My Mexican Trip was a TRIP...Followed by a Bridge Nearly Too Far!
Lovely spot to fix the old Ivory Castles.Click thumbnail to view full-size
The elderly should take extra care in Mexico
There can be little doubt that, for a multitude of reasons well described by a thousand writers, Mexico is a wonderful country to visit.
But perhaps less well documented is that this huge nation can also be hard work, even dangerous; can present challenges not found elsewhere, at least in the so called First World lands.
Take just walking around for instance. Those tourists used to the level pavements (sidewalks) and smooth roads of, say, the USA and the UK, need to adopt extra precautions and dexterity when perambulating along Mexican highways and byeways. Or they may find themselves - without even the excuse of too many (or any) tequilas - flat on their faces in the dirt or the hard gravel surfaces with painful leisions to their tender carapaces.
My bete noir was found when attempting to cross the road along the lovely Malecon in La Paz, Baja California, in front of the now defunct Carlos and Charlie's. It was a ten-inch-high curb with a half-inch abuttment on top which seized my flip-flops in a loving embrace long enough for me to tilt beyond the verical and dive gracelessly into the road in front of passing traffic.
Now, tilting beyond the vertical will not challenge the young and fit. They even seem to enjoy it as they bounce back upright from any surface. But the old and portly will find it an angle and collision hard to recover from. In my case, six feet of obesity at around 260 pounds had little chance - Buckley's we call it in the UK - and I was very lucky not to get run over as well.
Shaking, torn pants, bloody knees wrists and left arm, I tried to stem the flood with a hanky as a taxi bore me to the nearest clinic. Road rash, also called road burns are awful wounds that cause weeks of agony and refuse to heal. This especially on the knees as they crust over at night and crack anew the next day as you try to walk. Diabetics like me will also find it very slow to heal properly, the result being, from the very first day of my trip to La Paz, I could not walk at all for a week and then only with a limp for another several days. All endured with no TV and no books in a cheap hotel. Now home, five weeks after the accident, my right leg is still painful and scabbed!
Luckily, Mexico has a national chain of Pharmacies called "Farmacias Similares," They make available at reduced prices medicines, etc., containing the same drugs as the brand named products, but at much cheaper prices. They also incorporate a small surgery manned from 9 am until about 9 pm with an skilled doctor-in-training. OK, it's not the Mayo Clinic, or even the NHS, but the doctor charges currently 50 pesos (less than $3!) for a walk-up interview, including emergency repairs, and the medicines he prescribes from next door are reasonable and geniune, as they are government controlled (and owned).
I made a friend of the doctor in my local clinic - luckily one block from the hotel - and he treated me for my scrapes and bruises as well as an ear infection; also supplying advice to why I had such a limp weenie! (Yes, diabetes, age, overweight, ah, me!).
A Bridge Nearly Too Far!
One of the reasons I took this trip to La Paz was to renew my dental bridge over my bottom teeth (no, in my mouth, not my bottom)
Hands up those who have had a full dental bridge removed, one that is still firmly affixed?? I grieve for you.
The original item was fitted in 2003...13 years ago. It took one hour, twenty minutes to remove, one hour of which I was in agony as Carlos - whose sadistic tendencies were not clear before - went through 5 diamond tipped drills while smoke arose and I was peppered with foul tasting dust, trying not to choke or cough. After two rest breaks, the steel and porclain bridge finally gave up, extracting one of my sound teeth with it, all without anesthetic! I swear! The glue dentists use these days must have been trialed in the Moon lander - perhaps to hold the wheels on!
Then the huge disappointment. I could have no implants to replace upper denture, as with diabetes the work could not be guaranteed more than 12 months.
So my anticipated 7 weeks of fun and sun was cut to one month and I came home this last weekend.
I still love Mexico, especially La Paz and will go back, but after a couple of years rest, thank you. And, good advice, don't walk around Mexico in flip-flops if you are over 50, their ability to trip you can be lethal (look on Google).
Note: The highlights of my trip were good food in Mexico; the climate and friendly folk of La Paz, and the great service and aircraft of Aeromexico. The new Boeing "Dreamliners" they run internationally are very roomy and comfortable, even in Tourist Class, and even for large people - not many airlines can say that these days. Even airport security has eased off somewhat, thank goodness.
I do recommend Carlos Luna Capellini of La Paz, Baja California, as a good dentist and a great human being, despite some of what appears to be negativity in this article. After all, it was his original bridge-work that was still sound after 13 years (I changed it because the gums had retreated from below the bridge crowns). He has a web site on Google, etc.