So this one is really, really late, but I have a good excuse! In spite of the busy season at my job in Mexico City, I travelled a bit in Mexico, changed my plans and moved for 6 weeks to the US and wrapped up the experience of my life with a trip to Peru and Bolivia. Current location: home, sweet home, but the next trip is planned and all preparations are made already.
I want to start off with the evaluation of my stay in Mexico. Without beating around the bush: Mexico City is not my cup of tea. Many friends and Mexicans were shocked, because I was pretty much the only person who didn’t like it there. I have many reasons for this. Number one is the safety situation. Statistically, Mexico City is safer than Chicago or New York, but with a city of 23 Million people and more, this isn’t very comforting. I had several colleagues who were victims of (attempted) robbery, pickpocketing and theft. My roommate and another girl were almost raped, but luckily managed to escape. Maybe all of these people had bad luck, but I didn’t want to take any chances. That’s why I never left my place alone when it was dark. I didn’t take any public taxis in the nighttime, especially not alone. Because I was so restricted to moving around during daytime, I didn’t feel free. And most of all I didn’t feel safe. This is the first thing that troubled me. The second thing that troubled me was the fact that Mexico City is a mega city. It was always loud, hectic and smelly nearly everywhere I went. And even though it is such a huge city, I didn’t find much to do there that interested me, in other words: Mexico City was boring to me. This is point number three. But what bothered me most was that it was more than hard to practice my religion, even if some Mexicans, like my boss – who organized a room for me at work to pray – tried to help me. There are only 3000 Muslims in Mexico City – 5000 in entire Mexico. There is no halal meat and at times it was a hard task just finding a vegetarian sandwich. Sometimes I was so frustrated I ended up eating frijoles (mashed beans) with bread and salsa. I don’t know how much, but I lost a lot of weight during my stay in Mexico. I don’t really like eating poorly or things I don’t like, because I grew up with eating as one of my family’s favorite social pastimes. Good food means happiness, comfort and well being to us. The lack of this was one of the main reasons why I didn’t like it there (I have to mention, though, that Pescadito has excellent shrimp tacos and everybody should try a Pozole!).
Another, minor, thing that troubled some of my female colleagues and me was the way men treated us. During my stay there somebody grabbed my butt, twice, on the rare occasion when I used the metro. This happened to me in Germany only ONCE in my entire life. We couldn’t walk in the streets without men staring at us so shamelessly, shouting after us, whistling or even grunting. Yes, you read correct. Some men would grunt when they passed us. I don’t know what this means, I only know that my friends and me were pretty much disgusted.
Now that I’m done with the rant, I like to spread some positivity! There are beautiful and amazing places in Mexico. I spent one weekend on a ranch north of Mexico City. It was worth every penny. It had an infinity pool, whirlpool, a recreational area with a big selection of books, plenty of horses from which you could pick which one you’d like to ride and classy rooms with everything you need (even a small fireplace for cold nights). The horses were very calm and you could decide how much horseback riding you wanted to do per day. The guides were super nice and most of all, I felt very comfortable there. It was almost like staying with a family. The stay included full board. The food was homemade authentic Mexican food. This was the first time I actually started enjoying Mexican food. I was also introduced to my first vegetarian Pozole. It was delicious!
After I decided to leave Mexico earlier than initially planned I made the decision to spend my last week in the Caribbean. Together with my Brazilian friend we picked the quiet island Isla Mujeres for our stay. We were looking for a lazy beach vacation (on a budget) in an area with few tourists and no party place like Cancun. Isla Mujeres fulfilled all those requirements, beginning with the hostel which included free yoga classes every day and breakfast in the booking price. The beach was just a few meters away. So far, this was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen in my life. If I’d get the chance I’d definitely return to Mexico, but just to spend my time in the Caribbean!
On one day we interrupted our lazy beach vacation and went on a trip to Chichen Itza, one of the modern Seven World Wonders located on the Yucatan peninsula. The Mayan pyramid was definitely worth a visit, even though it was super hot and crowded with tourists (something I am really not too fond of). On our way back we stopped at a Cenote, a sinkhole filled with groundwater, which is famous for the Yucatan peninsula. We could take a swim there before we continued the long, exhausting journey back to the island. Chichen Itza is a must see, even if the packages offered are a bit too much in my opinion. But we were too lazy to organize something on our own.
My stay in Mexico ended with a positive memory, which I am really glad about. (If anybody would like to know the names of the hostel, ranch etc. feel free to send me a message.)
Living in Mexico was an experience nobody can take from me. I learned a lot about a new culture, learned their language, gained more confidence, especially in terms of bargaining, got a new job experience and also, learned that I don’t have to like every place I go to. Just because every other intern liked it there doesn’t mean I have to, too. I am proud I followed this adventure through. Because also the unpleasant adventures shape you. And when you return to your home, you will see things from a different angle, each and every time. It doesn’t matter how often you left home.