Out of this country experience


Elana Bishop

A collage of all of the gorgeous locations we visited in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Elana Bishop, Staff Writer

Over the summer, about mid-July, I traveled outside the country for the first time to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Before then, I had never really been placed in unfamiliar situations, especially since I had been raised in smaller midwestern cities. Traveling to Mexico taught me multiple lessons and opened my eyes past the screen of what’s posted on the news.

Straight off the bat, I ended up getting sick with the Flu on the first day we arrived. That which I didn’t know was a Flu until I got back to the U.S. I spent my first couple of nights over the toilet, waking up and shaking with cold sweats, constant migraines, nauseous 24/7, all of what you didn’t want when on vacation. So, while the rest of my family and friends were spending their time down by the pools or off doing activities, I spent my time out on the patio overlooking the city or wandering around the resort with my camera. Most of my vacation was spent by visual aid rather than a physical experience. So, through visual takeaway here’s what I learned:

Mexico has no stoplights. I have never felt more anxious yet exhilarated than when I stepped into any type of Mexican transportation. Everybody waits for no one. You rarely get “let into” traffic; it’s more of a push-and-shove type of game. Though this was frightening,  we got to our destination much faster than we would in the U.S.

Vendors are determined to sell. On the days when we visited the markets, I was under constant pressure from every vendor I passed to buy something of theirs. By the end of the line of vendors, I walked back to the kindest one who offered me some fire opal earrings and bought them from him. I realized that these people were not trying to make you feel uncomfortable, and the insistent manner I perceived was the only way they could make money to provide for themselves and their families. As a tourist destination, they knew that souvenirs from a foreign country caught the attention of Americans.

There was a language barrier. I haven’t taken a Spanish class since freshman year. So my Spanish was very rusty. But one of the nights we met a waiter named Jesus, who found it very amusing to try to teach us Spanish and encourage us to show him what we knew. He ended up calling his friends to come listen to my sister and me bicker back and forth between correct pronunciation and grammar. They laughed and enjoyed our efforts to order our meals in complete Spanish sentences.

Poverty is real. Growing up in a blessed family who never had to second guess a meal, education, place to sleep, etc., I witnessed first-hand what real poverty looks like. Miles of neighborhoods of cardboard and mud-built homes lined the side of the highway. Families walked barefoot on the rough gravel in the 96° heat. I didn’t receive any interaction between these communities but it forced the realization of all that I should be grateful for.

Everything is much brighter in Mexico. On the days when I couldn’t participate in all the activities, I spent my days taking photos of anything and everything that caught my eye. From the mosaic tiles lining the floor and walls to the murals across the brick ceiling of the resort’s hall, everything popped and pleased my photographic eye. The sun seemed to shine a little brighter on the surface of Mexico, not just because I could feel the rays but by the expressive vibrance of my surroundings.

600 feet drastically changes perspective. On one of the days when I was feeling more myself (with the help of a motion sickness patch), I had the opportunity to parasail in the pacific ocean. Once harnessed and hoisted 600 feet into the air, I felt so much comfort and peace. I had a perfect view of all of Cabo San Lucas and could not hear a sound. Although I knew I couldn’t bring my camera up, I thought that I could’ve held my composure and balance enough to take a perfect picture. 

Although I was very eager to get home so that I could complain about my stomach and body aches in the comfort of my bed, I was very thankful for the experience. Would I do it again? Mmm… maybe if the children crying on the flights were cut to a minimum and customs in the airport was less than an hour, then possibly. But it was a memorable experience, even if I didn’t get to enjoy it with all of my energy and health.