One Bandster's Take on Monterrey -- Logistical Tips
This is take from a post by Wayne Smith, dated 10/12/99, which submitted days after returning from having his band installed by Dr. Rumbaut in Monterrey, Mexico.

Disclaimer:  This was compiled from notes taken by myself during the past seven day visit to Monterrey, Mexico.  It is not intended to be the most accurate set of information about Mexico.  I will try to limit myself to information that I know first hand.  If by chance you spot something with which you think that I have erred, just add your information in the appropriate location, and re-post the whole thing.  My intent is to give the Mexican visitor a pleasant experience.  I will admit that I like many things about Mexico, but as a 'gringo' have reservations about many things Mexican.


FIRST: Get yourself a book - But, be cautious...

There are two Spanish Languages, Latin American and Spain. Get Latin American.
I recommend: Berlitz - Latin American Spanish - Phrase Book and Dictionary ISBN: # 2-8315-6242-2      About $8.00 US$
Small enough to be in your back pocket, purse.  Has most everything for the visitor.
Give yourself a few days to get familiar with the book and it's layout. Another suggestion: Get the companion Cassette + Phase Book.

IMMIGRATION and CUSTOMS

Before you arrive in Mexico, you will have to fill out two papers, one for immigration and the other for customs.  Generally you will go through immigration first then customs second.  In both cases, I just place Passports, papers and all on the desk and murmur something like 'Take some, leave some'.  They look for something, stamp some, and push the rest back to you.  Do the same thing at the customs desk.  In Monterrey they have a lottery device to determine if you will have to open your luggage.  Press the button, Green light, your done, Red light, you ain't..

MONEY

The next time I go to Monterrey, I will take only Credit Cards, Traveler Cheques and US$.  In enough combinations to pay anything from $1 to about $20 in whole Dollar amounts.  I will NOT exchange money in USA.  I will carry only enough dollar change to get me from the airport to the hotel. ( See TAXI Below ) The Hotel Should be able to convert your US$ to Pesos at a rate close to the exchange rate. The first time you convert, ask for small bills, at least down to the Peso.  Try to keep exact change available at all times. Pay for the Hospital and for the Hotel with credit cards. (The credit card company will convert at the correct rate. Therefore, you don't have to worry). Try to have about 200 Pesos left for the trip, Hotel to the airport. (Our actual cost 140 Pesos)
 

HOTEL

Phone - 011-52-818-348-1515

The hotel used by me was Hampton Inn Gallerias (Street) Obispado (Neighborhood) It is a modern hotel, a little bit upscale for my tastes.  Most Clerks speak English, but try out your Spanish on them, they will help and correct you. Half the rooms there are non-smoking.  I got a room with a single King size bed, with couch and Reading Table. The TV had satellite connections to Mexico City, USA, Local - Had 70 plus channels, HBO, some only English, some English with Spanish subtitles, some English overdubbed in Spanish, some all Spanish, some Far East, some Middle East.  Quite a mix.   I never wanted for something interesting to watch.

The Hotel cost $125 US$ per night (Oct 1999), but Dr. Rumbaut patients gets a $40 US$ per night discount.  The hotel has Free Continental Breakfast which included enough liquids to get me through the liquid phase of the day.  Coffee, Tea, Yogurt, Lactal Bacillus Milk, Carrot Juice, Tomato Juice, Orange Juice, Mango Juice, Milk. (Side note: If you worry about constipation, the carrot juice got me going without a problem. Three days, Three glasses of carrot juice, Three major events.)  There is a buffet a night for $8 US$, but only soup for the solid food impaired. I suggest that you read all the literature provided by the hotel.  For restaurant ideas, etc...  then go downstairs, pick up the hotel's business card, one for each person in your group then call for a ....
 

TAXIS

Ask the hotel desk for a taxi.  The hotel will provide a free ride to the Hospitals, Businesses, and other places.  You may need to get a  authorization paper from the hotel to use a taxi gratis.  Taxis are cheaper than ones in the USA, but, a bit of caution. Some taxis in Mexico have Taximeters and some do not.  It is my experience, that Taximeter taxis are cheaper than ones without Taximeters.  Whenever I ask the price to anywhere, the price quoted is 2-3 times the price actually spent with a taximeter. The US State Department has issued numerous warnings about VW( Volkswagen ) Taxis.  That they are setups for muggings and robberies.  This may be true in Mexico City and other locations in Mexico, but all people that I have talked to indicated the Monterrey is an industrial town with much international business and that the businesses of Monterrey will not put up with any kind of taxi hanky-panky.  I avoid VW Taxis for another reason, I cannot fit in them. I tend to use taxi metered taxis.  In any case, you will find a taxi ride equal to a major thrill ride in any amusement park. Yesterday on the way to the airport, the driver was 5 feet off the bumper of the car ahead.  There were 8 cars in this train, at 80 KM/H!!! Prices paid by me:  Hotel to Downtown = 30 pesos.  Hotel to Airport =140 pesos.  The second day we were in Monterrey, we wanted to see a few things.  Started at the hotel, drove all over the city, stopped at two museums, dropped off things at the post office, stopped to shop, stopped to replenish her food supply, my water.  Kept the meter running the whole time.  Four hours, total = 300 pesos = $30 US$.  My opinion, cheap...   BTW: Use the business card to get back.  Just indicate to the taxi driver that this is the location you want to go.  Sit down, hang on, make sure the meter is running.
 

THINGS TO DO IN MONTERREY

Get off your _ _ _  and go somewhere, anywhere... I suggest:

1) I am interested in art and architecture therefore off to Micro Plaza (Down town ) take a taxi (30 pesos ) Walk around, look at the huge sculpture esp. 'The Fountain Of Life'  My Opinion: Fabulous...   Ask where is the 'Plaza Mexicana' - May not be your cup of tea, was not mine, a street converted to a mall.

2) Brewery - Didn't go.  I have been to all the major breweries in the USA, back in my drinking days ( Like what am I doing now? Drinking..)

3) Baseball Museum - Boring (I don't like baseball.)

4) Plaza De Toros - Bull Fight - There are two sides to the stadium, Sombre (shade) and Sol (sun), pay the extra money to sit in the Sombre (shade) part.   More gentile people there.  But, was informed that the shaded side of the field was covered with metal that radiated heat making the whole side hot if the sun was bright.  The sun was bright.  We did not go..

5) Shopping Center ( Mall ) - From the Hotel, out the front door, turn right, past the McDonalds, one block to the light, cross the intersection diagonally, any way you can.  There is a big shopping mall.

6) My female companion and I like to explore.  Sometimes just a walk will yield surprises.  The four days post Op, We went around the block from the hotel,  in four directions to explore the local area around the hotel..  Nothing to report ...
 

SECURITY

My thoughts: Don't do anything stupid - Don't wear expensive jewelry when in public - Carry only the amount of money needed for that day.  I keep my money split, some in my pocket and most in my right sock under my pants.  (You can get to it while in the back seat of a taxi, if you need to resupply the pocket money)  - Do not leave anything of obvious value in your hotel room - Keep your passport and extra money in the hotel safe (Generally provided by the Hotel) - Do not take unofficial -or- unlicensed taxis on your own, especially at night -  Do not walk alone on empty streets, which is something that I do all the time.  I am bigger, taller than the average Mexican, I walk fast, and carry a stick/cane. - But nevertheless, if something don't look right, I get out of there...

 


NOTICE:  All opinions expressed herein are the author's own.  None of this is to be construed as to being medical advice.


Copyright 2000 Wayne Smith. All rights reserved. Revised: May 07, 2008 06:45 AM .   Vanity Counter: Hit Counter