November 1, 2017–Mexico City, Mexico
What started with the excitement of an organized group tour around Mexico City, including numerous Day of The Dead celebrations, turned into a broken down bus, getting left behind, and having an eye-opening experience with the locals into the traditions that are Dia de los Muertos.
Completely embraced by young and old, sharing stories, tequila and celebrations, I experienced something more wonderful than I could have ever expected.
But let me start from the beginning……
Standing in line waiting to board our tour bus, I began talking with others and sharing in the excitement that is TRAVEL! Once boarded, we were moving slowly through the busy Mexico City traffic en route to Xochimilco (famous for its canals and water transport system built by the Aztecs). A little shaky, and dying out at times, it was becoming quite clear this bus was NOT in it for the long haul. After a few sputters, clanks, and flooding of the engine; we were STUCK, somewhere in the middle of Mexico City.
But…as TRAVELERS, what do we do? We make the best out of every experience! Best idea?? Find a bar, find a store, and get the party rolling! We did exactly that, nine adventurous women (mostly solo travelers) and one man (Vin Diesel look-a-like-ish) on a mission to bring the celebration to the broken down bus! We walked the streets filled with painted faces and costumes, food vendors, and eventually one festive bar. A tequila shot and margarita later, we danced our way to a convenience store for some ‘road’ tequila. We really couldn’t be bothered about the bus, we were just enjoying being immersed in the cultures and meeting people from around the globe. After over an hour of waiting for our new bus, myself and Vinny decided to make one last quick trip to the convenience store.
Ten minutes later…the new bus had come…and GONE! Vinny called it, totally. My constant optimism had my mind thinking they’d never leave without us! Busy streets, busy city, already over an hour off schedule? I would have left us to.
Stranded on the side of the road, bus-less, we did what any two Americans would do; call an Uber!
Thirty minutes later, and a few shots of tequila in, we found ourselves in one of the boroughs of Mexico City, Xochimilco. A city known for its canal transport system and artificial islands built by the Aztecs. The vibrant city of Xochimilco was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 to preserve the culture for many generations to come.
Color, color and MORE color!! The gondola-like boats called ‘trajineras’ were absolutely stunning! Each boat named bright and bold with an enticing Spanish lady name. The reflections of all the lively colors in the water was captivating to the eyes!
This night, the canal was filled with excitement. The locals and tourists all took to the canals to view the lights of Xochimilco. Each boat passing by was filled with people laughing, drinking, eating and enjoying the pleasures of life. Our experience was no different. Although we were there without the rest of our ‘tequila crew,’ the two of us made it a boat ride to remember. We drank, we waved at the other passengers on boats, we snapped photos, and we took in all of the richness of the canal. I struggled to capture the beauty of the midnight hour without my tripod. I even tried using ‘Vin Diesel’s’ bald head as a tripod, but the rocking of the boat prevailed. Through it all, I felt blessed to be in that moment, at that time.
To be continued…