The Formality of Mexico – Mexicans are not afraid to show respect. Young people in Puerto Vallarta address their elders with Señor and Señora, Don and Doña. Upon entering a room where family are gathered, they will first approach the oldest person present and greet them, making sure they’ve said hello to everyone with a kiss or hug, whether or not they know the person. Guests are treated with high esteem and people in Puerto Vallarta consider it an honor to have a foreigner in their home.
In Puerto Vallarta, you will observe many old world attitudes towards dressing, eating, spending time with family. There is a certain etiquette in Mexico that makes it very attracted to outsiders. American eating and working habits are especially detrimental to the traditional Mexican way of life, where there is a special word for the longest meal of the day; sobremesa. This is a time to relax, enjoy dessert, catch up on gossip and in some households, watch the daily soap operas together.
Mexican children learned about human relations and proper behavior at the dining table during the main meal of the day. When we find ourselves living in Mexico we must realize how important it is to adjust our own behavior so it’s not to be seen as crass or rude.
We have been invited to dinner in Mexican homes where everyone from the smallest infant to the eldest grandparent is dressed in their very best. We’ve learned our lesson about showing up in jeans and t-shirts. There is an old saying about how it is better to be overdressed than underdressed and it is very true in Puerto Vallarta Mexicans take this seriously and we have been to some humble yet fancy meals in Puerto Vallarta homes where we felt in the midst of royalty.
Meals can be long, with much discussion and camaraderie. There is familial warmth that we do not find north of the border, a welcome sense that makes us feel wanted in this country. We love the formality of Mexico.