Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mexican Vacation: Uxmal, Campeche and that time I got sick in Mexico

Okay, so continuing on in the adventure that was Mexico...

When we arrived back in Merida, while we were out exploring, Jess flew in to Merida to join up with the rest of the tour expedition and travel to Campeche for the wedding! YAYY!! We were all in need of showers, so after cleaning up, we all head out to dinner in Merida with the whole contingent of people on the two day tour. We broke into two tables for dinner and the girls all sat together and it was a great opportunity to catch up and have Jess join our little group. The restaurant seating was outside, the temperature was comfortable, and the setting felt very European to me. Around us was a little plaza or piazza as they call them in Italy and restaurants lined around it with outdoor seating. There was music playing, the sounds of conversation and laughter, glasses and silverware clinking, children playing in the plaza, soft lighting, and an all around gorgeous night.

We stayed out late having drinks, an incredibly delicious dinner, and great conversation. The meal was one of the best of the trips as we all got different items and shared some of them. I ordered a shrimp dish and Jess got a steak one and we split for a little surf and turf. The appetizers included the most amazing fresh greens salad that I could have happily eaten as my meal alone as well. Then, between all the girls, I am pretty sure we tried all of the specialty cocktails on their menu, and even tasted some of the local delicacy that Dani ordered for our table – grasshoppers (ew.) I tried them, but did not go back for seconds!

As if all of this wasn’t enough… I even had dessert. But, hey, I’m on vacation!

Thursday started with an early day. We left Merida on our group bus at 8:00 a.m. to head out for one stop before traveling to Campeche. We went to see more of the Mayan ruins at Uxmal, which turned out to be really incredible. The place was far less touristy than Chichen Itza, so we had lots of room to walk around and explore on our own. And take pictures without tons of people walking around. There were neat areas to explore and the archictecture was incredible. The buildings all dated back to 600 A.D. and one of my favorite stories I learned about was of the old sport that they used to play where they would take rocks and people could use anything but their hands to try and get the rock through a circle that was held 15 feet or so in the air. I have no idea how they accomplished this with their feet, shoulders, and heads considering they were using rocks – but I guess when the penalty of losing the game was being sacrificed (aka killed) than you have a bit of drive in you to figure it out.

It was neat being able to climb some of the ruins as well and get a great view of all the area before us.

Thursday was incredibly hot at around 100-105 degrees Fahreinheit and eventually we all retreated to the van to then take us towards Campeche, where we’d be staying for the weekend and to kick off wedding festivities!

Campeche is a walled city, as it is right on the water and faced a lot of attacks from pirates throughout the colonial period. The city was ravished a number of times and they ended up building a wall around the city center to help ward off pirates. It made for a neat backdrop and within the city center, it was absolutely beautiful with bright colored buildings lining the streets like a rainbow.

We checked into our hotel, then walked around a bit to explore the city while we were still sweaty messes, figure out where some of the activities throughout the week would be taking place and just seeing what Campeche had to offer.

Jess, one of our new friends and I, got lunch at a small shop off one of the pedestrian streets near our hotel, which was absolutely delicious. We finished it off with ice cream, before returning to our hotel to enjoy some air conditioning and clean up before heading out for the first official event of the weekend’s wedding celebrations – the Thursday evening welcome cocktails!

I eluded earlier in my posts that I had a problem with getting sick on this trip. To be honest, I’m still dealing with it a bit and it is definitely been a damper, but I’m getting through. With the amount of travel that I do, getting a bit of “traveler’s belly” is something that was bound to happen at some point I assume.

As we were getting ready for the cocktail reception, my stomach started to both me. I used the restroom, which had me feeling a little bit better but I said to Jess, “I sure hope that is just a one-time thing!” as I know that stomach issues when traveling to Mexico can be a very common thing. I had not been drinking tap water, but had also not been diligent about avoiding it when brushing teeth, with ice, etc. The last time I went to Mexico, I only brushed my teeth with bottled water and was very careful about water consumption, but nobody else seemed to be super concerned on this trip, and I didn’t want to be the only weirdo avoiding frozen margaritas, making a fuss about where my water was coming from at restaurants, and utilizing bottled water to brush my teeth when I was sharing hotel rooms with people who were not.

We went over to the cocktail hour exactly as it was set to begin at 6:00 p.m. We certainly didn’t operate on Mexico time, as we were the first ones there, and people slowly started to trickle in as we were halfway through our first tamarind flavored frozen margarita. It worked out well though because we were able to enjoy the sun as it was setting, take pictures, and greet the beautiful bride to be as she arrived.

Dani’s dress for this evening was fabulous. I had seen it when we were in Miami, as she had bought it the weekend of the half marathon and I knew it was going to look incredible on her. But she truly looked amazing and it had me in tears to have the wedding events actually be starting!

After the first drink, I started to have a bit of a headache. I assumed it could have been from the heat of the day and being dehydrated so I switched to water. There were passed hors’ devours which I ate a couple of but they just were not feeling right. I was tired and feeling achey all over, had a headache, and my stomach was grumbling. People were standing and talking and chatting and meeting new people and I had no energy to do that, which is very unlike me. I just needed to sit and was feeling really antisocial, so at about 7:30, I told Jess that I was going to head back. The cocktail reception was just down the road from our hotel, it was supposed to run until 9:00 p.m. and I knew people would be going out afterwards. My plan was to go and lay down in AC for an hour and then hopefully meet everyone back out.

