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Welcome to... Mexico!
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-10-19 10:10:36 | Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico
Keywords: Welcome to
This is the third country I present you this way, and this is my first new one. Technically, the 3rd and last country in North America. Mexico is a large country both in area and in population, with a large variety of natural wonders as well as a very rich history.

Geographically, Mexico's longest border is in the North, sharing a 3 145 km border with the USA, in the South it has a two small borders with Belize (251 km) and Guatemala (871 km). Its almost 2 million square kilometres (758 000 square miles) makes it the 14th largest country in the world (yet, it's only 20% of the size of Canada). Mexico is mostly known by tourists for its beaches... being bordered by both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. However, most of the country is also very elevated above the sea level due to a high plateau. It's common to find in the middle of the country elevations above 2 000 m (7 200 feet) just a few hundreds of kilometres away from the beaches! Mexico City, its capital, is one of the most elevated capitals in the world at 2 230 m (7 359 feet, the highest being La Paz, Bolivia, at 4 000 m or 13 200 feet).

Mexico's 118 million inhabitants makes it the 18th most populous country in the world (roughly four times the population of Canada). Mexico City with its 20 millions people is the 6th largest city on the planet. With very young population (half of the population is below 27 years old) and a long life expectancy of 76 years, the country's population will increase greatly in the next few years, increasing the economic challenges it's already facing. Although it's a member of the G20, Mexico is a country where more than half the population is under the poverty line. About 78% of the population lives in cities. Besides Mexico City, the other largest cities of the country are Guadalajara (4.3 millions), Monterrey (3.8 millions), Puebla (2.2 millions).

The official name of the country is the United Mexican States. Not only Mexico mirrored the official name of its Northern powerful neighbourg but also the organization of its capital, which also stands outside any state and has its own federal district. Mexico is divided into 31 states plus the federal district of Mexico City. To confuse people a bit, there's a state called 'Mexico', almost surrounding 'Mexico City', in the center of the country.

The national holiday isn't May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) like most foreigners tend to think, but it's September 16th to celebrate the Independance (from Spain, in 1810). On that occasion, you see lots of celebrations throughout the country and people sing their national anthem: “Himno Nacional Mexicano” (National Anthem of Mexico). See a Youtube video with lyrics in both Spanish and English.

In terms of languages, we all think that Spanish is the official language of Mexico, but it's not officially the case. Although Spanish is by far the most spoken language in Mexico, it's not officially recognized as the official language. Even more confusing, there are over 60 languages recognized by the government as being equal to Spanish in its relationships with citizens. There are about 6% of Mexican who speak one of the native languages recognized (with the size of the country, that's still over 7 million people!). The most spoken of these languages is the Nahuatl, spoken by over 1.4 million Nahua people, in Central Mexico.

The currency of Mexico is the Peso, divided into 100 centavos. The current exchange rate is about 13 pesos per US$. The bank notes range in value from 20 pesos to 1000 pesos. The coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 centavos as well as 1, 2, 5 and 10 pesos. In both cases, their size and colours vary depending of the value. In terms of cost of livng, a litre of milk or of gas are just above US$1, a sliced loaf of bread or a dozen of eggs are about US$2.


Related posts:
Welcome to... Honduras
Welcome to... El Salvador
Welcome to... Guatemala
Welcome to... Belize!
Welcome to... USA

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