Travel Confessions: I went to Mexico City and Ended Up Getting Starbucks and Pizza
Guys, I have a confession to make. I went to Mexico City with full intentions of eating nothing but tacos (and a handful of chapulines if I was feeling particularly brave) and drinking nothing but mezcal and agua fresca, but somehow had a day where I ended up getting Starbucks and pizza. Through this blog I encourage everyone to get out and explore the world; get to know cultures different from your own, taste local delicacies, and experience things you can’t do back home. Like most of you, I have limited time off and try to show how to make the most of a short trip or long weekend. I typically spend hours researching a trip, knowing exactly what I want to do and where to go while allowing for a little spontaneity here and there. I’m usually pretty successful at this, returning from a trip with a camera full of pictures, a handful of memories and temporary too tight pants syndrome from days of devouring the local cuisine.
So what happened?
Let me first say that this day came at the tail end of a trip full of memorable experiences, the kind of things I love to write about. I spent several days tasting the food of Central Mexico at La Villa Bonita, an immersive cooking school in Tepoztlan, and had a great first day in Mexico City wandering around Chapultepec Park and exploring the Museum of Anthropology (one of the best museums I’ve ever been to). My second day in Mexico City was supposed to be spent wandering around the Zocalo and visiting the Palace Bellas Artes. On the recommendation of several friends we boarded the Turibus, the red double decker bus that services the main tourist sites. What was supposed to be a 20 minute ride from the artsy La Condesa neighborhood via the main avenue of La Reforma ended up being nearly 2 hours thanks to Mexico City’s notoriously gridlocked traffic. Once we arrived to the Zocalo it was evident the 2 hour bus ride had an effect and well, nature was calling. I glanced down one of the streets off the Plaza Mayor and spotted the siren, salvation’s name was Starbucks. In order to use the facilities I of course had to make a purchase, a Starbuck’s cappuccino replaced the cafe piloncillo I had intended on having.
Fully caffeinated I walked toward the Palace Bellas Artes, the narrow streets getting progressively more crowded. Once we reached the Palace Bellas Artes we were greeted by a mass of humanity, a sea of people surrounding Mexico’s national performing arts center. Unknown to me there was a memorial service for Juan Gabriel, a Latin music legend who had passed away the week before ( I later learned that over 700,000 people attended his memorial service). The crowds were overwhelming to say the least and I needed out. Back on the Turibus I headed away from the crowds downtown and made my way to the tony neighborhood of Polanco. The wide avenues with grand homes and luxury boutiques is one of the most beautiful areas of Mexico City but I only had one thing on my mind- food. I was famished and getting to the point of being hangry and indecisive, a point I get to at least once per trip and is never pretty. I made a bee line for the nearest cafe, which happened to be Italian. Pizza and local Mexican beer took the place of the tacos and margaritas I had envisioned but it was just as delicious.
Well, we all have off days whether we’re at home or on the road. Unforeseen circumstances happen and the best laid plans don’t always go quite the way you want them. It’s ok to seek the comforts of home in lieu of in depth experiences are ok and doesn’t make you any less of a traveler. There’s a natural tendency to always show a highlight reel of our trips, what’s good, and wonderful and unique and awesome. After all, those are the moments we’re after on vacation,no? Trips, like life, don’t always go according to plan. The mundane, the ordinary and the familiar happen and when they to I think it’s important to show that side of travel too.