Visiting Mexico City for the first time was a dream come true. What happened in Mexico City… was not. To put it mildly.
I’ve traveled near and far and surely gotten colds or allergy attacks. Or tripped in the street or something. All par for the course.
But as I laid in bed the last full day of my 4-day trip, I couldn’t help but think… this isn’t how I thought it would be.
Even still, it’s been one of my favorite destinations so far.
Also, falling in front of hundreds of people really sucks.
And, he’s down
I got to Mexico City on a Thursday night. And the next day, less than 24 hours later, found myself face down in the middle of La Rambla (one of the main thoroughfares) in Zona Rosa, bleeding from several areas.
It’s not a great story. I ran into one of those little concrete traffic dividers – one second I was up and walking around and the next, on the ground.
Right away, I felt dozens of hands all over me, and me – stupid American with all the fear mongering about Mexico in my head – the only thing I could think was, “Great, now I’m getting pickpocketed. There goes my wallet and phone.”
Then I realized several people helped me up. My glasses flew into the street and blood ran into my left eye. Alone in another country, I noticed my hand was really really scraped and both my knees were bloody and soaking through my pants, which were ruined from falling. Damn.
A few people helped me to a convenience store where I grabbed bandages and disinfectant. Then went into a restaurant and washed myself up.
The next day, most of my body was in throbbing pain. I took a few Aleve and set out despite it. My left knee freaking hurt and I had a big bandage wrapped around my right hand, but dammit, I was determined to see Mexico City.
A few wanderings
I went to the big city park, Chapultepec, and the modern art museum, where I got to see Frida Kahlo paintings, and works from many other Mexican artists.
And went to Mercado Sonora, one of the biggest witch markets in the world.
And I even made it to the Historic Center of old Mexico City.
Oh, and I had amazing Mexican food for pretty much every meal. I love Mexican food, and enjoyed the authentic recipes with variations I’d never seen in the US.
Everything was so fresh and delicious. I wanted a good time as long as I could get around reasonably easily. Ubers all over the city were $6 at most. And I even made it to a few bars in Zona Rosa.
But then another thing to deal with
So yeah, falling sucked. But I pushed through it.
But then, on top of that, I got the worst case of upset stomach I’d ever had in my life. I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say, I didn’t want to venture outside for fear I’d not be around a bathroom.
I’d heard of this: Montezuma’s Revenge. A bug that affects travelers, especially to Mexico. Despite drinking bottled water and avoiding raw produce and street food, I somehow picked it up.
Between that and my entire body screaming with every step, I wasn’t sure if I could make it to a pharmacy. I saw one on the map only 2 blocks away, and made it to get medicine. Then ran back immediately to patch myself up. I had sweats and chills, my bloody hand needed new bandages every few hours, and on top of that, could barely hold down water.
So I spent my last day in bed, immobile except to walk to the bathroom and back to bed.
Dealing with travel setbacks
Of course, if it had been easier to walk, I would’ve gone to a pharmacy sooner. And if I hadn’t gotten a stomach bug, I would’ve ambled my way through Mexico City anyway.
But both of these at once? I was down for the count in a new city. At some point, I accepted I’d just have to give it a Round Two in the future.
I didn’t get to Frida Kahlo’s cobalt blue house, the ancient Aztec pyramids, and many other cool places around the city. I couldn’t everything in 4 days anyway, so went into it knowing I’d have to hit the highlights.
However. Everyone I met was so completely kind. When I couldn’t speak specifically about what I needed, people came to translate so I could get medicine. Several people helped me up off that street. A few sat with me while I washed up and when one guy asked how I felt, I just laughed sheepishly and said, “I need a beer.”
He said there was a chill bar around the corner and we grabbed a drink together. Then he made sure I got in my Uber.
It would’ve been easy to give up and cut the trip short. But I stayed and made the most of it. I even thought about extending the trip until I felt better, but wanted to get back and patch myself up.
What I did see fully convinced me to visit Mexico City again. I already can’t wait to go back and explore. What an amazing, amazing place.
To be sure, any type of travel setback sucks: delays, missed connections, hotel issues, and all the rest. I’ve dealt with my share of that. This trip was the most difficult I’ve ever had.
Falling and getting sick would be a downer during any trip, but felt particularly demoralizing because I’d looked forward to visiting Mexico City for so long.
It’s all in your attitude. I got dangerously close to saying “Eff this” many times. Especially in the sweatiest, grossest moments.
I made the most of it, got out and about as much as I could, and somewhere along the way, accepted it for what it was. It put me in the moment in a big way. And for all the setbacks, became one of my favorite trips so far.
Me and you Mexico City: rematch in the near future. So yeah, that was my Mexico City trip.
Have you had major setbacks during a trip? What did you do to deal?* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update!
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