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Hospital Medicine, Ciudad Valles, Mexico

An unexpected breakfast.

Ten hours from Mexico City, having tested all class of bus – from WiFi on board to chicken bones in the footwell – we reached Xilitla, a beautiful hillside town deep in the jungle of the Sierra Madre mountains.

After an evening of drinking beers on another rooftop (watching the clouds pass through the canopy above), the best tacos yet and being serenaded across the vast and haunting valley by Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’, we were ready for the next day’s adventure. We set off early the next morning for ‘Las Pozas’, a monument to surrealism set deep in the jungle.

We scaled stairways to nowhere, watched pillars sway in the breeze, looked down to the pathways far below from narrow bridges, no bannister in sight. Edward James, creator and friend of Dali, Picasso et al., had seemingly opened his brain into the jungle, with stunning – and dangerous – results.

So it was somewhat ironic that it was a wet paving stone, metres from the exit, that was to create my own surrealist adventure. My weight went from under me, directly on to my right wrist. I felt the blood drain from my head, rushing to the pain – and a glance at the new ‘s’ shape between my arm and wrist told me something was very, very wrong.

The Egg Poacher went for help, bringing in his wake a confused looking first aider and a queue of intrigued holiday makers. A nurse was found amongst them, who made fast work of setting my wrist with paracetamol packets for a splint, feeding me a host of drugs I could only feebly nod to.

Then followed a flurry of transport – battered 4×4 to the local hospital, a taxi to the doctor in town who owned an x-ray, a long and bumpy bus to the hospital a few towns over. We were met by the most wonderful doctor – Santa Claus with a stethoscope – who had employed his teenage daughter to translate. A general anaesthetic for me, to reset the bone, and yes, the Egg Poacher could stay overnight, too.

And so to breakfast, once awake – a pile of fruit and yoghurt, toast and the requisite Jello, all happily wolfed down as the relief set in. The staff, all lovely, were kind about my bad Spanish and brought EP blankets, and a pillow. So, despite it all, the breakfast fared pretty well. And we left feeling very, very lucky.

Price: don’t ask. Travel insurance required.



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