Tepic Tales: When We Got Kicked Out of a Hotel

We were driving through the state of Nayarit (I didn’t even know there was a state in Mexico called Nayarit until we drove through it, isn’t that sad?) and I kept being reminded of Taiwan. The jungle-y-ness of the green, the wild, the feeling that if you had some gumption, energy (and maybe connections) you could could make something happen. The people were also similar to how I experienced the Taiwanese: genuine. If people don’t give a shit about you, they don’t give a shit, and (unlike China) they don’t pretend to give a shit so they can make a buck or get a visa off of you.

coconut juice and homemade jalepeno pickle stand
coconut juice and homemade jalepeno pickle stand
coconut juice! in a bag! (- just like the Taiwanese soybean milk!)
coconut juice! in a bag! (- just like the Taiwanese soybean milk!)

Closer to Tepic, it felt as if we were back in Humboldt County. It was that GREEN, huge trees, the air had changed with the elevation. It was refreshingly cool. Delicious.

And then when we drove into Tepic, we were reminded of Paris – it has a lot of the feel of some of the older areas there, there is a European charm to it. Cobblestoned streets to boot.

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Tepic is (evidently, according to the guidebooks) not usually a town that people stop at. They tend to just stay on the highway which leads around it. We think the city is worth visiting. It’s small enough to easily navigate but big enough offer various things of interest. One of the things that interested us were the indigenous people in the region, most noticeably the Huichol (yeah, like the hot sauce).

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You see them ALL OVER the main square area and walking around downtown, most all in their native garb. GORGEOUS stuff. Long colourful skirts for the women, beautiful woven shirts, headscarves, absolutely stunning beaded jewelry. A lot of them were selling their creations in the square and I’m seriously kicking myself right now for buying something to have giveaway on this here blog – you would have loved it.

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sorry it’s so blurry – but she was giving me permission to photograph her by the skin of my eyeteeth, so I was HURRYING.
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these two were making eyes something fierce with Mac-Q (on my back)…and were very kind. they explained how they made their bracelets – and one of those bracelets took them ONE DAY to make….

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meriah nichols tepic mexico-29meriah nichols tepic mexico-24So we were just bumbling along, eating too much of that sugarcane that they douse with lime juice, salt and chilli (OH MY GOD. YUM. ) and big bowls of soup with hand-pressed tortillas fresh off the grill, stuffed pineapples, octopus empanadas and other morsels of divinity….

sugarcane! on the left, doused in lime juice, salt and hot chilli powder; on the right, just plain (for the kids)
sugarcane! on the left, doused in lime juice, salt and hot chilli powder; on the right, just plain (for the kids)

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I don't even know what this was...but it was GOOD
I don’t even know what this was…but it was GOOD

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when our hotel kicked us out. We were shocked.

We had arrived in the night and had everything (“everything” being the presence of 3 kids, a trailer and a hearing dog) okay’d. They weren’t keen on Kianna but said it was all right so long as we used the back entrance so that other guests wouldn’t be scared. (Larger dogs in Mexico are evidently used mostly as guard dogs, so people really freak out with Kianna, thinking she’s going to go all Cujo on them.) “All right!” we said, “no problemo.” And we dutifully used the back entrance.

Kianna didn’t bark once. Of course she didn’t; she never barks unless we give her the command to bark. Kianna was better behaved than any one of our kids and yet the next day the manager said he needed us to ship out because he was just too, too worried that another guest would be scared.

We went over E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G with him. What a service dog does, the organization that trained her (CCI), showed him her ID card, tags. We even showed him what she does and… no way, Jose. He said he just couldn’t take the risk.

I shrugged, I was okay with leaving. I felt like for a simple eviction, the guy (and everyone else in reception, and quite a crowd had gathered) got a long and tidy lesson on service dogs, so hey! Disability Awareness Training, right?

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We went on over to this gorgeous old hotel across the way, which funny enough was the one that I hadn’t wanted to try when we arrived in town. I thought it looked too fancy for us, so beautiful draped in lovely lights, huge trees, graceful buildings and old-time classic atmosphere. We went and checked them out – they were only 50 pesos (- a few dollars) more than the last place and had NO problem with Kianna. No back door for us, either.

We asked them why they would accept Kianna and the other hotel wouldn’t.

“Well, we don’t know about them, but if you give us your word that your dog will be behave, that’s enough for us. We welcome you.”

Cool.

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Tepic Disabled Access:

The main areas of Tepic are as physically accessible as any other in Mexico (- meaning, not very. But with a ramp here and there, some streets being spectacularly accessible or inaccessible; take your random pick). The cobblestones, while charming, would complicate things for a chair user, I assume, as well as a blind person who uses a cane? I’m not sure.

I saw someone using their chair on the street and it did not look like fun or comfortable. The street was narrow, cars could not go around the person and there was not enough room for the person to use their wheelchair on the sidewalk. Major access fail.

I was disturbed by the begging that I saw going on with people with visible disabilities. A kid with CP was in the square, begging with an older family member by him. A legless man on the sidewalk with h= a bowl in front of him. Another guy with an intellectual disability with his bowl. The powerlessness and the sense of, “help me; this is all I can do” deeply troubled me.

 PS

Wonder why we were staying in a hotel in the first place? It was because the bit that Alaskan Camper “fixed” broke AGAIN. This was the second time. Such a major fail – it now is worse than it was before we dropped it off with them. So we had to stay in a hotel so that Mikey could fix it.

PS2

even the toilet paper was nice in the hotel that accepted us
even the toilet paper was nice in the hotel that accepted us

 

Meriah
Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.
Meriah

@meriahnichols

#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
A comprehensive collection of resources for new parents of children with Down syndrome - https://t.co/WfzGfpmWm6 - 2 days ago
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4 Comments

  • Hello Meriah, I just read your post via On The Road in Mexico and really enjoyed it. I spend a lot of time in Mazatlan (am here now) and have driven through Tepic but your post made me realize I should go back and explore a little. Could you tell me the name of the hotel you stayed in?

    • !!!!
      I think it was called Hacienda del Huego (?) It’s right off the main highway as you are driving in from Mazatlan. It’s on the left. Hotel Las Palomas is the one that kicked us out.
      HOWEVER, if you don’t have a huge trailer or anything, you might want to consider driving into town, parking overnight in one of the 24-hour public parking places (- they are secure) and staying in one of the small hotels by the square. They looked wonderful and are about 400 pesos. We are going to try and do that with the next big town we stay in. Less hassle driving in/out/around, you get to really savour the feeling of the town and know that your rig is safe.

  • We’ve driven around Tepic twice now, never stopped because we’re just leaving or arriving at Chapala so we’re “in a hurry” to keep going. But your post, like Susan commented, makes me think maybe we ought to make it a destination sometime 🙂

    Your patience and understanding with the Mexican people re: disabilities and service dogs, and your attitude towards educating them is great. I admire that, Meriah. I guess the option is to be ticked off each time they lack understanding. You make a wise choice.

    You obviously have a lifetime of learning experiences having visited so many different cultures around the world. For those of us who are new to it and sharing it with out children we have many lessons to learn and embrace.

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