I’d like to tell you a bit about my journey to Mexico City.

It was April this year, when I was getting interested in Mexico. I’ve obviously heard of it before, but it never really caught my attention. Before planning anything I wanted to know more about this country. I googled up their culture, food, climate,.. I also wanted to find some sights. I found out there are about 160 museums there. Let’s stay with numbers: there are more than 100 art galleries and 30 concert halls. Don’t get confused, these numbers count only for the capital city. It’s built on a lake and this is probably the reason why Mexico City is sinking. It has sunk for 9 metres so far. I guess that’s a lot. After checking all these amazing facts I decided to plan a trip to Mexico. I don’t like to travel on my own. It wouldn’t be a problem if I’d go with a travel agency but this time I wanted to make it more adventurous. I didn’t know who I can invite to take this crazy journey with me.

Suddenly, I remembered I have a friend who lives in the USA (that’s Estados Unidos in Spanish). Her name is Chloe and she’s the biggest lover of adventures of all time. She knows pretty much everything. She’s like a living encyclopedia. She never gets tired of travelling although she has travelled to more than 60 countries. I thought she was the perfect person to take this trip with me. I didn’t want to wait so I took my phone and called her. I explained my plan. I wasn’t even sure if she was at home but I was too excited telling her everything. She sounded a little busy. All she said was “I’ll think about it and call you tomorrow”. I was hoping she’ll say yes, because honestly I didn’t know anyone else who’d go on such a journey. However, I went back reading facts about Mexico. Did you know that Mexico City is home to the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim? And that there are about 500 crimes reported to police daily? It seems a lot but it’s still safer than Moscow or Washington DC. But I have to say that I’ve always been interested in crime, especially in illegal drugs and violence. The next day, I received the call from Chloe. I answered as fast as I could. She said that she’ll go with me, of course. But only if I can find a flight, because she has to visit her aunt in Costa Rica. She said she’ll find a hostel. We decided to start our journey on the 1st of May and come back on the 15th the same month. She offered me to come to the USA for one week before going to Mexico so she could show me some beauties of her city – Los Angeles (this name is Spanish, it means The Angels).

Booking a flight sounds so easy. Just to let you know: there are about 2.000 airports in Mexico. That’s a lot, isn’t it? I found a good connection from Los Angeles to Mexico City. It wasn’t very cheap, but the only thing that mattered to me was to come to Mexico. The next days went really fast. I had to start packing. Chloe always says: “Put your clothes and money together. Now take half the clothes and double the money.” Later I realized she was right. I caught my coach the next day in Ljubljana. It took me to Rome. It wasn’t the most comfortable experience ever but I survived. In Rome I took a direct flight to LA. I really enjoyed the flight. It was my first long flight, probably because except for Africa and obviously Europe, I’ve never been to any other continents. My favorite one is definitely North America. I’m a huge fan of the USA, Mexico, Canada and other little countries there. That’s why I was even more excited about it. I also wanted to know how’s Chloe now. Last time I saw her was last summer. She visited me in Slovenia. I didn’t ask her about her job or boyfriend. My bad. I was a little nervous because I thought I could get lost in such a big airport. But Chloe thought of everything. She waited for me next to the apron where we landed. I took my luggage and ran to hug her. I have to say it was quite emotional to see her again after a long time.

We sat in her car and drove to her apartment. It was in a big skyscraper. Her view was amazing. I loved her furniture. We’ve always had the same taste for pretty much everything. I guess that’s good. She showed me my room. I couldn’t believe she has a room only for guests. Chloe explained that many of her friends around the world come to see Los Angeles and they stay at her apartment for a few days. It’s cool, because they don’t have to pay for hostels. We talked a lot that night. It got late so we went to sleep.

The week in Los Angeles was one of my favorites so far. We visited Hollywood. We went to see The Walk of Fame, The Hollywood sign, Madame Tussauds and some more. We took two days only for shopping. It’s hard to even imagine how many shops they have in California. We also went to Beverly Hills. The houses you see there are extremely luxury. Me and Chloe couldn’t go pass without checking the stores in Rodeo Drive. You can find the world’s classiest fashion brands there like: Prada, Gucci, Giorgio Armani,… We wanted to spent this week to the fullest so we had to go to The Santa Monica. We had a lot of fun there. In this week I learned a lot about Los Angeles and California in general. Chloe told me that if California was its own country, it would be richer than Saudi Arabia. And that LA was the birthplace of the internet. When talking about crime, we have to point out that Los Angeles is the safest big city of America. The week went fast and it was time for the journey part 2.

It was early in the morning when we went back to The LAX Airport on the 1st of May. We sat on the plane and flew to the busiest airport of Mexico. It was a nice flight. Chloe told me that we’ll stay at The Casa Navarro Hostel. She said it might not be the best, but it wasn’t that important because we only slept there. When we arrived we took a metro to the hostel. Chloe told me that there are 20 million people living in Mexico. Four to five million of them use the metro daily. It’s because it’s really efficient and it’s the cheapest in the world (only 18 cents per journey). There’s a traffic jam all the time so it’s kind of stressful to go by car. Those rich people use helicopters to come from one part of the city to another. You can see them landing on some high buildings.

We stepped out of the metro on the nearest station to our hostel. Then we walked for something like two minutes. Luckily, it’s just around the corner. They showed us our rooms and we could unpack. I had to go to the toilet. When I found it it smelled really bad. Toilets never smell good but I was worried that the hygiene of the toilets was really bad. There was a weird inscription that said: “Please don’t flush toilet paper in the toilet, throw it in the trash. Thanks!” I thought it was a joke or something. Later Chloe told me that it’s not. “What a good start”, I said.

Next day we went to see some museums and other old buildings. We visited The Fine Arts Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral, National Palace and some more. It’s good to know that all the museums in Mexico are free on Sundays. In these two weeks I saw The Angel of Independence several times (also at night). It’s my favorite sculpture of all time, I think. We had most of our meals at the roadside stalls. We tried a lot of new dishes like: empanadas, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas and many more, the names of which I forgot. And of course, tacos too. We visited some famous shopping centers like Gran Plaza and Punta Norte which are a bit like Rodeo Drive, just with some Mexican hint. There’s a great market called San Juan. You can always get fresh grocery there. I found it really interesting that Mexican people keep chickens as pets. They dye them to make them look more attractive. You can buy them in almost every bigger supermarket. But to me they look like moving little rainbows. Chloe also told me that Mexicans dress really well for work. They want to look really good. When they’re in a hurry they’d do whatever it takes to look as good as they want to. They got so far that there were some car accidents because women were putting their make-up on and men were shaving. Is it really worth of risking your life just to come to work looking  good? However, the 15th May came really fast. It was time to say goodbye to Mexico and return back to New York first. There I changed and took another plane to Vienna. I took a train to Rakek. I had to change again, this time in Ljubljana. That’s how my journey came to an end. I was very satisfied and decided to take some more journeys soon.

Kristina Oton