Throwback pt 2: 13 Hours in Mexico City

Part 2 of my 2017 spring break throwback. We had an overnight layover in Mexico City while coming back from Cancun. It was a little stressful because it was one of those instances where everything went wrong.

“We were excited to get a taste of Mexico City, to see what real Mexico was like. Cancun was felt a bit like one big tourist scam; picture Las Vegas and Miami teaming up and conquering a Mexican coastline and putting a few signs in Spanish to make it seem like Mexico still. Cancun is nothing like Mexico City.

Our adventures in Mexico City only lasted 13 hours and every waking moment was a bit of a fiasco, like how most traveling goes anyways. We show up to the airport and order an Uber, they are cheap and we were told by a friend to use it. Our uber driver knew absolutely no English, spoke so fast I couldn’t even catch a single word, and he didn’t even seem to understand the fact that we did not know what he was saying. I had imputed the hostel address from google, but his app took him somewhere a few blocks away. These 10 or so blocks made a world of difference. As we were driving to this supposed destination we saw piles of trash in the street, stray dogs everywhere, giant pots of food being cooking on the sidewalks, and even an open fire of burning trash on a curb. He stopped on this one street and looked at us and pointed at the phone and we were like “no….” We used our phones to map out to the correct destination and handed it to him to use. He still continued to go the wrong way and due to the one-ways and blocked off roads, we were going in circles for a while. Finally we just asked him to go back around and let us off at this intersection that was two blocks away. I knew some Spanish and tried to communicate with him and direct him, but I started to go “Italy mode” which really means I get a little more aggressive and forceful with my words and directions. He thought he wanted to talk to the police at the intersection so he rolled down the window and said “hola,” but we were like nooo and Connor made a motion of walking. We got out and raced to the hostel because we were a little sketched out and stressed by what we had just gone through.

I have been practicing my Spanish for the past few weeks and being in Cancun I practiced a little bit and started to get better at listening and hearing the words (something I’ve always had trouble with when learning a language). Mexico City was very different. Our uber driver spoke so fast, it just sounded like gibberish. I went into a bit of shock and could not remember much of my Spanish. I prayed that the Italian word for things was similar enough that it would make sense. Compared to Cancun, this was a place where you needed to know spanish. I’m sure if I spent a week there I would build my confidence and practice enough to where I could get the hang of it.

Our hostel was fine and felt safe enough. We had to go around the corner to buy some water though. I’ve come to appreciate clean water so much more. In America, and in Europe, the tap water is for the most part, safe to drink. I would get through security at the airport and just fill up. I’d fill up several times a day at the hostel, etc etc. I love my water. Having to buy another plastic bottle everyone and constantly having to buy it, going to the store to buy it…. it was so inconvenient. We went to the store and it was locked, so we had to knock and wait for this guy to come to this window in the door and essentially take our order. I’m so nervous about speaking Spanish and I timidly squeak “dos aguas.” He closes the window and comes with a couple of big bottles, we give him some pesos, we get the change and we walk back to the hostel.

We are staying on the 5th floor, and right above us is the hostel bar, which sounds more like an intense techno club. If we weren’t so tired and stressed out, we probably would have stayed and enjoyed it. We had a tiny single room which fit our double bed, with about 1-2ft of clearance on each side. The next morning we learned that the plugs didn’t work and our phones had not charged at all. The wifi was even worse than at the Oasis, but at least somewhat-ish worked. Breakfast was pretty good at least.

We walked around the neighborhood for a bit, but it was a Sunday morning so not much was open. We weren’t as nervous or scared and so we could just enjoy Mexico City for a bit. Our hostel was right in the historic district so we got to see the cathedral. It was actually really nice during the day.

So we got a uber for only $84 pesos back to the airport. So when we got to the airport we were about 1 hour and 45 minutes early. We were greeted with long lines for baggage check and only spanish speaking employees.

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