Search Results for: label/mexico city

Mexico City Doesn’t Like Me

diego rivera mural mexico city

I’ve been to Mexico City twice now and I love it.

I wish I could say the feeling was mutual.

Back in 2011 when I visited the city for a week to experience Day of the Dead, I got sick. Like, really sick. It started on the second day and, convinced that it was just my stomach adjusting to all of the michelada beers and some less-than-sanitary street food, I swallowed lots of pills and hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get better.

I spent the whole week feeling under the weather and miserable, unable to eat or drink some of the things I had been so looking forward to trying in the city. Let alone the fact that I hadn’t seen Scott for three months at this point and knew I wouldn’t see him again for another three months, when our round-the-world trip would start.

I put a brave face on the whole proceeding and tried to enjoy my time out in Mixquic and at the cemeteries as best I could.

mixquic mexico city

Once I got home, I got even sicker.

The doctor warned me I could have some kind of bacterial infection and scared the living bejeesus out of me. Turned out it wasn’t as bad as all that and my system just really hadn’t been prepared for Mexico. After a few days bed rest and plenty of water, I was on the mend again.

When it came time to visit Mexico again this year, I was really apprehensive. I was scared about getting as sick as I had done last time.

I did everything I could to prepare my system for the street food and the fact I may consume some of the tap water inadvertently. And I hoped for the best.

A week went by in Tulum and nothing bad happened. I was fine.

Another week passed and I had a slight hiccup when I was served re-heated meat in a quesadilla, but apart from that, it seemed as though I had conquered Mexico once and for all. I figured that maybe my system had toughened up after over a year of travelling around Asia and Eastern Europe.

Then, several weeks later, I headed back to Mexico City, the scene of the original crime.

Mexico City? It’s a Long Way to Go

I must have heard this phrase several times the other day as I made my way through 3 different airports en route to Mexico City. Apparently if you are a girl travelling alone not for the purpose of business, you must be crazy to go “such a long way”.

This phrase surprised and confused me in equal measure. People fly to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in one long journey, so why was this sojourn considered so crazy? I enjoy travelling and the flights weren’t that long, so I was dumbfounded.

And then it came to me. It wasn’t my travelling time that seemed so insane to people. It was my destination.

Before I had even left England I had people asking me if my travel insurance was up to date and to “be careful” while I was there. Reading the regular bad press that Mexico gets, it is easy to see why people throw out such words of caution. And yet, what has surprised me more since I have been here has been the fact that the locals also seem to subscribe to this way of thinking. I have lost count of how many people have already told Scott and I that we should be taking taxis everywhere, never eating on the street and avoiding certain neighbourhoods altogether. Needless to say, after our first night of arrival we have ignored all such advice. Not because we are reckless, but simply because such scaremongering has seemingly been so far from the truth that it is almost amusing.

Mexico: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

travelling in mexico

Let me preface this post by saying that I really struggled to think of anything bad about Mexico, which is why you’ll find that section below looking very sparse indeed.

Honestly, I even asked Scott to rack his brains and think of anything that really bugged us and got under our skin about the country during the three months we were there and he could think of nothing. That’s pretty unusual.

If you want a country that has it all, then Mexico should definitely be top of your list. It ticked every box for us in terms of cost, accommodation, beaches, history, food and weather. At times I would find myself annoyed by the heat, the smells, the noise…but then I left and I now miss it all. A lot.

I particularly miss the amazing markets and availability of fresh, delicious food. Sure, everywhere has markets and fresh produce, but they don’t have it at Mexico’s prices or offer the spiciness and complexity of Mexico’s street food. I now find myself wandering the supermarket aisles and balking at the price of vegetables. Such is life in Europe.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s my take on my time in Mexico. FYI – I’m not mentioning the food in the “good” category because I think it goes without saying that the food is great. You don’t need me to tell you that.

Good

Bus Travel

This came as a big surprise. I didn’t expect bus travel in Mexico to be any better than Asian standards but boy, was I wrong. Most of the buses for travel between towns and cities are first class buses, meaning that they come fitted with toilets, DVD players and comfy seats as standard. And the standard only goes up from there. For some overnight buses (and depending on company) you will get large leather reclining seats, a goodie bag filled with drink and snacks and in-bus entertainment. I kid you not. There was only once we had to take a second class bus when we were heading from Holbox to Valladolid and even then, it wasn’t a totally bad experience. But overall, for the majority of journeys you will need to take around the country, you’ll be travelling in style and comfort.

Friendliness

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Mexican people are extremely friendly. The first day we were in the country, the chain on Scott’s bike broke and a guy came running across the street immediately to help us. Locals would stop and offer us directions (not always with great results – see below) and even offer tips or recommendations on what foods to eat at certain food stalls.

beach in tulum mexico

Beaches

Who needs the Caribbean or Central America when there are so many amazing beaches in Mexico? Particularly in the Yucatan, the waters are blue and the sand is picture-postcard white. Every beach is Mexico is public, meaning that even if there is a hotel built on it, you can still take full advantage of it without being a guest. I love how Mexico allows everyone to be a part of its country and culture like this, just like they do with their music, fiestas and wedding processions. Nothing is withheld from anybody and everyone can join in the fun.

Flashback Friday: La Mascota Cantina, Mexico City

la mascota cantina
We’d visited La Mascota on our first visit to Mexico City, after seeing it on Bourdain’s No Reservations, but wanted to visit it again this year at a different time of the day (evening as opposed to lunchtime).

La Mascota is a typical cantina bar, where if you order a drink, you can get free food. Of course, this means that the drinks are more expensive than usual, but the great atmosphere often makes up for it.

Neither the drinks nor the food are mindblowing, but, as was the case this particular Saturday night, the bar is usually full with locals, singing along to the jukebox and generally having a good time.

Here I am, enjoying my overpriced margarita, along with dishes of pork ribs, chiles en nogada and more.

As long as everyone in your party orders at least one drink, you can keep ordering food, however if you do only order one, it would be considered good form to tip the guy bringing you the food.