I’ve never eaten a taco outside of the United States.
So my taco eating experience has consisted of ordering fish tacos at Mazatlan. Just in case you are not aware, before you get your tacos, you get a basket of tortilla chips and several salsa’s to snack on while your waiting. I always thought these were good. No complaints. When my order arrives I see the big pile of Spanish rice on one side and a scoop of refried beans on the other side. A nice garnish of lettuce and tomatoes and extra guacamole and sour cream decorate the plate. That is my experience and from Mexican restaurant to Mexican restaurant it doesn’t change to much. So you can imagine my surprise at my first experience eating taco’s in Mexico. (Or maybe you are like me, and have never had a taco outside of the United States) Anyway, we arrived at our first taqueria of the trip called Taqueria Rossy in San Jose del Cabo. It wasn’t to far of a drive from where we were staying, the Vidanta Grand Mayan.
As we walked in were greeted by a server, given menus and we began to look at the menu. Of course, it’s all in Spanish and the prices are listed in pesos. I ordered a pork taco and sat back to wait for them to bring out our chips and salsa. We waited…waited…no chips and salsa! Our tacos came out. I looked at the plate, there was a single taco with a small amount of pork on it…nothing else…where are the beans, where is the rice, how come my plate isn’t covered in tacos, lettuce, tomatoes, guac and sour cream! (my insides are fluttering at this point because I’m so hungry!) We’re looking around waiting for the rest of our food to come and the server is looking at us like “why aren’t you guys eating?” Through a few gestures, finger pointing etc…we figured out that the object in the middle of the restaurant that looks like a salad bar-ish type of gadget is actually where we go to put on various toppings! Ahhhh….the light comes on! What a delight to see several different types of salsas, guacamoles, and a few other things I would never have put on my taco at home! There was cabbage instead of lettuce, pickled onions and cucumbers. No cheese, no sour cream! So I bravely dove in. I topped my single pork taco with all the fixin’s and enjoyed every bite!
So lessons learned-order more than one taco, order more than one kind of taco, remember that the toppings are free and available in the gadget that looks like a small salad bar!
You really don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to visit Los Cabos or it’s sister city, San Jose del Cabo. Almost everyone knows some English. However, on our first visit to the area, I noticed how appreciative the locals were when we spoke even the smallest amount of Spanish.
One day we were eating at a local restaurant and our traveling friend ordered his food in Spanish. The rest of us pointed to pictures that were on the menu. And wouldn’t you know it, his food came out first and the server was particularly helpful to him the whole time!
So, I made a mental note to myself…I’m going to learn some Spanish so the next time I’ll get special treatment! I’ve been using Babble and Duolingo to help me!
It’s hard to narrow the phrases down to just 5. This is just a starter list for you!
One of the first phrases I learned right away is “Where is the bathroom?” In Spanish you would say “dónde está el baño“. In our resort, the Vidanta Grand Mayan in San Jose del Cabo, the bano was always very clean, flushing toilets, etc… but boy was I surprised when we headed into town! You can’t always put your toilet paper in the toilet! And going to the bathroom is not always free! Keep a couple of peso’s with you!
Whenever we would come and go from our beautiful resort, our friend would greet each employee with Buenos dias or Buenas noches, which means good morning or good night. In turn they would put their hand over their heart and say Gracias, thank you. What a nice expression of gratitude. I loved it! Wouldn’t the people in your life be surprised if you said “thank you” with your hand over your heart!
Another word in the polite category is “por favor“, please. This word is so appreciated every where! But especially when you are in a situation where you need some help. A cry for help, asked with a “por favor” will open many more doors!
All of my traveling buddies enjoyed seeing the sites on foot. One day we decided to walk to the Mision de San Jose. We weren’t really paying attention where we were going…..and soon we were lost! Our traveling friend was able to carry on this conversation: my friend: “Estoy perdido. Puede auydarme“-I am lost. Can you help me? Nice local: “Adonde va?” -Where are you going? And then our friend proceeded to explain where we wanted to go! Such helpful phrases and a happy ending as we were able to find our way to the mission! (Look at that! I just gave you 2 extra phrases!)
Now for my most favorite phrase! “me das el pastel de choclate?” (can I have the chocolate cake?) Well, it didn’t always have to be chocolate cake, but if there was something chocolate on the menu I wanted it! How sad that I couldn’t ask for it by name!
Are you considering a trip to Mexico? I would highly encourage a stay in any of the Vidanta group resorts. And most important visit our resort in San Jose del Cabo, the Grand Mayan! You can reserve a 1 bedroom studio for a whole week! For all the details click on this link!