) My mom always made us eat yogurt every day for a month before crossing the border. She said it would keep us from getting Montezuma's Revenge (traveller's diarrhea.) So far, it's worked!

Anyone have some advice to add?

Offline Jody

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2008, 09:42:47 PM »
Well some people have of course recommended bottled water and avoiding ice in drinks and eating cooked foods....I told my internist I was going to Mexico and she also gave me a prescription for an antibiotic to take along just in case.

Jody
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 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

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Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2008, 10:02:44 PM »
When I lived in Honduras, not only did I only drink bottled water but I also washed my hands and face with bottled water, shaved and brushed my teeth with it, too.  I also NEVER drank things made with local water like tea, coffee, and juice (unless it came from a container - yes, I made them show it to me). And, remember that mixed drinks generally have ice in them. I also used a ton of hand sanitizer.  I was the only one who never got sick.

So,  I'll be traveling with cootie killer and wet wipes, both of which I'm more than happy to share.

For the plane, I'm not checking any luggage.  Mini and i both have suitcases that meet the FAA regulations as carry-on's.  And, ladies, purses are not considered as carry-on, so bring a big one.  I'll have an extra set of clothes close by just in case of any accidents.  Also, if you have dietary demands, like Mini's diabetes, you'll probably want to bring snacks, drink mixes, ect. with you.  I'm not sure how easy you'll be able to find it there.
When packing, clothes take up less room if you roll them.  It also stays-off the wrinkles.

Mum
www.watoto.com
www.MotherBearProject.org
"Whichever way you throw me, i will stand"
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today...it's already tomorrow in Australia"  Charles Schultz

Offline RAB

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2008, 11:23:58 AM »
Hey Basquo

Great idea to start this thread.

Like Jody, my doc wrote me a script for 500 mg of Cipro, and told me to take one the minute I get off the plane, and then take one daily.

Regarding ATMs and such, I think MJ has a lot of information on this that he sent me a while back. 

I'm not too clear on this water/ice/coffee thing.  I was told to only drink bottled water and not use ice.  So does that mean that any cocktails (uhum) have to be drank warm?  YUCK!  What about iced tea?  What about coffee in restaurants?  Are those all off limits too?

The other thing my doc (who coincidentally is getting on the plane I'll be getting off of to return from the IAC) said to avoid, was street food, and raw fruits and veggies.

RAB

BTW--I'll be bringing a backpack this time as my "carry on" so that we can have something to carry the bottled water in when we are out and about.

Offline Basquo

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2008, 02:39:52 PM »
I'm glad you guys mentioned the antibiotics.  I hadn't thought of that, btu I will mention it to my doc when I see hime in a couple of weeks.

Too bad about the street food warning, though.  When I was in Queretaro some of the best snacks were found in the evenings when mamacitas would open up their kitchen windows and sell tasty little things right from the oven or grill or whatever.  I can't even remember what all they had, maybe gorditas and tamales, I'm not sure because it was so long ago. I'll bet in a city that size we'd probably have to wander around for a while to find stuff like that.

The Davids and Bonnie and I bought some questionable dumplings from a sketchy little place in Chinatown last year, and damn, were they good!I snacked for hours on those.

Offline RAB

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2008, 05:38:42 PM »


Too bad about the street food warning, though.  When I was in Queretaro some of the best snacks were found in the evenings when mamacitas would open up their kitchen windows and sell tasty little things right from the oven or grill or whatever.  I can't even remember what all they had, maybe gorditas and tamales, I'm not sure because it was so long ago. I'll bet in a city that size we'd probably have to wander around for a while to find stuff like that.



Sometimes I think my doc is a little too "organic".  I'm not sure if he's eaten anything store bought in the last 20 years (he's a tenacious gardener, vegan), so perhaps his caution is reflected in that.

I'd hate to miss experiencing the full culture and ambiance of Mexico City unnecessarily.  Yet at the same time, I don't want to travel all that way and be holed up in my room worshipping the white Buddha.   ::)

Personally, if I see something from a street vendor that really appeals to me, the aroma was mouth watering, I might make a judgement call based upon the sanitation.  (things like plastic gloves etc.)  Then again, I may regret it if I do.   ???

Either way, I'm sooooo looking forward to this trip.  Not just the pleasure of seeing old friends and making new ones, but also visiting a city and culture I never ever thought I'd have the opportunity to experience.

RAB

(Who still doesn't know a Peso from a Peccadillo!)


Offline David_CA

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2008, 06:04:14 PM »

For the plane, I'm not checking any luggage.  Mini and i both have suitcases that meet the FAA regulations as carry-on's.  And, ladies, purses are not considered as carry-on, so bring a big one. 

Mum, I hate to say it, but don't count on being able to take those FAA approved carry-ons as carry-on.  I wasn't able to carry on my approved items when we went to Montreal.  I think it depends on the type of  plane, how full it is, and the mood of the crew working.  I had to take my notebook pc out of its case and carry it; I would not allow them to check it.

