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.

Travel Confessions: I went to Mexico City and Ended Up Getting Starbucks and Pizza

Travel Confessions: I went to Mexico City and Ended Up Getting Starbucks and Pizza

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.

Travel Confessions: I went to Mexico City and Ended Up Getting Starbucks and Pizza www.casualtravelist.comTravel Confessions: I went to Mexico City and Ended Up Getting Starbucks and Pizza

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.



18 Comments on “Travel Confessions: I went to Mexico City and Ended Up Getting Starbucks and Pizza

  1. Well, things happen! On my first trip to Scotland I got a full-blown sinus infection and after a trip to the chemist, I ate Pizza Hut pizza (it was around the corner from my hotel) and took to my bed. My poor husband, who was all pumped for some haggis and Scottish music, still talks about how he ate Pizza Hut in Scotland! At least the first part of your trip turned out well!

  2. No shame in enjoying the things you do at home too! Vacation is all about experiences, but it is also all about relaxing. Also, I always visit Starbucks in a new country – it helps you feel at home, but still a new experience. Love this post!

  3. At night time the area has street markets along the edge of the main plaza with lots of amazing street food, too bad you didn’t get to hang out at night time, it really is a magical time to visit the Zocalo area.

  4. I like trying the local cuisine when traveling but sometimes i worry about getting food poisoning. What could be worse than being on vacation and sick? I’m on vacation to see the place, not necessarily the food. So, i tend to stick with places i know like McDonald’s, Ruby Tuesday, etc.

  5. Haha oh girl. This is a very sweet and honest story. I have been there…not only have I also had Starbucks in Mexico, but one time I had an epic meltdown in the streets of Munich and I ended up in McDonalds sobbing into a Happy Meal (the irony). Sometimes we just want comfort. And that’s okay.

  6. Sounds like you experienced an authentic Mexican flash mob and lived to tell the story. Not a bad adventure. I went to Mexico last year and eat pizza too. Actually, Tlayuda which is almost like a pizza. It has cheese, toppings and sauce on a carb based crust. We went for Day of the Dead in Tijuana and celebrated in a very Oaxacan way with tlayudas which weren’t bad. I could have done without the chapulines as a topping….
    Ed and Jenn Coleman recently posted…Khao Sok – The Road Less TraveledMy Profile

  7. I too like to explore the various options of local cuisines in the places I visit. But then it sometimes plans do fail I end up having McDonalds’ for lunch 😛 🙂 Hope you never have this experience again… that of Starbucks instead of Mexican cuisine.

  8. I have so done this! Especially the Starbucks part! Did it in Paris. In Tokyo. In Kyoto. I forgive myself. It a fact with globalization that these American franchises show up everywhere and they are super convenient. As long as you are doing it 100% of your travel – which you’re not – it’s forgivable!
    Andi recently posted…Project Discover Week #3My Profile

  9. Unforeseen circumstances have happened to me a lot of times while traveling. Many times, like in London, traffic had me change my plans but that is a part of the experience too. I always try to find a place to eat before I get really hungry but that doesn’t always go according to plan and I end up at the first place I see like you did.

  10. It happens to the best of us. Good intentions go out the window when nature calls. At least you paired the pizza with local beer lol!

  11. You did this out of desperation and hunger so you’re forgiven! 😉

    I really try to avoid any American establishments unless I need to pee (without buying anything) but sometimes it’s only natural to crave foods that we are familiar with especially if we’ve been traveling for months on end. I think you’re being too hard on yourself – you did eat local foods elsewhere in Mexico and damn Starbucks for imposing their purchase-first-pee-second rule…!
    Lydia@LifeUntraveled recently posted…A Small Taste of Tokyo – What To Do On An 8-Hour LayoverMy Profile

  12. After eating a lot of unique foods on my last trip, I too ended up at a Starbucks in Puerto Rico. They actually had decent empenadas and the frappucino had a little Caribbean flaire with coconut. It is nice to have a taste of home while abroad.

  13. I studied Spanish in Mexico for a month and the coffee at my host family’s house was terrible! I ended up having Starbucks at the university. Ironically I don’t even drink it in Australia because we don’t have it (Starbucks that is).

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