Mexico, Winter 2020
Instead of spending this winter as I usually do–hibernating (a form of self-imposed isolation), while paying way too much in rent for the privilege of living in a city I have no desire to experience since it's too damned cold out–I subletted my apartment and went off to Mexico for the winter. My goal was to "be warm" for the winter, and I imagined I would just continue to do from Mexico the things I would have been doing from Toronto, but instead I ended up embracing the opportunity to spend two months being a tourist in a country I'd never visited before. Mexico is fantastic. I definitely hope to visit again soon.
As the last "pre-pandemic" thing I did, I am quite pleased with my choices, I have to say. Pandemic self-isolation at home is actually quite enjoyable on the heels of two months of intense touristing and outdoor activity. I can't say it would be the same if it had followed two months of hibernation self-isolation at home.
My journey took me to Puerto Vallarta, Oaxaca City, and Mexico City.
I was really thrilled to discover that Mexican airlines still provide all passengers with the luxuries that other carriers now charge extra for. So in addition to the bonus of not having to change planes in the US, AeroMexico's cheapest seat came with 2 pieces of carry-on luggage, one checked bag, a free meal, snacks, beverages/alcohol, and a comfortable seat with plenty of legroom. I think I paid extra for my window seat.
From the window seat.
When it comes to flying, I do believe that half the fun is getting there because of that amazing view out the window. And when it comes to traveling to new places, that view out the window is an invaluable introduction to the geography of the new place, which I usually know nothing about. This trip was no exception.
Sadly, my flight out of Toronto was a red-eye which landed in Mexico City while it was still dark, so I didn't see anything out the window along the way. But, I left Mexico City for Puerto Vallarta at sunrise and the flight there was beautiful. Mountains and volcanoes, vast cities and expanses of farmland, a mix of dusty browns and vibrant greens.
Puerto Vallarta is a tourist town on the Bay of Banderas on the west coast of Mexico. I picked it as my first stop in Mexico because I figured it would be easier to get by in a tourist area without being able to speak Spanish, I have a lot of friends who go there regularly, and I figured if it's safe for gay travelers and Canadian seniors, I should be pretty safe there on my own. And it's not just a bunch of luxury resorts on the ocean. It's a place where people live.
I found an Airbnb for a month: a room in a shared villa, overlooking the ocean. It looked like paradise, but it didn't sound like paradise. Fortunately, the bed was comfy, the Airbnb host and my Airbnb roommates were really great, and the shower had lots of hot water, because that made up for the incessant noise from construction, barking dogs, kids yelling, dance club, fireworks...even the birds were loud.