I'll also be taking some Imodium, spare pair of contacts and solution, and a couple Klonopin to help make the flight more relaxing!

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
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05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
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You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline Ric Wilke

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2008, 08:39:13 PM »
Great thread Basquo,

OMG, Brandy and water or vodka on the rocks will just not work for us without ice.  We are counting on the alcohol to kill the beasties in the ice.  And we are SO into tamales, tamales and more tamales. 

And excited, hot damned we are!!!  See you all soon.  Loves and hugs, R&T

Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2008, 09:53:23 PM »
So the flight crew wouldn't let you bring on FAA approved carry-ons as carry-ons?  YIKES!  I was really hoping to not have to check bags.  At $20 each, both ways, we're looking at $80 just to check 1 bag/ea.  I can think of a lot of things I'd rather do with my $80 than pay to check baggage.  Which makes me think that they'll be even more strict about carry-on luggage so they can collect their fees.  I may call the airline at the airport and speak to someone there about exact dimentions just to double check.

Ric, what Hubby always did in Honduras was ask the waiter if the ice was made with potable water.  If it was in an "American" franchized restaurant, or what the locals would consider an expensive restaurant, then we tended to believe it when they said it was.  If it was just some hole in the wall, we drank our drinks hot.

The other thing we need to find is a very reputable place to exchange our money.  In Honduras, we'd get a better rate in the streets, but without knowing exactly who to go to, i wouldn't suggest it in Mexico.  Jan can probably figure this out for us since she'll be there before most of us will (put it on your list, Jan :P).

We're getting very excited about this trip. 

Mum
www.watoto.com
www.MotherBearProject.org
"Whichever way you throw me, i will stand"
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today...it's already tomorrow in Australia"  Charles Schultz

Offline RAB

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2008, 09:47:33 AM »
Regarding ATMs.

If you're a B of A customer, you can use the banks known as Santander Serfin without paying an International Access fee, no Foreign ATM usage fee (charged by B of A), and no Surcharge fee (charged by the ATM owner).

Also I read somewhere (or maybe it was in the info MJ sent me [which I've unfortunately deleted by accident]), that the ATMs (not the currency exchange places) at the airport gave the best exchange rate.  Don't know if it's true though.

RAB

Offline Ric Wilke

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2008, 06:49:17 PM »
Mum,

Some airline do not impose the fee for checked baggage if you are flying international.  Best to check with your individual air carrier about restrictions including weight.  Also remember about carry on of liquids.  3 oz is the maximum size for liquids that you carry on.

Hugs to you and the little princess.  R&T

Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2008, 07:00:11 PM »
Ric, I was panicing about the liquid restriction when Mini was on liquid zerit.  I begged and pleaded with her PID during our visit in May and she switched Mini to Zerit pills.  Now I am one very happy mum.  I was going to bring travel-sized hygene "stuff".  Between the 2 of us, it would be enough.  If not, I was banking that we'd be able to get more somewhere.   Hubby is going to call the airline tomorrow and ask about the fee.  I'd still like to carry-on if at all possible, but I REALLY don't want to pay $80 for us to have 1 suitcase / each.

I'll pass on your lovin' to the wee Miss.  Can't wait to see you guys!
 :-*Mum
www.watoto.com
www.MotherBearProject.org
"Whichever way you throw me, i will stand"
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today...it's already tomorrow in Australia"  Charles Schultz

Offline Basquo

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2008, 08:37:32 PM »
Street Food:  I talked to Sativa yesterday and she said you need to use your judgement...I told her if that was the case etc etc etc... so she said specifically that if we see tamales coming out of a big steaming pot we should just ask how spicy they are; "Son muy picantes?" for example.

Ice:  She said most large restaurants and especially hotels have purifications systems, and if in doubt we should ask, "Sirve hielo purificado?"

  pronunciation:  SIR-vay ee-A-lo poor-ee-fee-CAH-doh?

Maybe we should ask about our own hotel and their system?  It would be awesome if we could get ice and rehydrate from our own home base, but I understand if nobody wants to take any chances.

Antibiotics: Sativa says you can buy Cipro at any pharmacy without a prescription. It's about $20.  My insurance allows me to get a 'script for $2, but it's good to know it's available. I told Santiago about our antibiotic concerns and he nodded his handsome head and said that's a good conversation.

Money schtuff:  Still working on that one.  I remember Wells Fargo charging me $5 per ATM transaction in Montreal, but they redeemed themselves when they had an ATM on every corner in San Francisco...

stay tuned!

edited because Santi made me do a shot of rum before he left today, and therefore I misspelled his name previously!
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 09:11:20 PM by Basquo »

Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2008, 07:25:01 AM »
Basquo, I just wanted to thank you for all the research you are doing and posting here.  It's making a big difference and easing many minds (at least mine ;D)

Mum
www.watoto.com
www.MotherBearProject.org
"Whichever way you throw me, i will stand"
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today...it's already tomorrow in Australia"  Charles Schultz

Offline Basquo

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2008, 07:32:20 PM »
Glad to do it, Mum!  I hadn't traveled outside the country in 20 years when I got the opportunity to meet everyone in Montreal, so I was grateful when so many people offered travel tips to me.  You seem a little more well-traveled to me, though, so I think you're gonna do just fine.

I found some good information about money here:  http://www.mexperience.com/guide/essentials/money.htm

I'm happy to see that traveler's checks are still cool.  We should have plenty of exchange houses in La Zona Rosa.  ATMs are plentiful, and a good way to get Mexican cash.  I also thought of something I never thought of before: what if an ATM sucks up my card and won't give it back? I'm going to look for ATMs where you swipe your card instead of inserting it. I also see that our rooms have safety deposit boxes, so that will be a good thing to have no matter how we choose to carry dinero. I used one in SF to keep my traveler's checks safe. I brought them to pay for my hotel room just in case something weird happened with my card (which DID happen in Montreal!)

Offline mjmel

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2008, 07:33:10 PM »
Here is some advice I collected (cut and pasted) from tour books I purchased.

Mexico City: Sidenotes

Cabs: Be careful when taking a taxi, never take a taxi in the street since you can be sure you will get mugged. Taxi crime in the city is real.
Sitios are always safe.
Taxi de SITIO/Radio Taxi. (Taxi Stand/Radio-dispatched Taxi). Use the official 'SITIO' taxis -orange, green or white/red with SITIO painted on the doors, and are equipped with meters- at important places and bus stations, it could be helpful to protect yourself from taxi crimes. If you are at bus station be cautious and follow the same directions as in the airport. Ticket prices are fixed, government-controlled (per car, not per person) and based on a zone system (per car, not per person), it's a map next to the ticket booth details the zones. After purchasing your ticket, go outside to the line of taxis where an official taxi 'chief' will direct you to the next taxi in line. Present your ticket to the driver and enjoy the travel. Be sure it’s not a 'pirate' taxi... Also, hotels and restaurants can call the safe radio-dispatched taxis for you at any time. If there is no SITIO where you are, summon a 'Radio Taxi'. Get the taxi number from telephone operator so you get into the correct taxi. Radio Taxi usually looks as a car without markings, but sometimes looks as a common taxi (equipped with meter). You can hire any one of these taxis from everywhere in the city. This is a particularly advisable option at night. Radio Taxi type have become so popular that it is difficult to get a taxi after dark or late hours. Finally, the USA Embassy said it was expanding earlier notices to also include warnings against cabs that congregate at designated stands because those, too, were no longer presumed safe. It’s true.
IMPORTANT: If you do decide hire a taxi in Mexico City, read your correspondent government travel advisories about taxi cabs before you arrive, because taxi crime in the city is real.

Taxi del Aeropuerto. (Airport Taxi). Once you arrive, next step is get in to the jungle. Mexico City International Airport is served directly by taxi, metro, bus, hotel shuttle, van and limousine. Official airport taxis are probably the most convenient way to get downtown from the airport, they’re fast, comfortable and inexpensive. The cabs are available after exiting the baggage claim area, near the far end of Lounge A, and E, right next to the arrival gates in special booths marked TAXI / TRANSPORTACION TERRESTRE (Ground Transportation). Ticket prices are fixed, government-controlled (per car, not per person) and based on a zone system (per car, not per person), it's a map next to the ticket booth details the zones. They are staffed by personnel wearing bright-yellow jackets emblazoned with TAXI AUTORIZADO (authorized taxi). After purchasing your ticket, go outside to the line of taxis where an official taxi 'chief' will direct you to the next taxi in line. Present your ticket to the driver and enjoy the travel. Be sure it’s an official taxi. These cabs should be white and mustard yellow with a white taxi light on the roof, and an airplane logo painted in black, on the doors. They should also have an orange stripe (rather than a green one) along the bottom part of the rear license plate.

If you are flying in, the airport is conveniently located very close to the city center. It will be very confusing at first, but make sure that you buy a ticket for the airport taxis before a taxi driver takes your bags. They will try to get you in their car before you do this in order to charge you more. There are ticket offices inside the airport, though they aren't obvious - ask somebody with an airport uniform to guide you - once you are outside it becomes more difficult to get because you will be accosted by the drivers. However, once you buy your ticket the process is easy - get in the cab, give the driver your ticket, and give your destination - you cannot be overcharged at that point because you have already paid! A tip is definitely optional, but if they are very friendly and make your introduction to Mexico City easier, then they probably deserve 5 or 10 pesos. Arriving by bus is simple as well - there are four terminals according to the four points of the compass. Just like the airport, get a taxi ticket for your destination before you leave the terminal, and hop in a designated 'sitio' taxi where indicated. Walk, bus, metro - they are all good ways to get around. The metro is extensive, and should get you close to wherever you are going. there are neighborhood maps in the metro stations, so once you get off you can re-orient yourself. The metro is just 2 pesos, and buses are 2-4, depending on the distance. Walking is always the best way to see the city in slow motion. Taxis (use sitio or radio taxis) should cost between 30 and 150 pesos, depending on the distance. The price is per Km, but you can always ask the driver before you head off how much it will cost. Most restaurants will call you a taxi if you need one.

