The rest of the t ips from a First timer

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Posted by John in Alaska from ( on miércoles, octubre 29, 2003 at 20:02:13 :

7 of 10. Learn a little Spanish. Don't worry about the language difference, everyone seems to speak a little English. But knowing who, what, when, where, how, and how much, will really go a long way. A good book is "Spanish in 10 minutes a day".

8 of 10. Bring Drugs. No, not that kind. Everyone at our hotel seemed to have trouble sleeping. Whether it was the heat, the alcohol, or the time difference, I don't know. We saw a Dr Grayeb here to get a sleep aid; he speaks perfect English. We went to get our prescr1ption filled at a place called Farmapronto,(there seemed to be one on every other corner here) I don't recommend it. All teenagers behind the counter at every store... not one spoke a word of English (we went to 3 farmaprontos). We had some difficulty getting the prescr1ption filled, I didn't have enough spanish to figure out what the problem was. Eventually, we found a pharmacy down by the Artisan's Market kittycorner from Manual's gift shop. The pleasant lady behind the counter spoke English very well. Office visit at Dr Grayeb's, 200 pesos. Prescr1ption for sleep aid, 195 pesos. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, priceless...

9 of 10. Get off of the beach/waterfront to eat. It will be much cheaper for you. If you don't,you will pay American prices, and the waitstaff seem to expect 20% tipping. Moses, one of the beach guides here, told me that the locals tip 10%-15% for service. Walk around town, you will find great places to eat. One place I must mention is Capricho's. It is directly behind the church across from the Artisan's Market. In the words of Elmer Fudd, "vewy womantic". For 4 shots of the best tequila in town, (it's kept in a charcoal keg like Jack Daniels) 2 entrees, 1 dessert of baked apple with vanilla ice cream and Kalua, plus 20% tip (it was worth it), 500 pesos. Joachim the owner then gave us 2 margaritas on the house. Joachim, Gregorio the waiter, and Carlos the chef will make your evening memorable. It was so good we went back twice. I highly recommend this place for the atmosphere, the food, the service, and the price.

10 of 10. Treat everyone with respect. This should of course go without saying. At the hotel, we learned the staff's names and greeted them as such. Whenever we walked anywhere and passed by the people, we always greeted them by saying, "hola". We were always greeted in return with an "hola" and a smile. Unlike Hawaii, where the locals do not look favorably upon the visitors, here you are appreciated and treated with respect wherever you go. The warmth and goodwill from the people was palpable... I don't really know how to explain it any other way. Once you get here, you'll understand what I am talking about. So in other words, just return the respect that is given to you, everyone deserves it.

One last thing that I did forget to mention was that we also brought down some notebook paper and pencils for the schoolkids. We gave them to Rob's wife,Lupita, at her store. What a gem of a woman she is. Rob must have some good Karma out there to have found her ;-). She was very grateful for the supplies and she said that she would get them to the school. The next time we will bring more for dona Laura in Barra de Patosi.

Well that's all that I can think of. I hope this helps you in the planning of your trip... Of course I'm jealous that you're getting prepared to leave. Perhaps we'll see you next year around this time. We'll be the ones down on the beach baking in the sun while everyone else are under the palapas. Yes I know it damages your skin, but give us a break, we're from Alaska, it's the only sun that we are going to get for the winter.... Have Fun!

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