One month later, Mexico is a memory, and I’m missing the sun and the heat the way I missed my family when I was there. You should come and join me, I told them every day. That’s what I’m saying to the sun. None of my pleas have been successful.
Do I miss Mexico, though? It was a wise thing, I think, to spend the last few days of my trip in Mexico City. It made it easier to leave. The D. F. is a charming monster, my husband’s Mexican friend called it. Heavy on the monster, I’d say.
What I took away from the experience are the kinds of things I can talk about over a drink, then toast my good fortune at being able to return to my own country, a life of nearly infinite privelege and ease, my wonderful family, my clean and healthy city. I know very little about real life in Mexico City, and most likely never will. But this was what I will remember:
- The smell of raw sewage rising from the hole in the road, so bad I had to hold my breath or pull my sleeve over my face. It woke me up one night—and my windows were closed.
- Needing to wear long sleeves and long pants and shoes that covered my whole foot: not from the cold (it was their “winter,” but it was 26 degrees Celcius), but because of the men. See my previous blog post for how that all began for me, wearing a skirt, sleeveless top and sandals in the Alameda Central… How it played out after that was that I sweated my way through the last days of my trip, modestly covered anytime that I left the house. Not many Canadians know of the Mexico beyond the all-inclusive or the beach. It’s an entirely different beast.
- Riding the subway with the other women and their children, feeling safer because the men were not in our cars, but always, always feeling completely out of place; my backpack, running shoes and blue eyes gave everything away.
- Feeling sick just from the air; burning eyes, runny nose, tired. I did get to Coyoacan, a lovely old colonial town within the city where Frida Kahlo lived and painted, and even ate lunch outside at an organic café. The exhaust from the road was not organic.
- A strange lack of twist ties. They used ribbon to tie bags of bread, knots to close bags of sugar…
- The Museum of Anthropology. It’s an amazing treasury of cultural artifacts and information from all parts of Mexico. It was hard to actually believe that those Aztec sun stones I was looking at were the real thing. Unfortunately, it was hard to take it all in or be fully engaged; I was leaving for home the following day. I was also suffering from travel fatigue—I’d reached my saturation point. What I liked the most was lying in the sun on the hot black stone ledge around the pond in the courtyard. My last real dose of heat.
I missed my little casita in Ixcatepec once I was stationed in the rather rough part of town I was staying in (Guerrero), but I’m glad to have gone. Back home, my tan is fading fast. But there are daffodils opening up here, and the pale winter sun is turning the moss a jubilant green. I may not be able to pick fresh mandarins here, but I can breathe more easily, and bare my legs when the weather finally turns. And now I have these tales to tell… more fuel for this writer’s fire.