Once you arrive at the airport:
To get to the hotel from the airport, at any hour of the day/night: As you leave the Customs inspection (green light/red light system) area in the International section of the terminal building, look to your left (as soon as you exit the doors) and you'll see, about 30 feet away, a counter with three businesses - two of the businesses are authorized taxi's and the third is the Alamo auto rental agency.
If you're traveling by yourself, go to the middle section of the counter - under a sign which says: "Sitio 300 Taxi Authorizado/Authorized Taxi." It's at this counter you'll pre-pay your taxi ride into the city (the airport's "in" the city, anyway). Fares from the airport are pre-determined by distance of travel - by zone. Your fare should be about MX$150. Take the ticket the clerk gives you and turn around and walk away from the counter, past Customs, and about 1 long block forward to the taxi staging area; there shouldn't be a line when you get there (and there are lots of taxis, anyway).
Travel time between the airport and the hotel will be about 20 minutes (during business hours) .
As suggested/warned in the first set of comments, earlier in this discussion thread - don't be lured to another type of taxi at the airport, by a "tout". Travel only in a "taxi autorizado."
The Zona Rosa (the hotel is located nearby) has become Mexico City's most vibrant night entertainment district and home to 10+ restaurants/bars/clubs offering live music played by bands, mariachi, etc. It's an eclectic part of the city, and home to many businesses catering to a growing gay/lesbian community in the city.
Transportation to/from that part of town is excellent, too.
Enjoy the trip!

Teotihuacan via Tren Ligero. (Tram).: It's easy, cheap and interesting to get to Teotihuacan using public transportation. Take the Metro (cost is $2.00P) to the Autobuses del Norte stop. This puts one at the Centro de Autobuses del Norte bus terminal. Upon entering the terminal, turn right and go toward Sala 8. Almost at the end of the long row of ticket sales counters is Autobuses Teotihuacan. Their logo is a stylized pyramid and Quetzalcoatal head. Make sure you ask for a ticket to 'los Pyramides'. Cost is $25.00P. The bus drops you at gate 1, which enters the site at la Ciudadela (the Citadel). The buses range from older to very new, but all are clean and comfortable. The trip takes about an hour, depending on traffic. Buses for the return trip can be caught at gates 2 or 3. They stop right by gate 3. Cross the road and stand at the entrance to the Frescoes museum. At gate 2, one catches them after they turn onto the road out of the site, beside the restaurant. Return trip cost is $25.00P. Be sure to watch for a placard in the front window of the bus saying 'Centro Norte'.

I have more notes and will post them later.

Mike


« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 07:34:50 PM by mjmel »

Offline Basquo

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2008, 07:58:03 PM »
Now THAT'S good info, Mike! Ima gonna print that.

Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2008, 08:01:48 PM »
I am printing off this information, Mike, and adding it to my travel papers.  Thank you SO much for the information, especially about the taxis and how to get from the airport to the hotel.  Thank you also for letting us know that the cost is per car and not per person.  This is very valuable information, indeed.

Basquo, I haven't flown in over 10yrs.  Most of my travels growing up consisted of driving cross-country and into Mexico.  I lived in Honduras for a short time after our oldest son was born.  Standing on the upper floor balcony, if I looked to the left, i could see the Carribean Sea, to my right, the mountains.  It was a beautiful country, but very backwards and not to giddy about Americans (especially those toting around a Honduran baby).

Anyway, one more question.  Is there a place to exchange money in the airport?  What is the current exchange rate?  

Mum (who is feeling a bit more confident in making this trip with the little Miss)
www.watoto.com
www.MotherBearProject.org
"Whichever way you throw me, i will stand"
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Offline Basquo

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2008, 08:35:41 PM »
The current exchange rate is:

1.00 USD = 10.2970 MXN
                                             
1 USD = 10.2970 MXN   

1 MXN = 0.0971157 USD

The rate has changed slightly from when I looked at it an hour ago, but it seems to have been steady for the last month I've been looking at it, so in my head I'm just going to remember that a dollar is 10 pesos and 10 pesos is a dollar.

I'm sending you a PM also.

Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2008, 08:52:25 PM »
ok, so the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel will be about $1.50.  The bus/ tram ride to the pyramids will be about $2.50 / person each way, or about $5 round trip.  That's really hard to complain about.  Thank you guys SO much!

