Mexico – Day 1

My first big trip was Mexico!!

I decided to throw caution to the wind, put it out there and just go for four months.  My Spanish consisted of “Hola” – Hello and “Cerveza” – beer!

Call it naivety or an unknown adventure but I was off!!  I had decided one of the best ways to familiarise myself with the country was to do a couple of volunteer stints and registered with Workaway, a website for finding volunteer postings.

After much research and emails with hosts, I had just under two months of volunteer work.  One was on a horse ranch and eco-farm three hours west of Mexico City in Valle de Bravo, and the other was in a small city of 50,000 people called Coatepec in the State of Veracruz.

My first big adventure on my trip was trying to locate the Hotel I was staying in which was actually in the airport terminal in Mexico city as I was petrified to leave the airport.  Once I managed to locate my Hotel I was a lot better but after a nights sleep, locating the bus from the airport was a mission in itself.  I made the bus and could sit back and relax for a couple of hours taking in the sights from the bus.

On the bus from Mexico City to Valle de Bravo

The landscape was different, the people were different, there were massive car transporters everywhere as Mexico was a hub for car manufacturing (something New Zealand didn’t perform anymore) and big factories dotted along the highway.

I had to at some point change buses and ask for assistance from the Spanish speaking staff who didn’t understand a word I said and were unable to read the address of the town I was going to.  Apparently, I not only had to change buses but also bus depots.  In the end, we all figured it out and I was back on the correct bus to Valle de Bravo.  I decided the best thing to do when I got there was to take a taxi to my hosts Eco-Hotel that they owned and had the same problem, the taxi driver was unable to read the address and after much driving around we finally found it!  A good take-home point from that exercise is to have the address where you are staying, translated to the local language.

End of Day 1 – TEQUILA!!

After meeting my host’s Dad, I had a couple of hours to kill while waiting for Eric (my host) I decided to have a wander around the town.  It then decided to rain, and when I say rain, it rained so heavy and so hard the streets almost flooded and I soon found myself lost.  Most of the shops and streets all look the same, they have the same frontage and similar signage and I was beginning to panic, but then I saw where I had started and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

The Del Rio family had been taking volunteers for years and I was to stay in what was their old family home on the farm, and after Eric (my host) turned up, we drove to the farm where I met Brett, the other volunteer there and we sat outside with a cheap Mexican beer and watched the fireflies.  And so ended day 1 in Mexico.