The first time I felt cold, or at least to the extent where I felt goosebumps, was the night that I had my first Mexican street party. I remember it so vividly because it was such a strange sensation; a foreign concept. I thought I’d left that feeling behind in England, but the cold reared its ugly head in the form of raised bumps on my skin. It was night time, and I was armed with just a t-shirt. I wrote it off as just a freak occurrence and I shoved it to the back of my mind. School-boy error, I should’ve taken heed.
That Monday at school, I saw most of the students wrapped up in body warmers, scarfs and gloves. “Muuuuuy frio, teacher, it’s very cold,” they complained. I chuckled and said that they needed to come to England, because a consistent temperature of 20-oddC with sunshine is pretty much regarded as the height of summer in the UK. If the temperature averages 28C or more over a period of time, then hold the front page – there’s a heat wave in the UK and it is endlessly compared to other countries that it’s hotter than. People are happier and friendlier, there’s a party vibe in the atmosphere, the BBQs are out, the parks are packed with sun revellers, and everything is well in the world, generally speaking. But I digress.
Nevertheless, even though I rationally knew this, and no matter how stubborn I was about accepting this fact, I too eventually succumbed to this change of temperature and I also began to feel cold – damn it! I had to start wearing shoes and trainers instead of sandals. My feet felt restricted; they were definitely not accustomed to the concept of closed shoes. I needed to layer up and wear jumpers, but I only brought two jumpers with me. I had to buy a duvet for my bed (that was devastating!). I got my friend, who visited me for a couple of weeks, to bring some jeans from home for me. I had acclimatised so much, that the lowest temperature, I believe 15C, was now too cold for me. The mornings and evenings were particularly cold, the daytime was fine.
In the end, I ended up with a chest infection and a throat infection. I think the throat infection was a result of the use of the air conditioners though when it started to get hot again. Even so, I paid $500 pesos (approximately £20) for the privilege of seeing a doctor each time, even though I wasn’t in there for more than 15 mins. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a lot considering the wage I’m on; for most Mexicans that is simply unaffordable. Also the fact that it’s free to see the doctor in the UK made the amount that I had to pay hurt even more – oh how I missed the NHS during those desperate times; I’ve grown a new appreciation for it. Not to mention the money that I needed to buy the medicine, some of it was not cheap. I later found out that there were cheaper doctors that I could’ve gone to, but in terms of the quality of service they provide, I’ve been told that some of them are hit or miss. Generic drugs, which are cheaper to buy, are also available from a chain of pharmacies called Farmacias Similares.
Let’s hope I learnt my lesson and that I’m more prepared the second-time round…