This post is a part of looking back at my time in Oaxaca.
My last week in Mexico was pretty crazy. Monday started out all right. We had a great night exploring the city. I was a bit tired, but that was it. However, by Tuesday I was not doing well at all. I ended up going to a doctor and being sent home to bed. Which I didn’t really want to do. After that, it all blurred together.
I managed to get some kind of bacterial infection. Maybe from something I ate, drank or even from our Sunday swim. I will never know for sure, but what I do know is that I could not eat for a week. I ended up spending days laying in bed, sleeping and watching Netflix movies when I couldn’t sleep.
I went to the doctor, the emergency room in Oaxaca twice, and the emergency room in Mexico City. Not because I was dying, but because of my treatment. They gave me pills at first, but they were no use because I couldn’t keep anything down. So then they took me to the hospital and gave me two shots in my rear end: one to keep food and water in my body, and another to fight whatever the illness was.
When the first shot that was meant to make it possible for me to retain my water and meager food intake did not work, they send me back to the emergency room for more shots. Then they told me to get another the next day (when we would be laid over in Mexico City) just to make sure I got better. Then they had me on a pill regimen of other stuff to make sure I was better, and a powder to mix with water and drink that helped boost my immune system.
So let me tell you about that pharmacy. When the doctor wrote prescriptions, I went and got them filled. But these prescriptions were not just pills, they also included the shots. The way they do it there, I had to purchase my own injection fluid and my own syringes, which for a small fee I could pay the hospital to administer with the accompaniment of my written directions from the ER doctor.
To sum up this story, I survived the health care system in Mexico. It wasn’t super expensive, and they got me better by the end of the week. Not that I wasn’t exhausted, because I totally was. At least I was well enough to get out and stroll around for our Mexico City bonus phase!
La Cuidad de México was our one-day stop before we came back to the States. Although I didn’t get to say goodbye to Oaxaca in the way that I wanted, I was able to go to a market one last time (though that walk home was pure hell on my tired body), and eat my first full meal since becoming sick, which was also my last non-breakfast meal in Oaxaca. I believe my host mom was really happy about this, as she made me a really nice and mild soup.
The flight to Mexico City was uneventful, so I’ll skip over the boring matters of settling into a hotel room and what not.
One of the first places we visited was the Monumento a Los Niños Héroes, or Heroic Cadets or Boy Soldiers Monument. The monument is dedicated to six teenage military cadets who died for Mexico’s honor in the Mexican-American war. If you’re interested in history, it’s worth looking the six boys up.
After spending some time at the monument, we went up to Chapultepec Castle. There’s more history here, but I’ll keep it short and say this castle has passed through many hands. It was first an important site for the Aztec people (a cave here was believed to be one of two entrances to the underworld; the other is at Mitla).
In the 1800’s Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Carlota lived here with their children. Now, as the National History Museum, you can see what parts of the castle looked like during their lifetime, along with other fascinating exhibits.
We also went to the Museo Nacional de Antropología, or National Anthropology Museum. I hung out with my professor and we took a slow stroll through some exhibits. It was also super exciting, because I finally got to see a Mayan calendar. Life-long dream fulfilled.
To conclude our short stay in Mexico City, we spent the evening at El Palacio de Bellas Artes, or the Palace of Fine Arts. We saw a range of dances, from modern to contemporary, from indigenous dances to dances of modern states. I had a lovely evening here and was glad that it was the way that I spent my last in Mexico.
I have to say, overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of the city, especially since I found it hard to get away from the smell of pollution and the loud, busy streets (my hometown is less than 300 people after all!). However, I think that when it comes to Mexico, Oaxaca stole my heart.