After three days in Mexico City, I headed out to the countryside.
Nothing says 'gringo on the bus!' like being the only one taking pictures out the window.
The internet suggested Valle de Bravo as a nice little retreat from the onslaught of the capital.
And it was! The lake is artificial, but the city is real.
It's apparently a big weekend destination for Mexico Citians, and I felt like the only American there.
In situations like this, foreign tourists tend to actively avoid each other.
Tourism, unlike most mass activities, becomes less valuable the more people do it.
You feel like an anthropologist wandering around places like this.
Until you hear else someone speaking English, then you feel like a spectator.
When I saw the water, I thought 'Yeah, there's no fucking way I'm swimming in a man-made lake in Mexico'.
Then felt racist for thinking that.
When I got back to Mexico City and told people I had been in Valle de Bravo, the first thing they said was, 'Shit you didn't swim did you?!'
Then I felt vindicated. Racist assumptions are fine as long as they turn out to be correct, right?
The only thing I asked the internet about Valle de Bravo before I arrived was whether it has tarantulas.
I have never seen a tarantula in real life
and genuinely believe I would lose a tonsil screaming if I ever did.
The city does apparently have tarantulas, but they're hibernating in December.
Somehow that's even more terrifying. If they're sleeping, they would be vengeful if I were to inadvertently wake them.
I find it less scary to hang from the clouds on a 20-foot-wide piece of canvas than to encounter a playing-card-sized nonpoisonous animal. I realize the un-logic of this.
Still, I tried to keep noise to a minimum, and refused to look at the ceiling in my hotel room in case I got Arachnophobia'd.
Looking down is always easier than looking up.