A few months ago, English journalist Rachel Rickard Straus wrote an article entitled “How I swapped a medical trial for a free holiday in Mexico” and published on the telegraph.co.uk website.
This is an interesting variation on the increasingly important field of medical tourism, much studied by geographers over the past decade or so. Several forms of medical tourism have been important in Mexico for a long time, mainly because of the significant price differential either side of the USA-Mexico border for almost all medical and dental procedures. Guadalajara was one of several cities where Americans could afford cosmetic surgery at the hands of (often) American-trained experts at a fraction of the cost back home, and were able to recuperate in relative luxury away from the preying eyes of family and colleagues.
Ms Straus appears to have thoroughly enjoyed her free holiday and apparently suffered no ill effects from the medical trial. Or did she?
Her article describes how she “lapped up the Mexican sunshine, admired the incredible Mayan pyramids and even took a road trip to San Miguel de Allende, a world heritage site.” This is fairly remarkable, since she managed all this without even leaving central Mexico! Presumably she actually meant either Aztec pyramids (if she visited El Templo Mayor in downtown Mexico City) or, much more likely the Teotihuacan pyramids, where Ms Straus had her picture taken. Archaeologists do not know all that much about the people who built the Teotihuacan pyramids, who are usually called simply Teotihuacanos. As any Mexican 5th grader knows, the Maya built their pyramids far to the east, in and around the Yucatán Peninsula, where sites such as Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Palenque, Calakmul and Tulum, among dozens of others, are proof of the Maya’s very considerable architectural skills.