Mum

www.watoto.com
www.MotherBearProject.org
"Whichever way you throw me, i will stand"
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today...it's already tomorrow in Australia"  Charles Schultz

Offline Basquo

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2008, 08:54:54 PM »
I think the taxi is going to be $15.00, not $1.50.

Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2008, 09:00:43 PM »
Oh, good grief, you're right.  So math isn't my strong point..lol.  Maybe I'd better pack a calculator ;)

Mum (who thought about editing the earlier post to look more intelligent, but then thought, who'd believe it?)
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Offline fearless

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2008, 10:22:37 PM »
When I was in Mexico I drank nothing but tap water, brushed my teeth in it and washed my face with it. My hotel supplied bottled water in the room even though there water was said to be potable. Even if the hotel has a purification system, if it is not maintained well the water may not be drinkable.
Bottled water was dirt cheap to buy - about 15 cents a litre, from memory, so I bought lots of it.

Hotel room tap water

Sink water - even the cheapest Mexico hotel will supply bottled water in your room if the tap water is not potable (shouldn't be drunk). If you don't see bottled water in your Mexico hotel room, look for aplaque or sign proclaiming potable tap water; even with that disclaimer, you may prefer bottled water but you can be assured brushing your teeth is safe.

Shower water - if you can't drink the sink water (see above paragaph), don't let the shower water into your mouth.

A partial mouthful of water in Mexico is enough to make you sick. Nothing in the water is going to hurt your external body during a shower.
Tip: remember to buy extra bottled water for your hotel room at night if you're drinking booze -- don't be double sick the next day from dehydration *and* guzzling the tap water.


About the Toilet in Mexico
If there is a wastepaper basket next to a toilet in Mexico, it means you are to deposit your used toilet paper in the wastepaper basket. The wastebasket's placement may mean that a septic system is in use which can't handle loads of toilet paper without expensive maintenance. It's tough not to automatically put toilet paper in the toilet in Mexico -- remembering that you could accidentally wreak havoc helps.
Be forgiving, be grateful, be optimistic

Offline Curtis

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2008, 05:59:40 PM »
I think Mexico gets a bad rep for sanitary water and food which is not entirely earned.  Any travel ANYwhere far enough away is sure to produce food and water supplies your body isn't familiar with.  Plus travel itself taxes in covert ways that aren't always easy to realize in advance. 

That said, I don't think I'll ever go to Tijuana or Juarez again; one for the filth and the other for obvious danger.  The places I went around Yucatan and Quintana Roo seemed just fine; undeveloped but OK.  I'm not sure what to expect out of Mexico City. 

Probable infection: 1993
Tested poz: 10/4/1995

Much time passes.....

Worst labs in 2009: CD4 20, CD4% 3, VL 9000.
10/1/09: Ziagen, Icentress, Intelence.
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Offline mjmel

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2008, 06:41:25 PM »
Internet info:

México City gets a lot of bad press, mostly for pollution and crime.  Both are problems.  Every major city in the world has the same problems. México City has it's fair share of crime, but much of the crime is hidden from most tourists. Many of the high crime areas are areas that most tourists will never be near.  There is an increasing amount of crime involving taxis (see below).  It is best to use only radio taxis or taxis that your hotel provides.  If you are out at night be extra careful, have your restaurant or night club call a cab for you and get the license number of the cab that they called. Do not wear fancy jewelry or flash large sums of money, especially at night.  Don't walk alone, don't use the subway or buses at night.  Use common sense and you should be OK.     

Remember you are at an altitude of over 7300 feet and the air is much thinner than you are probably used to.  Occurrences of light-headedness, mild headaches, breathlessness and tiring easily are common.  Drink a lot of water and be very careful with alcohol consumption.  Take your time and rest often.

The bus system is cheap and goes everywhere.  It can get very crowded, especially when the locals are going to or coming from work.  It can be difficult to learn the routes, but you can pick up free bus-route maps at the México City Tourism Office located at Amberes 54, on the corner of Londres, in Zona Rosa.  México City's metro system is modern, cheap, fast and efficient. The stations are well lighted, very clean and the trains are extremely quiet. The metro system gets extremely crowded during rush hours. Keep a tight grip on your carry-on items at all times. Do not use the bus system/tram after dark. Cab it.

You will need a tourist permit to enter México.  Your airline will furnish this for you. Keep the copy they give you at the airport in México City.  If you should lose your permit, it is possible to get a replacement through the immigration office (INM), although the procedure can take up a lot of your time.  If you lose your tourist permit call the SECTUR tourist office in México City (5250-0123) or your embassy or consulate.

We recommend that you do not walk alone after dark, especially in the less visible (busy) areas of the city.  If you must walk at night, know the shortest route to your destination and stick to it.  Leave your valuables in the hotel security box if your are going to be walking at night.
Regardless of what you may see, pedestrians actually do have the right-of-way.  Be very careful crossing the streets.  Watch out for cars that are turning from the wrong lane and watch carefully for cars even if you have the green light.
The traffic here is legendary, and for very good reason.

