My tropical listicle*

Survival skills for living in Yucatan

pool hammock

Monday fun day. Continuing on the theme of “in case you have any fantasies about my life…” Remember, the tropics are not for sissies.

To survive 110 degree weather you need lots of undies, for  “the sweat dripping down the butt crack” situation

Take 4 showers a day and make friends with talcum powder

Rise early in the morning, take a siesta in the hot afternoon

Leave the scene of an accident immediately (here you are guilty until proven innocent)

Make peace with the bugs, they outnumber you

Everyone eats someone in the tropics  (tarantulas eat scorpions, geckos eat mosquitos, etc.)


Scorpions like to play dead after the first blow, so bash to a dead pulp

Get used to geckos running around your house and their poop on your stuff


Street addresses are useless.  No one knows street names or numbers.  “Drive on the street that has the Xtabay (what’s that?) then go left at the man selling kibis (what if he’s not there that day) until you hit a tope (what’s that?) and a bit further is a house with red bougainvillea (it’s not blooming)  turn left there, It’s the house with a grey thingy on the gate on the right.

When lost, use the rule of three.  Ask three different people for directions.  A Yuca considers it impolite to say, “I don’t know,” and will prattle the most earnest misinformation.  If you get three different directions, begin again.

Worm yourself, like a dog, twice a year

Remember that “agua potable” is not agua drinkable

Expect to get only 50% of your mail, okay, make that 30%, okay, 20%

No companies whose stuff you want will ship to Mexico and if they do, the duty tax can be 100-200% of the value

Get used to men waving red flannel rags at you, they are parking “directors” and want to be tipped, although if you do what they say, you’ll end up having to call your car insurance company

If you see an imported product you want in a grocery store buy it immediately in triplicate as you will never see it again

Get used to answering the phone and having someone yell, “Who’s this?” at you

Eat dinner before you go to a Yuca dinner party where dinner is typically served at one a.m. 

When burning your mouth with habanero, don’t drink water, eat bread


Just having some fun with you folks.  But it’s all true.  And I’m still here. To be continued!

xo Liza

P.S.  What are the challenges of where you live?

P.P.S.  To enjoy the title photo, visit Hacienda Petac.

*For those of you who aren’t familiar with the word, listicle:   It’s a combination of list and article, the internet’s fave way of grabbing your attention with a short, probably useless read.  Not so in my case, as I’m warning people away from the fantasies of tropical life.

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9 thoughts on “My tropical listicle*

  1. Strangely enough, I love it all except the bugs, scorpions, cockroaches. Never been a fan of those but a necessary evil of the tropics right? The rule of three is so true! I love that. Not a lot of challenges where we live (Ont, Canada) but I am willing to take some on for a move hopefully soon to Cairo. We will see. Have a great muggy day 🙂 Cheryl

      1. I am a teacher and have accepted a teaching job in Cairo for 2 years at a Canadian international school. My one daughter will come will me (hopefully,,, still waiting for approval from her father) We are a blended family so sometimes these things don’t run quite as smoothly as I would like. 🙂 But we are hopeful it will work out as we are travellers at heart.

  2. Gee, this sounds like Africa, too. No wonder it didn’t feel that unfamiliar…especially the shopping tips.

  3. Oh, Liza, your observations are so true to life. The rule of three, translated, means you have to ask, on average, at least 3 local people where something is before you get close enough to it to figure it out on your own. I might add, all of the mis-information will be given with great enthusiasm and the most sincere desire to be helpful.
    Regarding domestic wildlife, yes, you’d just better calm down and learn to live with all them creepy, crawlies. They have you outnumbered by millions, billions, trillions no matter how much Home Defense you care to spray around. Just last week, I realized my cat was looking suspiciously scrawny and wondered why. I doubled her portion of Whiskas and yet she continued to lose weight. Finally, the lovely lady who helps me keep my house clean pointed out that the backyard iguana (tolok, in Mayan) was getting fatter and fatter and was timing his appearances to match feeding times. So now, I have to sit on the porch and make sure she (the cat) gets a chance before he (the tolok) sweeps in to finish the bowl. And you “northerners” think you have problems with a few pesky squirrels!

  4. I’m a bit late on this one, but I’m just catching up on past reading. I thought “listicle” was a cross between “list” and “popsicle” as in “here’s a list of ways to keep cool in the tropics, and the first item we will study today is the popsicle” hahaha! My ex used to say “cutesicle” about things or people who were so cute they were delicious like a popsicle.

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