I will be spending my end-of-mission break in the US. It was planned a long time back, when I learned that my cousin is getting married right in time when I could have a vacation. So it’s trip # 2 to USA by default 🙂
The next thing I looked at was which country would combo US on this trip. It is important and quite a requirement for me to at least go to a new country everytime I travel. This trip will be my second to US, so I was adamant on choosing the “new land”. First choice was Canada. All things considered afterwards, money became the deciding factor. I calculated I’d be spending at least a thousand dollars just for the application. Right there, I stopped 😀
Why thousand dollars? Kabul-Dubai-Kabul airfare ~ $350, that’s actually a low estimate. UAE visa = $150. Leave of absences worth 3 to 5 days. Visa application fee = unknown but verifiable through the Canadian Embassy website.
I crossed out Canada as an option. Then I was staring at a blank wall for a while. I did not want to look down south of USA, because I know Mexico is just so ready to wave its arms sweetly on me…
I won’t look down, I won’t look down, I won’t look down…
Yet I did… And that was it, the point of no return…
It had to be Mexico! It must be Mexico!
But which part of Mexico?
Cancun? Where three girl friends have already been to before? They can provide me very useful tips and resources, I’m sure… Guadalajara? Just watching 1000 Places to See Before You Die feature Guadalajara for Mexico makes me so envious of Melanie and Albin’s adventure. Cabo San Lucas? I find it too touristy for my taste and it is more popular for its waters. I am SO not a water person. Mexico City? Why not?
A few days of hard-core research about Mexico City further validated my choice. I am aware of Mexico’s “reputation” and that was a primary concern. Yet, after reading blogs, travel guides and other materials on the internet, the more I found myself absolutely wanting to go.
Friends and officemates ask me where I’m headed off to this time, and when I say “Mexico City”, I get the usual responses, “Are you sure? You are one brave girl.” or “Why Mexico?” or “Be careful our there.” I cannot fault them for that. I actually appreciate their concern and that made me research more thoroughly and plan my travel as carefully as I can.
Why “Not Mexico City”? Mexico in general has been “popular” for its drug cartels and other serious crimes. Nobody wants to be caught in ugly situations when you should be enjoying. You went for a R&R! For that reason, a lot of travelers “avoid” Mexico.
On the other hand, “Why Mexico City?”
Mexico City is one of the world’s largest cities and North America’s largest. I am curious of how Mexico city “operates”. I am curious how I would fare in this megapolis. It would be a perfect place to people-watch.
Due to a large number of stately buildings scattered around the city, Mexico City or Distrito Federal is also called the City of Palaces. Also, Mexico City has the most number of museums all over the world. Surely, this would be an architecture and engineering enthusiast, history buff and photographer’s delight!
Most often mentioned in Mexico City articles is Mexican food. Yes, we know tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc. But are we getting the “real deal”? There’s only one way to find out – go to Mexico and see how Mexicans do it. The street food alone, I’ve read, is enough to satisfy even the most discerning foodie. As proof of Mexican cuisine’s significance, it was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Fourth, the culture of Mexico is something new to me. It is so far away from where I was raised and far from where I live now. This is my chance to experience a whole new world, the world of the Mexicans.
Lastly, Mexican telenovelas were popular in my country when I was living there. I have watched a few Thalia soap operas that it seems that I know something about this place, as if I know something about its people. I want to find out why Mexican telenovelas click in my country. Do Mexico and Philippines really share some similar culture and traditions as portrayed on TV?
I have read a lot of blogs of travellers who had the same apprehensions and impressions about Mexico City but pushed through with their plans. Fortunately or unfortunately I couldn’t find a negative read. The bloggers I found became converts and changed their minds about Mexico after their fantastic experience. They all advise the normal precautions any traveller should keep in mind. But other than that, nobody suggested scrapping a Visit Mexico plan but instead highly recommended to see the country.
It shouldn’t be so bad.
I am going. I am visiting Mexico City. I am going to visit as many museums as I can. I am going to marvel at as many historical architectures as I can walk past by. I am going to indulge myself with Mexican food. I am going to try and learn a few Spanish phrases. I am going to be trigger-happy taking photos of my trip. I am going to enjoy Mexican hospitality.
I will not be afraid. I must not fear. I should not confine my world to where I am comfortable, to where I am secure, to where I am safe, to where I can almost predict what’s going to happen.
I am looking forward to my Mexican experience. I am excited about the stories I will write and the photos I will share. I want to be one of the bloggers who would be able to convince hesitant travellers to explore Mexico and even go further than I would be able to in my short visit.
I’m excited about what I am about to experience…
After all, the best stories are made from experiences you least expect.