Guadalajara Mexico

High over desolate Greenland

High over desolate Greenland (more photos in the Gallery below)


Guadalajara Mexico cropped up as an opportunity for a very short business trip two weeks ago.

First flight on the new Boeing Dreamliner 787, to a truly beautiful city and a really nasty bug when I got back!

All added up to a short but interesting trip. And some suggestions on how to possibly avoid horrible travel bugs, but more on that later.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is fantastic! So comfortable and quiet. It’s an all-composite plane (all-plastic! but a very special plastic). Very slick!

The cabin windows are quite something – no pull-down shutter to shut out the light – you can darken the glass with a dial to reduce the light coming through – very cool!

Had just a few hours to have a look around the historic centre of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city. I was with a Mexican colleague, Gustavo, which obviously helped a lot!

Truly beautiful city, magnificent culture and buildings. Imagine what it must have been like when the Spanish were colonising here in the mid-1500’s!

The other thing of interest I found out (from Gustavo) is that some Mexican ruler from way-back sold Texas to the Americans – something which cost that ruler dearly eventually I believe!

Gustavo also took me to a few authentic Mexican restaurants over the couple of days I was there. Really enjoyed the Mexican food but didn’t tackle anything too spicy! Prices were amazing, in one restaurant we had a fantastic meal and it cost less than €25 for both of us, including tip – that’s in the second-largest metropolitan area in Mexico. Methinks we Irish have lost our senses as regards prices here in Ireland! We’re just not at the races!

It was a beautiful clear morning at Guadalajara airport on the Friday morning I flew out. Just fabulous! The mountains in the background looked really interesting and seemed to be calling, ‘come hike and explore!’. An extra day or two to do that would have been wonderful and hopefully next time!

Now, the bug, and some suggestions for air travelers!

Got back on the Saturday evening and started to go downhill from there. Slight cough and ticklish throat. Thought it was just a bit of a cold so soldiered on.

By the following Friday evening I was in a bad way – big problem in my lungs, fever and continuous thumping headache.

Of course no doctors available on Saturday morning but I had to do something so I called the emergency Midoc number. Anyway, went round there and they checked me out. Bottom line: a full week on strong antibiotics to hammer the infection, steroids to repair the lungs, big bottle of mucolytic medicine and strong painkillers to sort it all out. Jeeezzz! And it cost me a great hike with the Group this weekend too – just wouldn’t have been up to it.

Definitely a travel bug! So is there anything we can do to help avoid this kind of problem?

Did a little online research (well, quite a bit).

It’s not likely to be the aircraft air circulation system as is widely presumed. Apparently all the tests show that the air circulation systems on modern aircraft are very clean.

From the available research it seems to come down more to ‘touch’. In other words, touching surfaces and things that so many others have been touching and leaving their bugs on!

The worst places are firstly and obviously the toilets. Also high on the list are the headrests on aisle seats because everyone holds onto them as they are walking up and down the aisles. There are also the fold-down trays, in-flight monitors, the magazine pockets, etc.

So, the suggestions to help avoid travel bugs might look something like this:

Carry a small bottle of anti-bacterial gel and use it a lot on your hands, especially after touching the likes of seat headrests, armrests, fold-down trays, in-flight monitor controls, etc.

Carry anti-bacterial wipes and use them to wipe down armrests, headrests, fold-down trays and anywhere else in your surrounds likely to have been touched by others, such as airvents, light switches, audio controls, the window, window shutter, etc.

Consider carrying a few pairs of latex gloves and don them when going to the toilets, disposing of them and applying anti-bacterial gel to your hands before returning to your seat.

Avoid aisle seats – apparently they reek with bugs from others touching them.

What have you found that may help avoid travel bugs?

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