One thing I learned in Mexico City is that cab drivers are a really cool source of information. So, if you need to check a pulse on the life in this grand metropolis, hop into a cab. And here is why, my dear reader. Tell me which of the 3 choices below seems like the most plausible cause of the Swine Flu in Mexico City?
a. Mother Nature
b. President’s Obama visit
I agree with you that choice “a” appears the best explanation so far (given that we do not know much more), but not to the taxi drivers! Both “b” and “c” were conveyed to me in confidence by my cabbies on two different occasions. The one with the President Obama conspiracy theory, seeing that I was not smirking, retorted, “Ok, then, it must be the Electoral Commission since the elections are coming”.
And now back to the flu. It was an interesting experience. It still is…but we want to believe the worst is over. The news got to me in full force last Friday, April 24. While we heard about flu deaths in Mexico City earlier in the week, none of us thought much of it – there are flu deaths around the world every year and it appears to be a seasonal event. However, on Friday, everybody started running around. I am not sure what the trigger was, but this when we started seeing people wearing face masks and looking scared. The panic reached its peak on Sunday, April 26. All you could read and hear about was the flu. People’s lives were revolving around it, everybody tried to see if they knew someone who knew someone who had the flu. Then the series of closures started – first the obviously public places, then everything else where there could be more than 2-3 people at once, like coffee shops and such. My local Starbucks was open until the last minute and was my beacon of hope suggesting things were not that bad…and then one day even they posted a sign saying “closed until further notice”. It was a low point for me – this is when I went to Costco to stock on food for 2 months. (Some establishments tried to make their closure signs funny – see pic – it did not work, you know)
But everything looks better now. The scientists have not given any signs that the epidemics has let up, but the politicians here in Mexico City are ready to roll. And I am glad they are as it is quite impossible to live in all this suspense for so long – 10 days has drained us all and we look forward to getting back to normal. And I can’t wait to go back to work tomorrow.