Paseo de la Reforma, the city's main thoroughfare, will give you an immediate idea of why México City has been referred to as the "Manhattan" of Latin America.  This elegant boulevard is lined with dozens of magnificent monuments including the much-photographed Independence Monument, which has become the unofficial trademark of México City. Sharing the precious space along Paseo de la Reforma are modern high-rise office buildings, embassies, luxury hotels, colonial mansions, more monuments and shaded pedestrian promenades.
Chapultepec Park is an enormous green area in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of this fast paced city.  This park is the city's largest, covering over 2000 acres, and it contains enough of the city's attractions, including three of the most important museums, that a short vacation could easily be devoted just to the attractions within the park. 
My Note: this is where I thought it would be cool alternative to have the memorial service. Can be reached via Metro (pink line). It is located at the end of Paseo de la Reforma (more or less). Check it out on a map.

So .......... that's more of (common sense) stuff on Mexico City. I'm not sure which book it was but advice on changing money,  as I remember, is the airport rates were stated as excellent exchange rates and ATM's would also be another good option.
Sorry about any repetitions. I grew tired of deleting them out.

Mike
 



Offline mjmel

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2008, 08:19:35 PM »
more:

Dress:  Mexicans are fairly casual in their dress but always neat and clean, and relatively modest. Few Mexicans of either sex wear shorts in the city.
Smoking: The concept of "no smoking" sections in Mexico is new and is found only in a few upscale restaurants, do don't freak out when the person next to you lights up--it is permitted in most places. Non-smokers are sometimes seated at less desirable tables.
Health Concerns: NEVER drink tap water in Mexico. Do not eat fruits or vegs unless they have been peeled or disinfected.
Street Stalls : Some of most delicious food in Mexico City if found in street stalls and markets. There are also some very scary looking cauldrons of viscera floating in dark red sauces. However, do not assume that all street stall food is greasy and loaded with bacteria. While there is no guarantee of germ-free food (even in fancy restaurants), follow some basic guidelines when choosing: Check out the stall and the cook for cleanliness. If it doesn't look clean, forget it. Choose food that you can see being cooked and avoid food cooked in deep fat--unless that oil is clean and very hot, which it rarely is. Don't eat anything that looks like it has been sitting outside for a long time. Look for crowded stalls that have been discovered by locals--they have already selected the good ones. Some vendors slip on a plastic glove before accepting money....a good sign. Avoid steet food during hot weather. Again, clean, relatively busy and local patrons are what one looks for in street stalls/market prepared foods.
One of the best is Chilpancingo (#9 train, near to Colonia Condesa). Outside the metro entrance along Calle Chilpancingo is a gauntlet of food vendors selling tacos, tlacoyos and quesadillas. The flautas and caldo de pollo near the corner are especially good.
Bathrooms: Things are much better than they use to be, but bathroom hygiene in Mexico is often not up to expected standards. Some bathrooms in public places have attendants. Americans can be baffled by this custom as such jobs don't exist in the first world. It is never an obligation to tip, but always appreciated. In markets, gas stations and some public places there is a charge of a few pesos to use the facilities. Be aware that toilet paper is often handed out near the entrance and may not be found inside the stalls.
Finding a bathroom while running around: The Sanborn's chain can always be counted on for clean bathrooms. Hotel and department stores are also a good bet. Make note of these while when you are walking about in your walking tours.
Panhandlers: The awareness of poverty in Mexico is never far from one's eyes--while it is rarely oppressive, one may be asked to help the needy. Everyone must figure out his/her own strategy. One could just give to the elderly, perhaps. The handicapped. Etc...,
Source: Mexico City: An opinionated guide for the curious traveler by Jim Johnston
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 05:25:31 AM by mjmel »

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2008, 09:08:06 PM »
Non-smokers are sometimes seated at less desirable tables.

I'll get the best tables then.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2008, 09:51:15 PM »
I guess Mini and I will be sitting at a table secluded in the unairconditioned corner, next to the kitchen dumpsters and the porta-potties. 

Mum (who will throw in an extra container of anti-bacterial wet wipes...no need to drip dry :P)
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Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2008, 10:18:39 PM »
I wonder what else I can buy at the local pharmacies without a prescription.  This could be fun.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2008, 10:29:06 PM »
They aren't nearly as strict as I thought they'd be.  When we lived in Honduras - 11yrs ago - I had to pay 130 limpiras (about $10) to "see" a doctor so he could write me a prescription for Tylonol.  The doctor asked how long I expected my headache to last.  I told him no longer than it took me to take some Tylonol.  So I got a prescription for exactly 2 pills - 1 dose.  So, for my next headache, I went a saw "a man my brother in law knew" on the corner.  I got an entire bottle of extra strength for $2, and, yes, the foil seal was still on it ;).

