Preparation is maybe both the most and the least necessary stage of life. To be prepared often makes things easier, but the preparation itself can never prepare you for the real life experience anyway. With this city, the Mexican capital, the ancient Aztec Tenochtitlan, I wasn’t any more prepared than I had been playing Civilization V as Montezuma a while ago. Mexico City rings with a complex set of bells in my head, and after three days exploring the metropolis, it has not gotten any better. The duality and diversity of primitive and fashionable culture is striking, and the not particular rich Mexicans are still one of the most relaxed and non-hustelling people I’ve met. Being one of very few tourists, considering the population of the city, being blonde, tall, European- and confused-looking I am still not used to the lack of attention I’m getting. In any other country I have visited (not just India) people are much more on the hunt for tourists. Here, sellers are helpful if needed, but will not trouble you if you don’t trouble them first!
But, let’s take it from the beginning. The small portion of angst, leaving Edinburgh behind clung to me for the whole flight. Even when I got off the plane my mind was still lingering in Scotland, and with the jet lag, nothing really made sense. My host met me at the airport luckily enough, though it’s in the middle of the city, I would have been lost trying to find my way around. The scenery reminded me instantly of Delhi, but the atmosphere is quite different. There are not as many street kids, beggars, animals and not by far as dirty. But the little shops by the streets, the small houses with flat roofs, the mix of leisure and work among its inhabitants, and I guess also it’s the size of the cities that bring about a comparison. Staying at my hosts place at the far end of the metro, was also a Chinese girl who had been studying and travelling in Mexico for a while, these days waiting to go back home for the first time in eight months. On her last day she had suddenly decided to see the pyramids of Teotihuacán, and well, I shouldn’t wait til my last day I though so instead of sleeping after 30 hours train, transfers and flights I just tagged along and climbed some of the biggest pre-hispanic structures in the world. As a historian I feel I should have done it under more pompous circumstances, maybe a soundtrack, maybe a fresh mind, maybe at least a shower and a change of clothes. After all, climbing Aztec pyramids is not something I get to do everyday. Funny facts though. The pyramids are much bigger than you think, and much steeper. But it’s an easy climb and a quite disappointing view. Even though the weather forecast had been warning about rain, it turns out that Mexico is drier than, well, something really dry! Meaning that the wind blows dust, making it a less spectacular experience to gaze into the distant. BUT! HEY! It is still one of the most significant climbs of my life, and the idea, principle and story of that place is enough to make me go off! Happy as ever, jet lag totally gone, bus closing in on Mexico city again, the pieces started coming together, the sneaky travelling smile slowly spreading on my face, the unreality of reality. How can I suddenly be here? How can I be so lucky to both find and keep my happiness? I’m doing it again!