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My first & twisted encounter with Mexico

Yesterday I told about one of my first encounters with Mexico, – the Mezcal, and that was pretty twisted. Something even more twisted however, happened before that encounter, already on the way from the airport to the two friends that house me in Mexico DF.

Picture a humid, dark night. There are no stars on the sky, it is slightly foggy and there is no fresh breeze in the wind what so ever.

Picture a blond, 1,83 meter tall girl arrive, hungry and tired after a long journey and with a way too heavy backpack on her shoulders. She has no phone that works, but an address of a friend of a friend living in the city. She takes the strict message of the friend of a friend to order an authorized taxi seriously, pays for it and realises she really needs to pee. But the taxi personnel is already calling for her and before she knows it has thrown her bag in the trunk of a white, old car that looks just like any other white, old car.

She gets in to the taxi and off they go into the dark night.

That was how I arrived yesterday.

Shortly after I find myself in the taxi of a young man, that at first glimpse didn’t seem as friendly as I imagined Mexicans would be at all. I try to initiate a conversation with stupid comments about the weather, the hectic traffic and the big city I know I’ve just arrived to. The driver answers with an extremely little interested tone and I start thinking about why the hell I didn’t pee on my way out of the airplane instead.

After three minutes the taxi driver that has seen me concentrating on my phone, asks if I’m watching a GPS.

Yes, I say.. Im trying to loc… “In case Ill kidnap you?” he interrupts me and giggles.

Our eyes meet in the mirror.

“Uhm, well yeah”.. I say with a false ironic tone.

Thoughts run trough my head, my need to pee becomes stronger, and calmly I try to finish my initial phrase: “I’m just trying to locate myself in this massive city”…

He laughs out loud, looks at me in the mirror and asks where I’m from. We chit chat a little and soon we’ve become a bit closer.

Fifteen minutes later (me all the time secretly keeping an eye on that GPS) he has answered to all kinds of questions I’ve asked him. He told me things like where to go for a dance in my neighbourhood, what areas not to visit never ever in the city, how I had to be very careful in general being a woman on my own and more interestingly inside info about how the authorized taxi system works. He told me that drivers get as little as 12% of the fixed prices set up by the company and that using their own cars!

We agreed that wasn’t the fairest of deals.

In a typical Jeanett-save-the-world-style I suggested that maybe other taxi drivers hold the same opinion and that they could go together and demand a salary raise.. He thought that would be impossible and admitted fearing to loose his job. “After all to be a taxi driver is a quite popular position, and unemployment is high here” he said, and continued: “But luckily, working with tourists brings extra tip money”.

I told him I agreed, but also that I was very sorry as I hadn’t withdrew any national money yet. The ride was paid for with credit card at the airport. It was nearly midnight and we were approaching my destination, thus the last thing I wanted right now was to find an ATM…

I apologized and smiled. He replied with a slight exhalation and a smile looking more like a grin through the mirror.

“I’ll have to kidnap you then” he said and accelerated rapidly down the street.


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Jeanett Andrea Søderstrøm is the social media manager at the charity Tourism Concern since Jan 2011, and holds a Masters degree in Responsible Tourism Management from Leeds Met University (UK, 2012). Jeanett has a Bachelor degree in Human Geography from the University of Oslo, Norway, including a year's exchange studies in Buenos Aires at La Universidad de Salvador. Her minor is in Anthropology. Previously, Jeanett worked as an assistant in a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts in Norway, an event assistant & community manager for the NGO Bridges for Music in South Africa, and as the booker of a Spanish major DJ coordinating his attendance at various global events. Prior to that she served as a Spanish teacher at a college in Oslo. While studying and working traveling has always been a priority, and Jeanett has pursued the dream of living in several places. She has also worked sporadically as a model throughout the years, particularly on Ibiza.For the final research project of her Master’s degree Jeanett lived 6 months in Cape Town researching tourism practices & impacts in deprived townships.Responsible travel, human rights & yoga have been passions in Jeanett’s life for many years, together with a persistent appeal to value sub cultures within the music scene. Now her dream is to develop a career within the tourism industry by telling creative, socially & politically aware stories about people & places and her own travels, as well as continue researching & consulting organisations, assisting in developing Responsible Tourism management

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