I will admit it here. I had my trepidations about Mexico City. Years ago I sat eavesdropping as a boisterous friend from Mexico City recounted being robbed at gunpoint in a taxi stuck in traffic. Another friend casually mentioned that not one but two friends had been kidnapped on two separate occasions in the area (They’re fine). More advice: when on the fence about traveling to a State-department “yellow” destination, you won’t find much encouragement from Googling.
I’m risk adverse in most aspects of my life, but with travel I can not be dissuaded. I have an insatiable desire to fill in the lines of a 2D map with memories and understanding. I have to see it for myself. Plus, anything can happen anywhere. I may as well be in Mexico City.
We based ourselves in Coyoacan, home of Frida Kahlo and her Casa Azul. This suburb, engulfed by the sprawling metropolis, has a more low-key vibe than the downtown neighborhoods.
Thanks to the ubiquitousness of Uber and the cheap and vast Metro system, exploring the city was easy even from this farther flung neighborhood. But a piece of advice: do not try to ride the Metro at rush hour if you enjoy having enough space to inflate your lungs.
We met up with our Monhegan friends for a beer-fueled adventure on the canals of Xochimilco. It was pure pre-child exuberance. From the side of our brightly colored stick-propelled boat, we could flag an entire mariachi or marimba band. We could procure boat-side corn on the cob or quesadillas. We could order a bucket of beer or for the more daring a michelada (beer, lime juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce). Then after Radek left on a jet-setting mission to retrieve the kid for her Thanksgiving break, I engaged the friend network once again for an epic afternoon exploring the pyramids at Teotihuacan.
That night, I left a late dinner downtown with my friends and found myself along in a strange city for the first time in 10 years. I was reminded about the tax that women pay anytime they travel alone, abroad or at home. I could have taken the Metro for less than a dollar. But instead I texted my husband back in the States, called a $30 Uber and engaged the Share My Ride feature. Sure, anything can happen anywhere, but I’m not going to take any chances.