My first trip to Mexico was in July 2015. It began with a 3 day stint in New York where I celebrated the wedding of a dear friend. The morning after the wedding, hungover and tired I boarded a flight from JFK to Atlanta, followed by a flight from ATL to Mexico City. My following flight (yes three flights in one day) unfortunately departed without me. This was due to a large storm that delayed our approach to Mexico City. Aeromexico kindly put me up for the night in one of those layover hotels filled with angry passengers who have also missed their flights. It was there that I realised that so to speak, “I was no longer in Kansas anymore”.
Lesson Number One – “No hablo Ingles”
The first lesson I learned is that Mexicans are very reluctant to speak English, possibly because many can’t. Now this might seem obvious to a seasoned traveller but to me and the cocky 23 year old Brit that I was, this was bewildering. It was there and then that I vowed to get my Spanish up to scratch so that I could look like less of a moron and more like the accomplished young man I aspire to be.
I went for a cheeky walk around the local area which I later learned was actually a very risky move. Apparently, Mexico City can be quite dangerous but fortunately I managed to stay out of trouble. In fact it wasn’t long before some locals were serving me beer and tequila from outside of their shop. That was also another little trip for me and I’m very grateful for the hospitality that these gentlemen showed me. Considering that neither of us shared a common language it was remarkable that we could still partake in the international tradition of smiles, sign language and getting wobbly at 3pm on a Thursday.
Lesson Number Two – “Nuestra mota es mejor; Our weed is better”
I staggered back to my hotel for some dinner some hours later followed by a cheeky toke (curtesy of my new Mexican friends) and then bed. It is worth mentioning that the product served to me was not in any way like the local herb found in London town. It was far less strong, tasted minty and had loads of seeds in it. Unlike the sinsemilla (without seeds) that you might be familiar with from Narcos Mexico.
This consemilla (with seeds) became a running theme in my entire trip across Mexico and I never quite found the ‘high grade’ that popular culture had led me to believe I would. Personally, I prefer the Mexican variety.
Lesson Number Three – The ocean is not your friend
Feeling groovy I made my way back to Mexico City airport the following morning to catch my final flight to Huatulco, Oaxaca. Located very near the Pacific Ocean, Huatulco is a haven for surfers with some of the most famous waves only a stones throw from the airport. The most famous is found on the Playa Zicatela in Puerto Escondido (the hidden port). This picturesque fishing village has slowly and organically built its very own tourism making it in my eyes one of the most amazing places to visit in Mexico. Also, the wave that I’m talking about is terrifying. At its max the wave is over 10-foot-high, like a 3 story building, it eats surfers for breakfast, snaps their surfboards to pieces and rag dolls the men and women that dare play with this beast. Personally, I was quite content watching the utter carnage unfold from the safety of my deckchair.
Lesson Number Four – The Cultures of the World Collide in Mexico
There is a nightclub in Puerto Escondido called Kabbala. The Friday night that I visited happened to be salsa night which was my first introduction. Allow me to put it simply; Latinos know how to move. They have a sense of rhythm that I’ve never seen before and trust when I say there is nothing cooler than watching a large group of people dance salsa like your watching Dancing with the Stars except these are no stars, just ordinary people on a night out with their mates. Mind blowing! The salsa ended at around 12 and then the DJ came out allowing me to get my boogie on.
The thing that I noticed about Kabbalah is that they have Hebrew writing all over the walls and décor. In fact, Kabbalah itself is an ancient practice belonging to the Jewish communities of history and is in many ways a lost tradition. I’m not all that familiar with the concepts but I was amazed to see that somehow these themes had found their way to a small fishing village in South of Mexico. Go figure.
Thanks for reading this far. I’ll continue with a part 2 very soon xx
At this point you may be wondering what has any of this got to do with madeinmexi.co? In truth I don’t really have an answer to that but at the very least by writing down my experiences I’m getting energised and inspired to grow this little venture as much as possible. From the very first moment I stepped foot in Mexico my life changed irreversibly and I remain determined as ever to continue with this project as I know there is a net positive benefit for everyone who interacts with us. The artisans now have a greater market with which to offer their products, our customers get to experience a small taste of Mexican culture at excellent value and I get to travel back to Mexico and expense it on the business 😄.
Here you can find a link to see all our collections.