So what do I pack? What do you wear in Manzanillo?

2014 Freda Rumford Vickery Living in Mexico October 2014

By Manzanillo Sun Writer from the October 2014 Edition

We have made the big decision! After the big dump of snow in early September this year, we have decided to spend the winter in Manzanillo. Several friends have friends who go there each year. I can’t understand why anyone would go to the same place each year for their holiday, but perhaps for a long visit it would be worth considering once at least, to try.

We have been to Hawaii a few times and there, they only need swimsuits, shorts, luau dresses or muumuus. Shorts and Tee shirts are fine for ladies during the days to go shopping or sightseeing and for everywhere for men. Is it the same in Mexico?

Mexico is a very different place to Hawaii. The people are not usually as casual in their own dress and have been very critical in the past about women wearing shorts and skimpy attire, but over the years that has changed. Mexican ladies are usually very color coordinated in their clothing wearing ornaments in their hair which match their dresses. Shoes and handbags are the same. Even the poorest lady will do her best to look as smart as possible regardless of the situation. Cleaning ladies will bring a change of clothes to work, so that they look clean when going home. Housemen and gardeners are the same. In employment which has contact with the public, most companies supply uniforms as the employee probably could not afford to buy clothes for work. In a country which is very hot, seldom does that uniform include shorts.

The latter fact was bemoaned to me at one time by the General Manager of a large car sales company in Manzanillo. He could not understand why they , Mexicans, didn’t wear shorts which were much more comfortable, but trousers, shirts and often ties were the required working dress for men. Dresses or coordinating pant suits and shoes with spiky, spiky, heels, the order of the day for ladies. It matters not that every lady seems to wear a dress at least three sizes too small, which show every bump and ripple under the garment. It is a source of wonder to those of us who holiday among these hard working people that they don’t swelter to death or break their faces on the cobble stones with those impossibly fragile looking shoes.

We are gradually seeing more and more Mexican ladies wearing shorts and matching shoes and head bands. But for going out they dress to the ‘nines’ in the best finery they can afford. Designer labels and their copy cats are definitely in! The ladies who live in the hills or small villages wear whatever they can find or are given and the several second hand stalls at the market do a great business.

Yes! But what do I pack. If the Mexican people all dress up, do I need several evening outfits as well as suits to go shopping? This could make for a lot of luggage.

The strange thing is, that the times of going out for the Northern folks, are entirely different for those of the Mexican people. Meal times are different and partying times are different. The Mexicans start the day early and have just a coffee and sweet bun first thing in the morning. Then they have a tortilla breakfast mid morning. The main meal of the day is from two o’clock in the afternoon until four. They may go out for a snack after nine in the evening.

The snow birds who visit each year often go out walking first thing in the morning before the heat of the day sets in, or go to the golf course. Then have breakfast about 8.30 a.m. Lunch would be about 1 00 pm and then dinner at about 6 – 6:30 p.m. So it’s almost like the story of the mongoose and the snakes in Hawaii, Never the twain shall meet

Bathing suits are an absolute must and probably everyone needs at least three. Next items are shorts and tops. Both ladies and gentlemen can wear shorts to practically any dining establishment. Obviously short shorts are only for the very young but Bermuda’s or capris are perfectly acceptable for any age. Men can wear their shorts and shirts everywhere and for almost any event. The only thing that men should be aware of is that singlet or sleeveless shirts are not acceptable in the evening, especially in the better restaurants but okay during the day.

It is a good idea to have a couple of slightly dressier outfits for the ladies, but don’t be concerned about that as very pretty Mexican style dresses can be found in Manzanillo.

Apart from those, a cover up for the beach, hats and a couple of wraps will just about do it. So here an example of the packing list. Be aware that there are laundries which will wash and iron your clothes in a short time frame. Make sure you ask when they will be ready before leaving your clothes.

For Her: For Him:

3 bathing suits                  3 bathing suits

6 shorts                             6 shorts

2 tops                                12 lightweight shirts

2 lightweight dresses       1 pr lightweight trousers

3 pairs slacks or Capri’s   Underwear/ night wear

Underwear/ night wear      light sweater

Wrap or light sweater        Beach Shirt

Beach cover up

Sun tan lotion, medications, hats, golf clubs, sun glasses, electric books and toiletries should also be taken with. Although most everything except prescription medication can be purchased in the shops and stores all over Manzanillo, some of them have to be searched for and most everything is more expensive.

Do not take American money or Travelers checks; Canadian currency and credit is still alright for the moment at least.

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