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Culture Shock

Posted on Thursday Feb 11, 2010

Words (328)

We arrived in Puerto Chiapas (used to be Puerto Madero) thinking we would be in the middle of nowhere, stuck in a commercial port, paying high commercial prices to clear in. Turns out we were wrong. Despite having been here before, we didn't see much of the area. The port captain let us sneak in and out without clearing our papers. This time however we had to go to immigration because we are international arrivals. In the past they used to charge private boats high commercial rates to clear in.

Immigration has recently changed it's policy about charging private boats, so now there is a separate fee which is much more reasonable. We paid only $48 for two people. (The port captain also charged $20). The total to clear in was about $70.... While expensive we were expecting a ridiculous $180-$200.

We were told immigration is in a nearby "town" called Tapachula. Turns out this town has over 500,000 people! It's huge and it has everything. We gazed in awe of the 10-plex cinema, the mall, the US-sized Wall-Mart, the Sam's Club, Office Depot and many other stores and restaurants. Who knew? We didn't.

Our minds were reeling in panic as we walked in the stadium-sized Wall-Mart and were overwhelmed by the billions of products. Billions and billions, in fact.

Shopping and selection are really just a bonus. We are anchored in the ONLY nice spot in the commercial harbor next to the estuary and large dock. We have a ton of birds all around us and fish swimming all around the boat. The other basin with the fuel dock and the shrimp boats is equivalent to floating in a large unflushed toilet ringed by a 1/2" thick layer of animal fat. I physically felt ill when I went over there for fuel in the dinghy. I still get shivers just thinking about it.

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