As soon as I got back to the hotel, I collapsed into bed. I immediately felt cool in the air conditioned room and then soon began to feel absolutely freezing. I pulled out the only long sleeve top I had, turned off the fans and AC, and crawled completely under the covers curled in a ball to try and warm up. My whole body felt achey and I started to get really intense cramps and essentially... really needed a bathroom closeby. I eventually realized that I was not going anywhere that night.

My stomach was in a lot of pain and my entire body physically hurt to move, and I was freezing cold all over again. I took some of the probiotics that Jess had with her and tried to drink water to stay hydrated, but with every sip I took it hurt to move and then the water coming into my system would immediately make my stomach freak out. It was a long night and I was extremely uncomfortable and there may have been some tears. I threw up in the middle of the night which actually made me feel better for a short amount of time and I was able to get a bit of sleep.

The next wedding weekend activity was a 5k run that Dani had organized. As you hopefully know, Dani is one of my running friends from Schenectady and has been a constant inspiration to me as she continues to challenge and find new adventures for herself. I LOVED that her wedding weekend included a run (or a walk for those who don’t run) and had known that she had created some special race swag for guests who chose to participate in that. The run was at 8:30 a.m. in Campeche and my plan for the week was to do a long run on Friday morning and actually go out early and get about 6 miles in before the 5k.

Well, given the state I was in, there was no way that was happening. I was so sad when Jess left to go for the run, knowing there was no way I could participate. I kept thinking “Well maybe if…” but, I was so dehydrated, had literally nothing in my system, hadn’t really slept, and couldn’t be away from a bathroom for more than 30 minutes. I ended up not getting out of bed until about 4:00 in the afternoon.

Other friends and wedding guests were starting to arrive in Campeche, and I was so sad to be missing out on hanging out with everyone and enjoying the first official day of the wedding weekend. It felt so cliché to be getting sick in Mexico and also was extremely awkward for me to have everyone knowing that I was having bathroom issues! When you are in Mexico and you say you’re sick, everyone knows what that means. I have never been the kind of person who enjoys bathroom humor. I have never found bathroom talk to be appropriate conversation and prefer to pretend that doesn’t exist. For years I would insist to people that I didn’t go to the bathroom because it’s just not a topic of conversation for me to have with anyone ever. I do not like talking about bodily functions.

I’ve gotten a bit better about it over the years, but still makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. I honestly don’t even know why I am writing about it right now, as I think about it!

So let’s move on!

A few new friends who had arrived came and visited my room throughout the day, which was nice. And I definitely could feel myself having energy return and being less achey and cold and my headache went away. I could tell I was massively dehydrated so in the late afternoon, I got up and showered and found a pharmacy to buy some electrolyte drinks and some crackers to also try and get some food in my system. Those seemed to help and I ended up walking over to the pool where a large number of wedding guests and friends and Jess were all hanging out. I wasn’t super talkative, but able to enjoy the afternoon a bit and munch on some plain tortillas and bites of cheese. I really wanted the massive margaritas that everyone else was drinking by the pool though!

Friday evening wasn’t a very long night, I went back to the room, rested some more, and then we all met up in the center of Campeche to see the 8:00 p.m. light show. The city broadcasts this incredibly visual light, music and video show on the walls of one of the buildings in the main city plaza every night at 8:00 p.m. and it was super cool to see and incredibly visually appealing.

We followed it up with dinner, but by the time it was over, I was so hot and so uncomfortable, I just wanted to go home. We ate outside and I was sticking to the chair, sweating all over and just not feeling good sitting upright. I ordered myself some lime soup, which is a Yucatan speciality and I had been eating it all week, and some guacamole, which I thought would be easy on the stomach. I knew I needed food in me but I had no appetite and ended up only having about half the soup and some of the guac. I never leave food untouched so that goes to show you how I was feeling!

On the way back, Jess and I stopped at this chocolate shop that we had been recommended to by just about everyone. It was air conditioned, so I was okay with that. We ordered a couple drinks, got a frozen chocolate frappe thing to help cool me down and although it was delicious, I didn’t finish that either. So sad.

I went home and immediately went to bed, needing to get some good hours of sleep in. Jess and I decided to sleep in without any sort of alarm in the morning, which was a great choice. I only had to get up a couple times in the middle of the night to use the bathroom as well, which I considered to be a win!

In the morning, I was definitely feeling a lot better and because I’m a crazy person, debated in my head if I should go out and run. I ultimately decided it was not a good idea as it was still very hot out, I hadn’t really eaten the day before, and I was certainly not as hydrated as I should be, although I was able to take in water much easier at this point. I last minute texted some training friends to get advice on if I would be okay going the full week without getting many runs in (I knew I wouldn’t be running on Sunday after the wedding!) She reassured me I would be okay and especially if I was sick to listen to my body. So, I chose not to run on Saturday and instead walked to the pharmacy to get more electrolytes and water.

The day was pretty low key and didn’t have a ton going on until the wedding. I decided to make an appointment to get my hair done for the wedding, which Dani had provided us with the names of some salons. My main reasoning for wanting to get my hair professionally done was to just get it off of my neck. I knew it would be hot and I didn’t want to have a neck of sweaty hair. I never have my hair worn totally up and off my face and am generally a bit uncomfortable with how I look like that, but just told the hair dresser to go for it and pull it back. Function took the place of vanity in this decision.

The salon was a lot of fun though as a number of Dani’s friends from high school were there getting ready as well. They brought some Corona’s and I actually joined them in a beer, I was feeling that much better!

I finished up at the salon, returned to the hotel, grabbed a late lunch and some drinks to enjoy getting ready, and turned our hotel room into a wedding prep party. I was SO thankful to be feeling better in time for the main event of the entire trip to Mexico!

Up next - the wedding!

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