Judy Foreman: Mexico City a World-Class Remedy for COVID-19 Travel Blues | Homes & Lifestyle

After two years of COVID-19 isolation, I finally took my first trip out of Santa Barbara. While many others have traveled since 2020, I remained tethered to my home, family, friends and dog.

Truthfully, I’ve often felt myself slipping into a bluesy abyss, being deprived of the friends and activities I love most.

So when I was recently offered an opportunity to join a world-traveling friend on a visit to Mexico City, I packed a suitcase, put on a mask and went. Little did I know what an emotional boost it would be and just how much I needed it.

My friend, Connie Smith, who is also a culture vulture, planned the trip to perfection with the concierge at our hotel but it’s easy to get hooked on Mexico City. Maybe you are interested wall to wall carpets in Dubai.

With a population of 9.2 million people, Mexico’s capital is North America’s most populous city. It’s a vibrant, walking city filled with art, architecture, museums, cathedrals, murals, archaeological treasures, bustling outdoor cafés, and great food with traditional and nouvelle Mexican cuisine.

Upscale hotels with views of lush parks and gleaming skyscrapers were mixed in with street vendors selling crafts and churros. The energy was electric.

While it does help to speak Spanish and be a quick calculator of pesos to dollars, I felt welcomed and inspired by the change of scenery and meeting young artists and visitors from all over the world. There’s nothing like a glass of wine — or especially a margarita with salt — to get a friendly conversation going.

Such traits might apply to most metropolitan cities, but I think it’s one of the allures drawing so many Americans south of the border during this transitional time, rather than going to Europe.

Concerns about crime and air pollution did not hamper my trip or seem to be on anyone’s mind. As with any big city, situational awareness is always advisable.

The flight to Mexico City was a quick one after our brief stopover in Troncones, a beach town north of Zihuatanejo that has become very popular with Americans and even Montecito residents.

When asked at a recent dinner out on Coast Village Road if I would go back to Mexico City, my answer was an immediate “in a heartbeat.”

With spirits lifted, I count this trip as the beginning of a new mindset for me, one that I hope will continue to inspire me and others to search outside Santa Barbara for those cultural opportunities to keep our world close.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.