Spending my teenage years and going to college in Texas, I always understood the concept of Mexico. I always thought I would go one day probably. I did not think about the cities or the states I wanted to visit. I just knew it was nearby and I was already so close with the exposure I had to Mexican culture through friends in Texas. Boy, was I wrong. I somehow did not think much of it because I was so obsessed with just crossing oceans and continents to travel. Many people say, “Well, there are amazing places in the US with similar landscapes. Explore that.” I get that, but this itch is a different one. It is not always about landscapes. It is just about this entire system outside of what I know. Mexico was just near enough to fulfill it.
I had a friend in Mexico who I recently met while she was on a work trip to DC. We talked forever, and she said, let me know when you come to Mexico. Usually, in such instances, you think – “Sure. Not sure when it will happen, but thanks for the offer.”
I did take her offer.
I started in Mexico City for a few days, mostly just interested in getting some yummy tacos, setting up a little, and enjoying the nightlife. I found the LGBTQ scene extremely impressive and while the machismo culture is very much alive in many parts of Mexico, the outlets were endearing. I also came to learn – you can put salsa in anything. Even beer, known as michilada. See below.
We didn’t spend too long in Mexico City my first few days because were were going to come back anyway. For a weekend, we spent time with my friend’s family in Morelia, located in the State of Michoacan. All I can say about Morelia – CHARM. Tons of it. My friend’s family was incredibly warm and despite them only knowing Spanish, I tried to use my combination of whatever small hints of Spanish I knew from a childhood in South Florida and Texas combined with a ton of Google Translate (thank goodness, I have decent pronunciation skills in Spanish).
As for Morelia, the city has expanded quite a bit from what my friend mentioned to me, but there was still a very “small” feel to it compared to Mexico City. It’s small but quaint and adorable. It was one of my most endearing city center walks with my friend, as we recounted our careers, our relationships, and then sat around and people and couple watched. I couple-watched a lot actually. Affection in Mexico City was very expressive. How I felt about it myself was beside the point, but it’s so interesting to see such a huge range of cultural display of affection.
The next day we set off to Patscuaro and then the Isla de Janitzio, where apparently, Dio de Los Muertos is quite huge (and I sadly missed). This was my favorite because it was my first look into the Aztec roots and a regional experience that so often makes me fall in love with places the most. More than the grandeur and the idea of needing particular sites.
Got to love street food. I had small tiny deep fried fish called charales, covered in tons of chili and salsa (let’s be real, everything should be covered in that).
Looking off the Isla. Always a pleasure.
Hanging out with the fisherman.
And what’s the point of photos when you don’t mention the cool people who were involved with you in the process. P.S. my friend’s “Abua” (short for Abuela) was badass and climbed all the stairs in the steep Isla. She’s near 80. I know what I need to strive for if I live that long.
I love this kid. His name is Arturo. I learned basic Spanish with him through cartoon form, and I probably am way below his fluency level. I basically could hang out with this kid…forever.
So, think for now, I want to leave this post short. Mexico City and Guanajuato needs to be their own posts (where I spent my time two weeks after), but I figured the only way I’d be motivated to write any post about travels again was to break them up into small pieces!