I’m now back in the U.S. Below, I’ll pick up where I last left off, as we were leaving Buenos Aires.
On our way to Mexico City, we were supposed to have an hour long layover in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, but when we arrived at the airport in Bogota, we discovered our flight had been pushed back seven hours. When I asked an airline employee what happened, all she said was, “no hay avión.” (“There’s no plane.”) It would be pointless asking why, because it’s South America, and they don’t question these things like we do. They don’t see a delayed flight as a great injustice suffered by everyone involved, but I do.
Still, I didn’t make a big deal out of it, but the airline employee must have seen me dying inside because she gave us a voucher for a free dinner and stay at a hotel near the airport. During one of my rare, spontaneous moments, we decided to push our flight back to the next morning and spend the rest of the day and night in Bogota. Also, I’m not one to turn down a free a hotel stay and dinner.
We had an okay time in Bogota. We didn’t have any plan or know anything about the city, so it makes sense we didn’t have the best time. We at least got some cool pictures from on top of a mountain.
We enjoyed our stay in Mexico City more. The things we liked were the prices (it felt like everywhere we went was having a blowout sale, even though we were just seeing the normal prices), the food was varied and had a lot of flavor, and the weather was nice. It had gotten cold in Buenos Aires by the time we left, so arriving in a place where it was almost summer was a welcome change.
The only thing we didn’t like was that you couldn’t drink the tap water. I might have had a drop of it because I spent the entire fourth day bedridden with some sort of stomach thing. The water situation also meant we had to walk down the street, buy giant jugs of water, and lug them two blocks and four flights of stairs almost every day.
Buenos Aires was definitely more comfortable and closer to what I’m used to than Mexico City was, but Mexico City was interesting and allowed us to live large even though our budget was small.
Almost immediately after leaving Buenos Aires, I experienced nostalgia for the city. I looked back fondly on things like going to our favorite empanada place, the familiar Spanish phrases we used every day, our fruit/vegetable vendor Alejandro, and the easy daily routine.
- Restaurants in Mexico serve your food really, really fast.
- In both Argentina and Mexico, a lot of cars have seat belts but nothing to click them into.
- I counted around six American brands in Argentina. (Sheraton, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, T.G.I. Fridays, and Staples). That’s an incredibly low number compared to other countries I’ve visited and it’s because their economy is very isolationist. Arriving in Mexico and seeing all the familiar brands like Pizza Hut, 7-11 and Chili’s was like seeing old friends after being away for a long time.
- During our two weeks in Mexico City, it rained literally every day. Usually only for an hour or two around sunset, but still. Weird.
- In Argentina, and I believe in most other South American countries, they don’t like when people refer to people from the U.S. as Americans because they consider everyone who lives in North and South America, Americans, not just people from the U.S. The problem is (at least in my mind) that in Spanish, there’s a word for people from the U.S. (estadounidense), so you can easily avoid using the Spanish word Americano/a. But in English, the only word from someone from the U.S. is American. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Over the last eight months, Aeriel and I not only spent every day together, but almost all of the days were spent never leaving each other’s side. To demonstrate what that was like, sometimes I would work in the living room while she worked in the bedroom. When I would see her again after a couple hours, it would feel like I hadn’t seen her in a long time.
Since she went home to her family in Florida this summer, we parted ways in the Mexico City airport. Needless to say, it was overwhelming to try to comprehend that I wouldn’t see her for two and half months.
When I arrived home, I was surprised to find that nothing was weird about being home. Driving felt normal, seeing Herndon felt normal, the only abnormal thing was hearing American English spoken on the street everywhere I go.
For the first two weeks home, I had a newfound appreciation for first world comforts like water and ice that comes out of the fridge, fast Internet, and central A/C. But now all that has worn off and I’m back to taking it all for granted. Oh well, it was a nice two weeks.