Packing for Mexico - Giveaways
Charities, Kindness and Kids
Every trip is different but we usually run into some kind of adventure or
opportunity to share a life moment with a Mexican or expat along our
journey. Additionally we like to take things for children to play with or
use at school instead of giving them money or buying Chiclets.
Before we leave we go to our local dollar store. We take about $25-30
Canadian and make a number of purchases. For example we buy 4-5 coffee mugs
with a Canadian Flag. Or decks of playing cards. For the military we get a
bunch of lapel pins. Tiny maple leafs or the flag. For the kids we buy bright
pencils, felts, cards or hair clips. Sometimes the pencils or toys have the flag - but
often they are just colorful. If it is Christmas we get tinker toys etc.
We distribute our gifts in various ways. In a large city a taxi driver started honking at us and motioned for
us to move over. "You are from Canada" he said, "and you are lost." It turned
out that he had visited Canada, liked it and met some nice people. The taxi
driver then led us to our destination - a place we would have never found on
our own - and refused to take any money. We then went into our rig and
brought back a "regalo" or gift. A simple coffee cup with a flag.
Another time in Puerto Escondido, an expat made considerable effort to
ensure we had everything we needed for our kids for Christmas and New Years.
Days. He really spent the time. We gave him a number of Canadian decks of
cards that he could distribute to his buddies for Christmas. He was a hit.
Sign for Tourists asking
them not to buy from children or give them money
Children should not have to beg. We used to give money to them or buy
Chiclets but after reading signs such as this one from Valladolid, we
changed our tactics. Instead we purchase pencils and toys. We get our kids
to distribute them and Adam and Dylan are sensitive enough to make the kids
feel good about it. It gives our kids a chance to try out their Spanish. The
Mexican kids get to keep something for themselves.
We sometimes give the military checkpoint police a token gift after we are told we
can move on. They are obviously not a bribe as who would be swayed to do
anything illegal for a lapel pin. We distribute them because we think of
ourselves as ambassadors. We think that if we treat authority with respect
that they will treat other families and travelers with respect as well.
Warning: Canadian and US coins are worth nothing in Mexico. No-one
benefits. Not you. Not the kids.