Mexico City: Part One
Dieciocho, the week of the eighteenth of September, is Chile’s version of Spring break, and their National Holiday. The sun starts to appear in the sky, making it a little too hot to wear sweaters, the birds begin to sing early in the morning, and Chileans don their huaso outfits, eat empanadas, and dance the cueca, Chile’s national dance. It also marks the beginning of a weeklong exodus from the city to go on vacation to celebrate Chile’s independence from Spain.
We’d heard, from just about everyone that had been, that Mexico City was an absolutely amazing travel destination, and a must-see for anyone living in the Americas. I had booked tickets with LATAM airlines and was looking into their wheelchair policy when the first bit of unluckiness occurred. Unbeknownst to us, anyone with a cancer diagnosis needs to get a doctor’s approval to ride a plane, due to the altitude. So, we talked to one of our newer doctor’s, Dra G. to see her thoughts on our travel plans. After we shared our itinerary the Dra started with a very uncomfortable hemming and hawing that left us both feeling very unconfident in getting approval to go on this trip. Luckily, Dra. MLA, our therapist, talked to Dra G and demanded that we go on this trip. All the doctors who have known me the longest understand and appreciate that a bit of travel always makes me feel better, so our days of worry ended and our final preparations for Mexico City began.
Little did we know that we had also chosen to travel to Mexico City during Mexico’s national holiday. As a result of us getting into town when we did, we got to see a lot of cultural festivities and even take part in a few family games! The unlucky part of the story is that the roads to the center of the city were so crowded no taxi drivers would take us to our hotel in the Zocalo. We had paid extra for our transfer for a handicapped, private truck from the airport and yet no one would take us to the city center due to a belief that it would be impossible to get us within ten blocks of our hotel. They told us to come back in an hour, and when we did, they laughed, and told us they would take us in four, no three, hours. We were finally taken to our hotel a few hours later after mom had already spent close to 24 hours at the airport. She stayed there overnight in the airport hotel in order to help us with our bags, as Jon had asked her to help out. Of course we experienced hardly any traffic issues on the way to the zocalo, as the taxi drivers had promised.
The next evening we watched the Independence Day festivities from a rooftop bar over-looking the main historic plaza, with mango margaritas in hand. They were, hands down, the best drink we had all vacation and much needed after a long day of walking. We spent the day dawdling around the Zocalo looking into the grand cathedral and the presidential palace to see the Diego Rivera murals, leisurely checking off a few items on Eli’s extensive itinerary.
The following day we journeyed to the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan where the next bit of unluckiness hit. While I watched mom and Jon eagerly sprint up the pyramids trying to get a picture from every possible angle, I tried to take my own photographs with my precious iphone. Unfortunately, the vibrations from the wheelchair jimmied the phone out of my pocket and into some lucky person’s hand. Our guide pushed me back towards the scene of the crime and sympathetically paraded me in front of the vendors as he kindly asked if anyone had seen a pink iphone. When all was said and done, we left Teotihuacan with limited means of communication with family and friends who we were coming to see me, sore legs, and some pretty bad sun burns.