Background to my Mexico fascination
I´ve had an interest in global cultures for as long as I an remember. I´ve always had an interest in Mexico as I have Mexican family back in the UK, my uncle Jonathan married a Mexican lady (my aunt Paty) some 35+plus years ago and they live happily in Brighton. All of Paty´s family still live in Mexico City (and around), so over the years we had met them when they came to visit.
Mexicans are such warm and friendly people that it comes as no surprise that they took us all under their wings along with the notion of ´mi familia es su familia´ , just like the infamous ´mi casa es su casa´. So it´s fair to say we have Mexican family 🙂
Often when we visited Jonathan and Paty´s home for celebrations and parties (or should I say ´fiestas´), there would be a small gathering of latinos from as tropically far as, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and so on. I remember they would prepare some exotic foods from their home countries and would always dance at any given opportunity, and so amazingly, they just knew how to work their latina hips and I would be in awe of how they just knew how to groove. It was from here that my love affair with the land of cacti, tequila, bright colours and cowboys began……
First time in Mexico
I first had a taste of Mexico in September 2010 when we all were invited to a cousin´s wedding in Cuernavaca (known as the ´City of Eternal Spring´ due to its warm and temperate climates all year long) which was super fun!
It had all the Mexican paraphernalia attached to it, mariachi, weird Mexican sweets (tamarind flavoured, salty and sour flavours, 6 years on and I still can do it!), Mexican wrestling masks, flowing tequila and of course, tacos and esquites!
However, I thought, I cannot go to Mexico for the first time on a ´family holiday´ , so after spending 10 days or so all together taking in the sights around Mexico City, including the mind boggling Teotihuacan pyramids (pyramids of the sun and moon), Xochimilco (cute colourful boats), Zócalo (the very old historic centre which is home to the cathedral which is subsiding at a rate of 6 inches a year, due to the fact that Mexico City is built on a former lake), UNAM university (the largest university in Latin America), the quirky artistic neighbourhood of Coyoacan (which means coyote in English) which was home to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, a friend came out to meet me and we set of on our backpacking adventure around the country
First stop was Acapulco with my brother and another close friend. Seeing as Acapulco has become dangerous over the recent few years because of the drug cartels, we basically took shelter in my cousin´s apartment in Punta Diamante and soaked up some rays and basically ate and drank silly with many a laughs and jokes in between.
We bid farewell to my brother and friend before setting off to explore the likes of Oaxaca (the home of mole – a thick chocolatey like sauce made from cocoa which is used with cooking meats), the jungles and Mayan ruins of Palenque, the quiet city of Merida and then the Caribbean coast – Tulum (hippy, basic and eco friendly town – one of my favs!), Playa del Carmen (popular resort for tourists but not as built up as its nearby neighbour of Cancun) and Cancun which has a stunning shoreline (as do the others), but in my opinion is spoilt by built up hotels and resorts – certainly lacking authentic Mexican culture, but fine if you just want an all inclusive holiday!
After this trip I felt privileged to have explored such a culturally rich country with food that you can only dream of. However to be honest, I felt that I had seen enough of Mexico and that my next adventure would see me go elsewhere…… How wrong I was going to be……