Los Negocios, Tijuana
I considered putting this tip in the Warning section, but since it probably won't happen while you visit Tijuana it seems better as a Local Custom Tip.
Actually having your hair done in a restaurant is not the usual thing, even in Tijuana. What is usual, is the fact that you can see almost anything like this that most likely would not be normally done in your hometown.
As I sat at my table waiting for our order, the sight of this young girl getting her hair braided fascinated me. I imagined the outraged reaction of most people I knew, if they had seen this.
Later, walking over one of the bridges, on our way to the border I saw a few young ladies braiding hair and asked their price. $10.00 for half the head and $20.00 for the full head--unless the customer has lots of hair, then it would be more.
Where ever you look while strolling through the streets of Tijuana you will see more than the usual. Sometimes it may be offensive, sometimes it may be a curiosity and sometimes it may even speak to you, it all depends on who you are and it is not enough to keep looking straight ahead. Look past the obvious, look beyond and don't forget to look up!
Spiderman dancing on the roof of Club AnimalE is a sight to see, especially for the kids! Just keep in mind that almost every thing you see in the tourist areas of Tijuana are a direct result of the interests of tourists who came before you. It is safe to say that in the arena of advertising / promotion / hype, there are few boundries and the competition is stiff. My advise is to enjoy the creative ideas.
There is no need to change US dollars into Pesos when arriving in Tijuana. In fact I recommend that you don't. All places will gladly accept US dollars and give change back in US dollars.
The Peso devaluates often and receiving US dollars helps the Merchants from losing out while Mexico's economy is unsettled.
The work ethic is strong in Mexico. This picture is of a little boy--chiquito mariachi--playing for his supper.
Throughout Mexico, the currency in use is the New Mexican Peso (N$). The exchange rate changes daily but it's fairly stable. Check the rate using VT Currency Converter: click on "Tools" at the top of this page and then choose "Currency Converter".
Dollars can be exchanged for New Pesos at any bank or exchange broker in Tijuana. Add numerous ATMs always operating in English and Spanish. Traveller's Checks are acceptable, but not personal checks.
Generally, business hours are from 9am to 7pm. Banks are open from 9am to 1:30 pm. Some banks open again from 4pm to 6pm. Some banking services, such as currency and check exchanges, are provided only in the morning from 9am to 1:30pm.
All stores accept U.S. Dollars. They often mark US currency as DLLS. And most stores accept International Credit Cards such as MasterCard, Visa and American Express in Tijuana.
A Value Added Tax (VAT) of 10% is usually included in the price of goods and services, with the exception of hotel rates.
What a nice difference with the USA where I never knew how much I would pay hehe.
In Mexico the quality varies according to locality. Bottled water is recommended.
Taxis : Because there is much competition, taxi drivers are open to negotiation. Always establish the fare prior to getting into the cab.
If you plan to drive your car into Mexico, you must buy Mexican automobile insurance before you cross. Most U.S. policies are not valid in Mexico. Should you find yourself in an accident only a Mexican insurance policy will be recognised as valid.
Don't be afraid to barter. This is a common activity in this country. Most retailers have set prices, but many will barter with you if you try.
Some instances where bartering will not work are places like grocery stores or pharmacies. People who are selling items on the street and even some shops will usually give you a break.
Even in places where bartering is not common, there are often a lot of other competitors to check out. For example, there are usually three or four pharmacies all right next to each other. Check each one of them out for the best price. (If you are buying medication, make sure you have your prescription from a U.S. doctor).
U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere in Tijuana so no need to change your money unless you intend to use the Mexican buses or continue your stay in Mexico.