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As I write this blog entry, I am wrapped in three blankets, rocking my Michigan medical school sweatshirt, and enjoying some CSI Miami. The torrential rains of tropical storm Arlene are pounding on the roof, but I feel safely tucked away in my new home for 8 weeks – Hotel Plaza del Oro in Real del Monte.

Real del Monte on another rainy, foggy day

Another plaza in Real del Monte.. the sunny weather is rare so I had to take a picture

Some things about Real del Monte I discovered upon arrival:

  1. It is COLD, FOGGY, and RAINY – so of course, I’ve been freezing and wet, wishing I had checked a few weeks earlier. At least I got a bright turquoise raincoat today!
  2. Politicians are currently campaigning for President (aka Mayor) of the town – this means I get to wake up and fall asleep to the poplicious tune of Elvis Crespo’s “Suavemente” adapted as a political song. I wish I could vote just so I could NOT vote for him.
  3. Don’t be afraid to get a little crazy when negotiating prices. On everything from jewelry (Souvenirs for friends? Check!) to coffee, all you need to do is ask!
  4. This town has the most friendly, caring, lovely people I have EVER met. This includes the loving family that runs our small hotel, and their adorable grandmother who loves to force-feed us daily (my skinny jeans may never recover).
  5. Mexican food is so much more diverse, complex, and dynamic than the bland Tex Mex food you find in the States. My real Mexico adventure has come through an exploration of food. Here are some of my delicious discoveries:

Fresh fruit at el Mercado

Tasty obleas with manjar



Grasshopper aka Chapulin!


I’ve been in Real del Monte for more than a week and I’ve already eaten a grasshopper (un chapulin) with chile, tons of dulce de leche or manjar, and sadly I recently suffered from food poisoning. Yes, I have loved feasting on all the unique Mexican foods, but for the last 16 hours I’ve limited myself to two slices of wheat bread, soup, and Gatorade. All day I’ve been careful to not damage the delicate balance that is my GI system and save myself another night of sleeping next to the toilet.

This recent bout of food poisoning reminds me of how little practical medicine I know. After 1 year of medical school, I can barely tell what is going on with my own body. How could I one day hope to understand someone else’s system? Still, like any typical medical student, I tried to identify all my symptoms, debated possible causes and sources, considered infectious precautions for my roommate, and refused to take medicine (because with my one year of basic science knowledge, I know best, right?).

Hopefully by tomorrow, my rude reminder of the ID sequence will disappear and I’ll resume discovering and tasting my way across Mexico! Until next time!