Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Visas, Tipping and Trash

Rob and I have been reading up on Mexico.  We need to get Visas.  It is almost like a Starbucks experience...making a choice about which one to apply for. One has to be renewed at the end of 180 days, one at year's end, one at the end of 5 years but then request for permanent status....some can be renewed more than once, others cannot...and on it goes.  Some Visas are for those who enter the country with an income from abroad...Mexico asks for $1,000 per month per person or proof of $12,000 per person in the bank.  Other Visas are for those who will work, some Visas are for those who are students, researchers or special guests of the government.  The costs of the Visa itself seems reasonable...all are less than $500 but we may find hidden costs.  I think we will first apply for the 6 month tourist Visa which will allow us to enter the country to check out the suggested areas that need help in the English speaking ministry.

We came across a section on tipping in Mexico.  Seems that there are many opportunities to tip and that because of this "tipping" should be part of your household budget.  Guidelines were given as to the appropriate amount to tip.  While traveling if someone helps with carrying your luggage tip should be $1 per item.  If a parking attendant in the free parking lot helps direct you to a parking spot the tip should be 50 cents, that also applies to the impromptu windshield cleaning at intersections and if some one juggles or otherwise entertains you at any public area.  Hotel maids can be tipped $1-$5 per day depending if it is a Motel 6 type of place or a fancy resort.  Bars/Cantinas should be about 10% tip. Have you ever been faced with that unanswered question of should you tip the grocery bagger? In Mexico the answer is always yes...and it is usually in the 50 cent group but in all of these tipping situations if there is additional services rendered then that would be reflected in the tip. Car valets are about $1 but I would imagine that it could be reflected in what kind of car you drive... Taxi charges should rounded up to the next $5 pesos or $10 pesos depending on how the ride was. Gas station attendants also are tipped depending on how much they do for you...rule of thumb is to ask for less then a rounded amount such as asking for $195 pesos worth of fuel and paying $200 pesos with the "keep the change" phrase on the end...actually we might get to liking using that phrase throughout the day!! Should you find yourself broken down on the highway--we are referring to your car...there are government helpers that come by to supply gas or the needed car part.  You must pay for the parts and gas but what you tip the helper is dependent on how helpful they were to you. On a happier note, should you find yourself at a spa the suggested tipping is 10-15% of the charge for the service. And then there is the odd person who may come to your home and collect your trash to take to a neighborhood/block collection place, or wants to sell you hot food or baked goods...and it goes on.  Right now I am thinking that those bars/rails that you see on city homes in Mexico, that stop you from entering their plazas/patios might be a very good thing on many levels.

I am actually impressed with what I have been reading about their garbage service.  Anything appliance/electronic picked up will be looked at to see if it is repairable, if it is then it will be repaired and sold but if it isn't then it will be taken apart and the different metals/parts will be sold off.  So there is little that actually makes it to a "landfill" type situation.  Very green of them!! I keep imagining those little brown hooded guys in Star Wars that came out of the mountains to check out things.....

1 comment:

  1. Ewoks! I love recycling Ewoks! And by that I mean Ewoks who recycle, not the act of repurposing Ewoks, because that just seems messy and possibly cruel.