Earlier this month, I had a reprieve from the heaviness of U.S. political chaos via a short vacation to Mexico City with one of my two besties, Jackie Larson. We stayed with a wonderful couple, Minerva and Leo, who were born and raised in Mexico, and it proved both a lovely diversion and a great learning experience!
It was my first time in a non-touristy area of Mexico, and it felt like I was visiting the “real” country for the first time. I did what I always do when traveling internationally and enrolled in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) through The U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs. While on the site, I reviewed travel warnings. Ciudad de Mexico was only at a two on a scale of four and included such usual warnings as petty crimes like purse snatching and pickpocketing.
To be honest, my main concern was whether or not I should have a custom t-shirt made to wear in public that, in Spanish, read, “I hate Trump, too!” But I didn’t. Still, I braced myself for at least some animosity. If I had thought about it more carefully, I would have realized that in one of the largest cities in the world, not all white/non-Hispanic travelers would originate from the United States, and it was not as though I wore an American flag on my person so as to be easily identifiable. While I could chalk my attitude up to the U.S. tendency to think we are the sun and all other countries revolve around us, in all honesty, I think that being ashamed of living in a society that is currently led by an administration whose belief system is rooted in hatred and fear has simply made me extra self-conscious in relation to those people being targeted, Mexicans especially.
I am pleased to report that not one Mexican was less than polite to either Jackie or me. For an enormous city, I found the residents to be warm and lovely!
While there, I learned from our fantastic hosts a couple of fun facts worth sharing:
- “Huevos a la Mexicana” is so-named because the tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños are the color of Mexico’s flag.
- I confirmed what I had once heard, which was that Mexicans answer the phone, “¿Bueno?” instead of “¡Hola!” The origin is likely that when telephones were first installed, the lines often weren’t clear and users answered, asking, “Good?” as in “Is the line good? Can you hear me?” The greeting simply outlived its need.
Although I do not consider myself to be a “foodie,” I do appreciate food and could go on and on about the meals that I ate (particularly the fresh seafood and a sandwich called a Pambazo!). However, due to length expectations for blogs I’ll spare you the savory details and just strongly suggest that you use your imagination and allow your mouth to water now!
My favorite place was without a doubt the Blue House (Museo Frida Kahlo). Even though I was saddened as I grew to appreciate Frida Kahlo as a disabled artist, as evidenced by a wheelchair at an easel and numerous rigid corset-like back braces in her wardrobe collection, I was also surrounded by beauty in each room, in the light that shone into the interior, and while sitting in the courtyard, filled with Aztec-design statues, fountains, and ponds and much flora and fauna. The residence had such creative energy, and I felt such at peace. I was ready to move in right then and there to live and write!
While at Museo del Templo Mayor, a museum connected to a large archeological dig site in which approximately two city blocks of the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan was unearthed, I remembered the first time that I traveled to NYC and realized that Chicago was young. Then, later, when I was sitting on a fallen column dating back to the Roman Empire, I finally understood, emotionally, that my country was still a baby. This led to two additional thoughts. The first was an appreciation for ancient civilizations, and how much they were able to discover and do with almost no technology or modern-day understanding of the world. The second was that maybe once the United States is able to extricate itself from the whines and tantrums of the orange-haired infant currently shaking the White House, maybe we’ll be able to right the furniture and begin to toddle as a nation. Here’s to hoping!
#travel #Mexico City #Ciudad de Mexico #Donald Trump