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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Travel tips

While Americans expect never to pay sticker price for a car, they’re often skittish about bargaining about prices in foreign countries although every travel book about Mexico suggests bargaining is an expectation. Perhaps our hesitance has something to do with the knowledge of how wonderfully well we live in the United States. We don't like to take advantage of people we provincially see as less fortunate. At any rate, on our tours in Mexico, the guides warned us, as the tour books did, to refuse the marked price and to pay not more than 20% below that. That is about the difference agreed upon whenever we did shop—Michael’s Cuban cigar, Rob’s leather belts, my rain-god sculpture—all from different locations. Michael and I were skittish, but Rob took the guides at their word and lo and behold, they were right!

One other caution about travel in Mexico. Agree on the taxi fare before entering the taxi. There are no meters. Your hotel concierge will give you an amount to expect to pay. When we left Plaza de Toros, for instance, the first driver, spotting tourists, quoted an outlandish amount. When Rob countered with the amount somewhat closer to the concierge’s suggestion, the driver immediately agreed. We were on our way with all parties satisfied.

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