The road less travelled...


Advertisement
Published: June 20th 2011
Edit Blog Post

I was watching Departures one night and beyond any words Justin, Andre, and Scott inspired me... I thought... it has been the biggest fear for me to travel on my own, especially having no set plan of where to go, how to get there and where to stay... and since I have 6 days off work... and having the chance to stretch a few more days off... this is my chance... it came to a now or never.... I decided to head down to Mexico City...

Lucky enough I met a local who became a good friend from my Cabo trip last february and he had told me he would be heading down to Guanajuato around the same time I decided to head down to Mexico. It was just perfect! I do know un poquito of espaniol due to my background, since I'm lucky enough to still speak fluent Tagalog (filipino)... but this would be my first time backpacking... and as exciting as it is... I still have to be aware of the dangers that I might be facing ahead of me... within less than 2 weeks of preparation, words of my 'trip' started spreading like a virus at my workplace... I didnt intend to tell anyone at work about it... But one person managed to find out and next thing you know... other nurses, doctors, even medics!!... that's right... paramedics who I know and happen to pass by in the emergency to drop another poor soul were shocked at my destination.... to see the looks on their faces was just priceless... followed by the question "out of all the places, why Mexico City?"... but it doesnt stop there... the biggest highlight of all the conversations I had with people who works in the medical field (and I am not exagerating this but really everyone said this!)... "Mexico City is dangerous! You can die there! You shouldnt go!" .... Funny enough... the day before I left I came by to my family's house to inform them of my trip... to say bye before I leave... my dad said the exact same thing! Better yet, they tried to scare me even more by telling me stories that happened to a friend of a friend... now... doesn't that situation sound familiar? I'm sure we all have had this experience often enough in our lives....

My point was simple to everyone who had warned me... it will be my first time backpacking and if I am about to break my fear of travelling versus being a bonafide tourist... If I want to experience culture first hand and seeing things the way it is rather than going to a place to see what you came there to see... I need to do it with a bang! Mexico City it is! The place most misunderstood city... well that's an understatment since when you say the word Mexico, it just screams danger to everyone's eyes due to its unrelenting reputation of drug trafficking or simply the 'drug war'....

But I was determined, the show departures movitated me since in one episode they went to a country which unfortunately I forgot where... during that time there was a war going on and it was highly advised not to go there for unecessary travels... but they still went... I remembered them saying somewhere along the line that sometimes you have to look past the news and see the country for yourself because some certain areas might be dangerous but that does not mean the whole country is.... so there I was... for the fourth time... heading down to Mexico... but this time... I wont be by the beach or any place where tourists will be flocking like seagulls... I wont be a tourist... this time I will be a traveler...

So, packing... my biggest problem was I am that type of girl who packs more than what I normally need.... but this time since I only have a backpack to rely on... I need to think essentials... I thought to myself... stop this high maintenance way of thinking and let me pack what I will just need.... since 9 days and 8 nights... is a little bit of a stretch compared to the good 'ol relaxing 7 days all-inclusive trips I had done with the 3 trips I did in Mexico... Anyways I was able to manage to pack just essentials 'only' but by that meant I sneaked 4 extra dresses (of course I would need this for some night of drinking and dancing), extra and I mean extra undies, and extra tops... how convenient it is going to a warm country I thought... u pack lighter.... with all the packing and thinking I find that it took me longer than normal to pack which I was proud of myself to bring 'only' essentials.... 'only' to find myself when I opened my stuff at Mexico City that I had brought two conditioners instead of shampoo... well big deal right? ....

As we arrived Mexico City, I was adamant to take the registered cab and made sure did a lot of reading how to distinguish one beforehand.... can't blame me though I just want to make sure we get to the hostel with all our money and in one piece! We paid our cab ahead of time for $135 (pesos) to the registered cab stand inside the International Juarez airport, this was located just before you exit the door of the airport... I would say it took us about 30-45 min cab ride from the airport to Centro Historico where our hostel was conveniently located...

Just when you thought everything was going according to plan, the cab driver breaks the bad news.... there's just too much people and ts crazy on a saturday afternoon so he dropped us off, farther than the drop off zone and we had to walk through the zocolo filled with thick crowds, market everywhere, and yelling people.... with our backpacks...

what was going on in my head after this? simple... 'oh fuck!' .... we made it through the crowd after struggling to get through... well I realized after, its not that far of a walk to our hostel...