Mum
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www.MotherBearProject.org
"Whichever way you throw me, i will stand"
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today...it's already tomorrow in Australia"  Charles Schultz

Offline mjmel

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2008, 05:04:25 AM »
I'll get the best tables then.

You're special, you say? You'll get assigned a table like rest of us common patrons. :D  Yes you will, fierceness. 
And if we nonsmokers are smart we won't say peep about preferences.

Mike

edit: spelling error
« Last Edit: July 15, 2008, 05:41:35 PM by mjmel »

Offline pozniceguy

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2008, 05:00:16 PM »
Mike thanks for the great tips... very well researched as expected...I am making copies of all this to read on the Plane again...

Nick
remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
Le stelle la notte sono grandie luminose, nel cuore profondo del Texas

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2008, 12:22:22 PM »

And if we nonsmokers are smart we won't say peep about preferences.

Mike

Barbara please.  I *do* hope you're not including yourself as a non-smoker, or I will have to publicly protest.

That said, I will be traveling with a bottle containing 200 2mg loperamide for the trip, so there shall be extra for those that may need it.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline RAB

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2008, 09:46:15 AM »
Barbara please.  I *do* hope you're not including yourself as a non-smoker, or I will have to publicly protest.

GASP!   :o

Quote
That said, I will be traveling with a bottle containing 200 2mg loperamide for the trip, so there shall be extra for those that may need it.

Good to know Philly.  That's one less bottle I'll have to pack. 

RAB   ;D

(Who hopes none of us need it.)

Offline mjmel

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2008, 12:09:18 PM »
 :D
OK. So I smoked a half a pack when I visited David in Philadelphia in MAY. Three days --> 10 cigarettes. WhooPeeDo.
MAY smoke a few in Mexico City too.

RAB. Such a snickerdootle.
 :-*

Mike

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2008, 12:48:24 PM »
Oh please -- we'll all be smoking some Fidel Castro cigars the first night.  That's a side benefit of going to Mexico!
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline RAB

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2008, 09:36:40 AM »
O.K. I have a stupid question.

Is the power situation in Mexico the same as here?  (110)

Will I be able to charge my camera batteries?

RAB

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #37 on: July 18, 2008, 11:36:34 AM »
It's the same as the US.  I will teach you how to use google when we meet.

Read this link anyway, as it has a note about using higher voltage hair dryers:

http://www.mexperience.com/guide/essentials/practical_info.htm#Electric
« Last Edit: July 18, 2008, 11:38:28 AM by philly267 »
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline RAB

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2008, 12:49:17 PM »
It's the same as the US.  I will teach you how to use google when we meet.



Hardee Har Har!   :-*

RAB   ;D




Offline Lou-ah-vull

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #39 on: July 18, 2008, 04:26:52 PM »
Any idea about whether or not we need a particular kind of electrical converter or adapter for Mexico?  I will have my laptop and my usual retinue of digital devices (iPod, iPhone, etc.)

Gary
Diagnosed Oct. 2005
10/05:  367 (26.2%), 24556 VL
01/06:  344 (24.6%), 86299 VL
04/06:  374 (22.0%), 87657 VL
05/06:  Began HAART 05/15/06, Combivir/Kaletra
07/06:  361 (27.8%), 1299 VL
10/06:  454 (32.4%), 55 VL
01/07:  499 (38.4%), UD
02/07:  Switched to Atripla 2/8/07
04/07:  566 (37.7%), UD
08/07:  761 (42.3%), UD
06/08:  659 (47.1%), UD
01/09:  613 (43.8%), UD
07/09:  616 (47.4%), UD
01/10:  530 (44.2%), UD
07/10:  636 (48.9%), UD
01/11:  627 (48.2%), UD
07/11:  840 (52.5%), UD
01/12:  920 (51.1%), UD
07/12:  857 (50.4%), 40
10/12:  UD
01/13:  710 (47.3%), UD
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01/14:  985 (46.9%), UD
06/14:  823 (47.2%), UD

Offline mjmel

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #40 on: July 18, 2008, 04:52:11 PM »
philly267: I love those little cigars. Cigarillos? I just love the aroma. I may have a few of those smokes if I can find 'em. Nothing too big......like them cuban torpedoes.   

........only a month away........

Mike
« Last Edit: July 18, 2008, 04:54:36 PM by mjmel »

Offline BikerGuy

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2008, 09:55:10 AM »
I surfed around Google and i would suggest you bring on of those 3 prong to 2 prong adapters other than that everything i found says it's 110V 60 cycle.  I'm also gona bring a laptop surge protector, it's small and i can use it on other devices...stop the laughing  ;D
Anall nathrach - Oorfas bethud - Dorhiel dienvay

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #42 on: July 20, 2008, 04:59:39 PM »
Oh good -- I found a reason to pack my black leather chaps!

http://www.toms-mexico.com/
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline RAB

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2008, 05:33:28 PM »
Another good idea that members may want to consider is this:

Make 2 copies of your passport.

Leave one at home and pack the other in your suitcase.

I don't remember where I read/heard this.  Heck maybe it was in this thread.  But in the unlikely event your passport is lost or stolen, then having these copies will make it much easier to fix the problem.

RAB   ;D

(Who rarely knows what the heck he's talking about.)

Offline Basquo

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2008, 09:15:08 PM »
Another good idea that members may want to consider is this:

Make 2 copies of your passport.

Leave one at home and pack the other in your suitcase.

I don't remember where I read/heard this.  Heck maybe it was in this thread.  But in the unlikely event your passport is lost or stolen, then having these copies will make it much easier to fix the problem.

RAB   ;D

(Who rarely knows what the heck he's talking about.)

I don't know where I picked up this habit, but I usually make 4-5 copies of my travel intinerary (including my birth certificate, when we went to Montreal) and stash them in several places...both bags and wherever else. I also read somewhere that you should carry a copy of your passport and leave your real passport at the hotel when you get to your destination, because the first thing confiscated if you're picked up, is your passport, though that probably applies to people who intend to break the law.

Offline mjmel

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #45 on: July 24, 2008, 06:12:45 AM »
Another good idea that members may want to consider is this:

Make 2 copies of your passport.

Leave one at home and pack the other in your suitcase.

I don't remember where I read/heard this.  Heck maybe it was in this thread.  But in the unlikely event your passport is lost or stolen, then having these copies will make it much easier to fix the problem.

RAB   ;D

(Who rarely knows what the heck he's talking about.)

Or

Don't lose your passport. Makes everything simple and saves ink.
Kidding aside, are you guys running about with passport on your person?
Mine stays in hotel room and that's how I'm not going to risk losing/misplacing it.

Mike

Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #46 on: July 24, 2008, 06:28:23 AM »
I know when we were in Honduras (for 3 months), we were told NOT to travel with our passport, but to bring photo ID (driver's license).  I'm having an "official" ID made for Mini by the DMV and will carry that also. 

Mum
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"Whichever way you throw me, i will stand"
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Offline mjmel

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #47 on: July 26, 2008, 09:11:58 PM »
Planta Baja- The first floor of a building is called the planta baja, the next floor is 1, then 2, etc.
--in elevators you will see PB, which is usually the lobby or entry level.

Mexico City is not for the faint-hearted traveler. The air is polluted (but steadily improving over the last few years), the traffic is beyond belief, it's in an earthquake zone, and within range of a smoking volcano. You don't come to relax or  "get away from it all."
You come to be seduced by a flourishing 700 year old culture, by people whose hearts are easily opened and by the sheer audacity of it all.
Mexico City isn't really beautiful like Paris or San Francisco--it's gems lie in a matrix of urban hysteria. It has a bit of an old-fashioned feel, comfortable in its long cultural heritage--not terrible concerned with fads or trends. Old style barbershops, wooden-door cantinas, dowdy ladies' corset shoppes, and glass bottle pharmacies are found throughout the city--some untouched for 50 years. Mexico city has plenty of slick, high-rise stuff, and lots of super rich people living behind walls, mostly in the western suburbs. Chic hotels, designer stores are here, but they tend to have the same feel as elsewhere.

Mexico pours out onto its streets with unrestrained exuberance. Color is everywhere: magenta, acidic lime green or screeching yellow........there is a great deal of sensory input here and it takes a bit of effort to sort it out. The city smells of life in ways you don't find in more sanitized places. Open food stalls with the pervasive aroma of corn tortillas, roasting meats,  chiles.........and the noxious exhaust of too many vehicles.

Source: Mexico City: An opinionated guide for the curious traveler by Jim Johnston.


follow-up comment: OMG! I'm gonna love this place despite the fact that I don't speak or read the language.

Mike
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 09:23:25 PM by mjmel »

Offline pozniceguy

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #48 on: July 27, 2008, 11:08:29 AM »
Mike that sounds just like my kind of place...love the "visual and sensual" atmosphere....I lived in enough big cities to sort out the  fumes from the real" atmosphere"   really looking forward to this..would love to do the "walk" suggested in the other thread for Thurs night...

Nick
remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
Le stelle la notte sono grandie luminose, nel cuore profondo del Texas

Offline minismom

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Re: Travel Tips for Mexico (or anywhere)
« Reply #49 on: August 02, 2008, 08:06:24 PM »
Mark brought up a very good point in the "Treatment" forum about melting capsules.  I'm sure everyone will be carrying on their meds and not checking them.  But, I personally hadn't thought about how hot the meds could get if put in a purse, or a hip pocket, especially when walking around.  The temps seem to be on the mild side, but there's no telling how warm (hot?) they could get while bunched up in a taxi or on a long bus trip.  Any suggestions for preventing capsule meltdown?

Mum
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www.MotherBearProject.org
"Whichever way you throw me, i will stand"
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today...it's already tomorrow in Australia"  Charles Schultz

 


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