When I was 17 years old I spent most of my savings on a plane ticket to Mexico. I didn't consult with my parents.
In Mexico City I retraced the life of Frida Kahlo and gorged on street tacos. I sat at Leon Trotsky's desk, people-watched in the Zocalo, walked around the Aztec Templo Mayor, and stood before Our Lady of Guadalupe. I visited Teotihuancan. I rode a bus to Taxco where I bought heavy silver rings embedded with colourful stones. I stopped in Acapulco to swim in the ocean. By Oaxaca, I was addicted to travel.
On Christmas Eve I awoke on a stationary bus somewhere in the rainforest of Chiapas. A fallen tree was blocking the road, and the driver explained that it wouldn't be moved until morning. A sign outside warned that we had entered Zapatista Territory; I stepped out and bargained for a thick blue blanket on the side of the road. Snuggling with my backpack, I tried to sleep.
We arrived early and before setting off for the Mayan ruins outside of Palenque, I was tasked with securing a room. It was Christmas and there weren't many people in town. Wrapped in my blanket, I walked from hostel to hostel. Everywhere was booked and I was delighted by the idea of a girl named Maria wrapped in blue walking from inn to inn on Christmas in search of a bed.
The photo is me (when I went by my middle name Maria) at Monte Alban in Oaxaca.
|An unforgettable Christmas.|