Moving to Mexico: Chapter 21
10 Pictures and 1,000 Words
Mexico City has the worst traffic I have ever seen. I also felt like I was going to pass out from the altitude. At over 7,300 feet, it’s just under the 8,000-foot threshold for hypobaropathy, or altitude sickness, but I have always been susceptible to that malady. Perhaps it’s because I was raised at sea-level, or maybe it’s because I grew up with father who smoked enough cigarettes to make Don Draper and Humphrey Bogart look like goldbrickers.
“I can’t see!” He said one morning after waking up. My buddy from school had spent the night. We were sleeping on the living room floor after a marathon movie night when we were awakened by my father’s voice.
“Who smoked all of my cigarettes?” He yelled. He was frantically pacing around the kitchen, yanking the drawers open and slamming them shut. He needed his morning fix and it appeared that his girlfriend had smoked his last one.
I got up and walked towards him to see if I could quiet him down. My friend pretended to be asleep, but he was probably just afraid. I was mortified.
“Dad, what’s the problem?” I asked.
“I can’t see! You don’t understand!” He said as he searched the cabinets.
“I’ll just go and get you a pack, OK? Let me get my shoes.” I said.
“Get two.” He said. “Get two.” He reached for his wallet. I took the cash and sped to the local market. I was underage, but they knew my dad and sold me his brand.
When my father inhaled the first one, he looked like a man who had fallen into a river and had been trapped under ice. My drive to the store was the axe, my drive back broke the ice and handing him the packages was like his first gasp for air.
“Thanks.” He said. I went outside and just stared at the grass for a while and felt the sun come up on my skin. Smoke-blind. Now I had seen it all.
We don’t need warning labels on cigarettes. Just put a YouTube link of my memory of my father that morning.
Fortunately, I have never been addicted to anything. Everyone in my family has smoked or drank. I’ve done my share, but it never got me. Seeing my father and mother smoking, then seeing other members of my family become addicted turned me away from cigarettes. Booze hurts too much. I can handle the buzz, not the hangover, so I don’t drink the hard stuff. Just beer, thanks.
While in Mexico City, I had a tough time breathing normally. When we walked quickly or went up some stairs, the lack of oxygen made breathing an uncomfortable struggle. The shortness of breath made me anxious and worried that something was wrong with me. I had no idea we were at an increased altitude for the first couple of days, so I just figured I was really out of shape or that maybe I was getting sick.
“You should have said something sooner!” Betty said. “Let’s go to a pharmacy and see if they have anything.” By now, we had learned that it was probably the thin air that was making me so short of breath. After going to four different stores, we finally were directed to a huge medical shop. A man there was very helpful, but he offered a metal oxygen tank on wheels that was about three feet tall. Overkill. I just wanted a little can like this:
But, they didn’t have it.
*Amazon has it for 8 bucks. Gotta love Amazon.
I just toughed it out and promised myself to bring some cans when we go back to Mexico City. I hope I remember.
What I will certainly remember is that Mexico City is one of the most visually stunning places I have ever seen.
Centro Historico, the central neighborhood in Mexico City.
A light lunch in Mexico City.
My favorite Mariachi cantina in Mexico City, Tanampa. *Go early to avoid crowds.
*Just a couple more photos of the city.
Here is the view of the traffic from the roof of our hotel:
And here is a road in the Zona Rosa after an evening rain:
If you are bored in Mexico City, it’s your own fault. But, I still prefer the beaches in Tulum.
I usually write a couple thousand words in these articles and sprinkle it with photos. This time I wanted to add more photos and go light on the wording.
A few things remind me of why I want to move to Mexico: the lovely people, the vibrant culture and the beautiful beaches all draw me. But sometimes we are not so much propelled as we are repelled. I am not just drawn, I am driven. Driven away from a life that many of those around me live, repelled by my father’s smoker’s hack and his insatiable needs and disowning a home that has transformed into a place I don’t recognize.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, I’m hoping that ten photos are worth ten thousand words. *I’m not counting the first photo of the oxygen can. ☺
If you are considering a move to Mexico, think of it this way: we all are drawn to a person who fits our vision of beauty. Something attracts us. Then we get to know them to determine if our personalities fit. We spend more time together before making a commitment. Then we commit and work hard to nurture the relationship which rewards us for a lifetime.
Mexico is the same way. Find the place that attracts you, “date” that place for a while before committing and when you commit, work hard to create the home you desired.
And if it doesn’t work, you don’t need a divorce lawyer, just a moving van.
And that, my friends, is exactly 1,000 words.