According to my Cabo friend who found and pre-booked this hostel that it's one of the best ones in the area... for 2 nights we paid around $500+(pesos) between two people which was amazing! It's Hostel Moneda... and honestly the room was simple.... beds with decent, clean sheets (thank God there's no bed bugs!), a locker (you need to provide your own padlock), a bathtub! .... aside from all the luxuries we can ask for after finding out that there's no cold water no matter how long you let the shower run, low pressured shower water, the room smelling like a new paint job... it was decent and cheap! I mean... my thing is as long as there's no bed bugs or any creepy crawlers in the room... I'm fine! However, I must warn anyone who decides to stay at this hostel... It was my fault I admit to leave my i-pod touch inside my hand carry bag thinking that nothing will happen to it... it was stolen... so lesson learned.... when backpacking, don't even bother bringing your i-pod or if you do, make sure you have it with you at all times....

We visited the Catedral Metropolitano, was lucky to have made it on the last tour ... you find them usually on the side door (front) of the catedral, it is $15 (pesos) entrance fee and you go on top of the catedral... warning though it is only in spanish... you get to see the whole zocolo from the top of the cathedral and get some brief history of the the church itself and its baroque style... last but not the least you get to encounter the bell that they punished for x amount of years for killing a man, punishment: it was never used for a long time until it was forgiven... This is a good tour around the rooftop of the church, amazing view of the city and the church itself... it's almost you're on top of the world!

As we walked further down the Zocolo, there were drums, people in masks and traditional costumes dancing around each other with a lady making sure everyone's getting a dose of the incense in her hands.... People in tents protesting something that I had no clue at all... passersby, people selling trinkets, food vendors, a lot of couples holding each others hands.... it was very lively and safe... I saw kids running around... there's cops everywhere apparently to make sure that there's no drug trafficking going on especially to make the tourists feel safe... and btw the only toursist I've seen during my stay in Mexico City were either mexicans from another state, and some tourists from South America.... you can easily tell the success of media in North America for keeping us away from 'dangerous' countries in the world.... only thing was... I felt totally safe....

Being in the core city of Mexico, being away from the beaches, the all-inclusive life.... in a city where not a lot of North Americans visit due to its reputation... I saw their culture.... I ate their street foods and it was amazing! Way better than the ones made in the resorts... it's like something I've never had ever before... one thing about the City though they do not accept American $ only in pesos which was an amazing idea I think....

During the night time before heading back to the hostel to party on the rooftop... we noticed the ceremonial dance that had been going on since we arrived in the city.... By talking to the locals (in spanish of course) we found out that they do this ritual once a year I believe... I may be wrong and I totally missed what the ritual was called but apparently it has been passed on from generations after generations... simple a ritual to give thanks to the four corners N,S, E,W (then again I may have understood it wrong so pls dont rely on me... right now I am being a poor historian)... But while standing and watching this ritual, a little came up to me and handed me this candy made out of this specific plant and I am sorry becuase I forgot what it's called (damn memory)... it's an acquired taste for sure... but she gave it to us for free... and to everyone who decides to come and watch this spectacle... I thought that was very thoughtful... I mean... not only your seeing culture in front of you.... but they made sure that you get to taste it as well... literally... It was an amazing experience, although I must admit that I don't understand most of it... it was just a great feeling... to be there... at that moment... well we did stayed until the end of the ritual... and the entitre time, one thing had been going on in my mind...

damn... they have an excellent cardio to be able to dance and twirl the whole day without looking tired or showing any signs of dizziness... AMAZING!

My opinion of Mexico City.... beautiful, historical, stunning, and safe.... its true when Scott said in the show Departures that sometimes you have to ignore the media because a city like this is a definite must see.... must experience... must visit....


Additional photos below
Photos: 52, Displayed: 29


Advertisement



23rd August 2011

thank you
it is so nice you actually decided to do such a trip...recently a friend of mine decided to go to Mexico as well...the first thing i thought was- as everyone- "its dangerous"...reading your expierience really changed my mind and made me think diffrent...it is very bad to exclude travellng adventures because of fear....thank you
26th November 2011

your welcome :) thanks for taking the time to read my blog... I hope it inspired you to take the risk and go travel :D ... let your adventures begin :)

Tot: 0.082s; Tpl: 0.028s; cc: 10; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0227s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb