Conduct and Customs
Mexico is an old-fashioned country where people value traditional ideals of honesty, fidelity, and piety. Crime rates are low; visitors are often safer in Mexico than in their home cities.
Even though four generations have elapsed since Pancho Villa raided the U.S. border, the image of a Mexico bristling with bandidos persists. And similarly for Mexicans’ view of those north of the border: Despite the century and a half since the yanquis invaded Mexico City and took half their country, the communal Mexican psyche still views gringos (and, by association, all white foreigners) with revulsion, jealousy, and wonder.
Fortunately, the Mexican love-hate affair with foreigners does not usually apply to individual visitors. Your friendly “buenos dias” (“good morning”) or “por favor” (“please”), when appropriate, is always appreciated, whether in the market, the gas station, or the hotel. The shy smile you will most likely receive in return will be your small, but not insignificant, reward.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition