Here is a story about a little adventure I took while travelling once.
A year and a half ago, I was on my way to Aguascalientes, Mexico to visit Andrea. The problem was that I had a four and a half hour layover in Mexico City. Now, I had never been in Mexico before, let alone Mexico City (which is the largest metropolitan area on earth). But still, it was FOUR AND A HALF HOURS! I thought I could just hop out of the ‘aeropuerto’ for a bit, see the city square (Zocalo), and get acquainted to the country. I asked two veteran missionaries to Mexico City if that was a good idea or not. Both flat out told me, “No.” Did I care? Believe it or not, yes! I didn’t want to get kidnapped or robbed or killed! However, when I landed at Benito Juarez Airport, the idea all of the sudden sounded good again. So I took a taxi (another bad idea, they said), and told them to take me to the Zocalo. I had read that if you get a certified taxi, you are safe though. I paid the extra and got the certified one. Now, I know just a little bit of Spanish; but I figured as a HUGE multi-cultural city there would be plenty of English-speaking people…not! For the next hour, I walked around, guarded my wallet, and took some pictures.
Then, I did another crazy thing. I wanted to eat some authentic Mexican food, so I looked out for decent looking restaurant. I found one after looking for a little bit just off of the Zocalo. The first surprise was trying to figure out the prices that were on the menu. Here I was, a lonely American in big Mexico City, not knowing 10% of the Spanish that I
should have. Then I had to figure out what was on the menu and what it meant. I found something that I had eaten at a Mexican restaurant back home that I liked: Tacos el pastor. I also had to find a drink, without accidently picking some kind of alcohol! It was actually a sit-down and tip style of restaurant, so I had to figure out how to tip my waitress too! However, after finishing my meal and paying, I left thinking I had scored an A+ in my eating experience that day.
The rest of the time I spent looking at the city basilica, the Plaza of Four Cultures, and a few typical Mexican shops. As it started to get close to the time when I had to leave, I was looking for one of those certified taxis again. I looked through seas of cars, and found none—only a bunch of regular taxis. I conjured up in my mind a good idea—if it is a newer looking taxi, they are probably decent people; and if it is an older guy, he probably would not try to rob me. Plus, I would be able to take him down if he tried. After looking for a few minutes, I found one to my liking. He drove me back to the airport in half of the time, and for a quarter of the price of that certified taxi. From there, I took the last leg of my flight to Aguascalientes.
I arrived and told one of the missionaries about my little adventure. He pretty much told me that it was unwise, and that he would have had to answer to my parents if nothing had been heard of me (ie: robbed, beat up, kidnapped, etc.). I also heard from Andrea what that Tacos el pastor that I ate was: pork. Now here in the states, that is no big deal. But in Mexico, it is a huge mistake to eat pork. There is very often parasites and diseases in them that could make me very sick. On top of that, it is roasted on an open-air rotisserie—similar to gyros.
What an adventure! I honestly had an enjoyable time. Would I do it again? Absolutely: but maybe with a little bit more caution…maybe!