Waiting for Montezuma

El Palacio Presidencial, Mexico DF

Okay, the one thing that worried me even more than the drive to Mexico was the fear of getting sick there. You know, Montezuma’s Revenge. When I went to Mexico in 1978, my mother advised me as to what to eat and what to avoid eating in order not to get sick. Since she went to Mexico every year, I truly believed she knew what she was talking about. She told me, and I still remember to this day, to avoid drinking the water and eating fruits, chicken, and eggs. But most important of all: “Don’t drink the water!” I was there for a month and I really enjoyed myself despite depriving myself of some foods in the beginning.

When I took the bus to Celaya with my aunt and cousin, all my relatives were eating chicarrón and I couldn’t resist indulging myself. Besides, chicharrón was NOT on my mother’s list of foods to avoid. So I really, really indulged on chicharrón! Well, the next day, I felt nauseous, me who rarely gets sick. Soon, I was vomiting and had the runs. Simultaneously! My aunt attributed my illness to the chicharrón I had eaten. I felt so deathly ill that the only thing that kept me living was the hope that I would die. But blessings sometimes comes disguised. After I recovered a few days later, I was able to eat anything I wanted. I even drank the water without getting sick again.

So, when I went to Mexico this time, I dreaded the risk of getting sick again. I remembered my mother’s list. But then I thought that if I got sick immediately I could then enjoy the rest of my trip with my newly acquired immunity. I drank agua de horchata, which is rice water that is very tasty. I assume that it’s made primarily of water, unpurified water, that is. It even had ice cubes! Presumably, also made from unpurified water. When I went to my aunt’s house, I ate some fruit (I don’t remember what it was called) from a tree in her back yard and she scolded me for eating the peel since I didn’t wash it. Well, I kept waiting for my impending onset of “discomfort” with Montezuma’s Revenge. I remained healthy the entire trip! I felt like a real Mexican!