Sunday, August 14, 2011

Altitude and Attitude in Mexico City

I love traveling to foreign countries and better yet I love coming back to my home country of the United States after a great trip. The only problem is that sometimes I find American government officials annoying.

Returning from Mexico City, I was stuck in a long line at the Charlotte Airport awaiting to be interrogated by the next suspicious U.S. Customs agent. When it was my time to be questioned I was asked where I was returning from.

“Mexico City!” I calmly told the agent.

I knew that set off red flags in her head and she immediately went into Sherlock Homes mode.

“What were you doing in Mexico City?”

“Where you traveling by yourself?”

“Did you meet somebody there?”

“Why Mexico City?”

“Do you have friends or family that live there?”

“What do you find appealing in Mexico City?”

Of course I knew what she was insinuating. I was born and raised in the international border city of San Diego and I am accustomed to being subjected to questions regarding travel in Mexico whenever I would return from there. Since I was coming back from Mexico City, in her mind she must have been thinking I served on the board of directors of some Mexican drug cartel.

But it was her last question that really set me off.

“Why Mexico City when you could be enjoying the beaches of Mazatlan, Acapulco, Cancun, Cozumel?”

I looked her squarely in the eye and replied, “Why would I want to spend my hard earned money traveling to a Mexican beach resort that’s overpriced and congested with those Americans (as I pointed back to the line of tanned Americans wearing nothing but slippers, shorts and T-shirts proclaiming “I ‘heart’ Cancun”)? I travel overseas to meet locals not other Americans.”

Somehow she let me back into the country.

God bless the U.S.A.!

Happy 4th of July my fellow Americans!

And the photograph...

I’m standing at the midpoint on my way up the Pyramid of the Sun (the third largest pyramid in the world) in the ancient city of Teotihuacan (an hour outside of Mexico City).

Somehow of all the photographs I took at Teotihuacan this one had the most appeal to me. The incongruity of a local woman holding her child and the tourists holding their camera and gasping for air (the altitude of the Mexico City metropolis, which is perched atop a highland valley, sits at 2,240 meters (7,392 feet) above sea level).

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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