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5 Days in Mexico City December 6, 2008

Filed under: Travel/adventure,Uncategorized — tracyverdugo @ 11:28 pm
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13th October, 2008

There are no traffic rules in Mexico City, at least none that I can make out. From the airport we weave our way through the city streets. Our driver darts in and out of lanes with expert abandon. I focus on the sights and try to ignore every close call. Color is everywhere. Mechanics shops are painted in pinks and yellows; young women in tight black pants direct traffic, their arms gesturing wildly, whistles blowing incessantly. At traffic lights hawkers dodge the cars, selling trinkets. We drive by a city park where hundreds of protesters dance naked on a platform stage, banners proclaiming their cause. We ask the taxi driver what they are doing and he tells us they have been dancing every day for 3 months to protest the unfair sale of their land in Veracruz. I contemplated the headline in our local paper back home should the community decide to adopt naked dancing to promote sensible development.

Casa Gonzales-our hotel in <mex city

Casa Gonzales-our hotel in

We arrive at Casa Gonzales in the Zona Rosa and settle in before heading out to check out our neighbourhood.. Most of the restaurants in our budget are closed by the time we head out at 7pm so we cruise into Papa Bills Saloon, a wild west style restaurant/sports bar and feast for around $10.00 each. Marco has an amazing dish of pan fried chicken pounded thinly and stuffed with huitlacoche (an aztec delicacy of black fungus which grows on corn), nopales(cactus) and squash flowers and avocado. Delicious!

Fresh juice for breakfast

Fresh juice for breakfast

Next day we walk the ten blocks or so to Chapultepec Park stopping for breakfast at a busy taco stand. Breakfast is muy sabroso, tacos de pollo and papas ( chicken and potatos) with an array of fresh salsas, lime and chiles to spice it up. We stuff ourselves for around $6.00 total including fresh orange and guayaba juice and then spend the the next few hours exploring the National Museum of Anthropology. Outside the musuem we are treated to a traditional Dance of the Eagleflyers, the girls buy some beaded jewellery from a Huichol woman and we head back to the hotel along Reforma.

Huichol woman at Chapultapec

Huichol woman at Chapultapec

Day 3 we are off to Frida Kahlos house, a highlight for me. We breakfast at several stands along the way to Insurgentes.. Vendors sell plastic tumblers of chopped, fresh papaya and melon topped with chile and lime and we all munch happily as we head to the metro station.
The metro is an experience not to be missed. Five million commuters a day ride this highly organised series of underground lines. For 20 cents a ticket you can ride all day in one direction. Vendors, performers and beggars jump on and off at each stop moving from carriage to carriage to try their luck. First up a crippled guitarist sits on the floor amongst the crowd singing plaintively. When the train pulls up the next stop he shuffles along the ground dragging his useless legs behind.

Me at Frida´s house

Me at Frida´s house

Frida Kahlos garden

Frida Kahlos garden

After being transported back to the fifties at Frida Kahlos we jump in a taxi to Xochimilco, the site of ancient Aztec gardens and spend the afternoon lazily floating along the canals. Highly decorated boats filled with celebrating Mexican familes and mariachis pass by.
We stop for lunch at a designated restaurant, the prices seem reasonable but when we go to order drinks the boat driver suggests we buy from the two women who have pulled up beside us in their canoe. We forget the #1 rule of  agreeing on a price before we buy and order 2 chilena beers and a couple of sodas for the girls. The Chilena beer is a traditional concoction where a tall bottle of beer is poured into a large cup precoated with chile and lime; an interesting blend but not one I’ll try again.

Chilena beer...flat, warm with chile & lime

Chilena beer...flat, warm with chile & lime

on the boat at Xochimilco

on the boat at Xochimilco

We finished our lunch and drinks and asked how much…the drinks alone were 210 pesos ( around $30.00 Aussie dollars!) This was no ordinary gringo rip off..it was waterway robbery! Marco spent the next 15 minutes arguing and the boat driver faked outrage and attempted to act as a mediator but in reality they were probably all in cahoots. We finally bargained down a price which was still unrealistic but at least better than the starting point.

Cathedral-Mexico city

Cathedral-Mexico city

Day 4- We jumped on the metro again and headed to the downtown historic district, touring the main cathedral and meeting up with our My Space friend Rocco who was just as lovely, gentle and kind in real life as on the Internet.
We visited la Ciudadela ( the largest art and craft market) and had lunch together at a great little hole in the wall café. The serves were so large we had to take half of our food with us. Later we fed our leftovers to a clan of cats living on ledges at the Insurgentes Metro station. They werent like any ferals we had ever seen, a couple of Birmans and Siamese, they all looked healthy and strong and we sat and watched them for some time.
A young man in black jeans eyed us menacingly and simultaneously we all had the feeling we were being marked. About a dozen exits branch of from this circular plaza and we tried several of them before finding the one which led back to our hotel.     We walked home quickly. It was several blocks before we lost the uneasy feeling.

Teotihuacan-on top of the Temple of the Sun

Teotihuacan-on top of the Temple of the Sun

Basilica de Guadalupe

Basilica de Guadalupe

Our last day and we had arranged a tour to Teotihuacan and the Basilica de Guadalupe. The bus picked us up at 9am and we joined the International crowd of visitors from Chile, Brazil and Hungary. The clouds threatened rain but the skies held out as we climbed the Pyramid of the Sun and dodged the vendors selling obsidian aztec statues, wooden drums and jewellery.

Ana Lorena, Pepe & I

Ana Lorena, Pepe & I

We arrived back at the hotel for a quick rest and shower before a scheduled jam session in the downstairs lobby with our friends Rocco, Kike, Priscila, Ana Lorena and Pepe. We spent a fantastic few hours playing music with and to each other not stopping until an exhausted traveller upstairs poked her head out of her room and politely asked us if we could please finish up as she was trying to get to sleep.

Marco, Rocco and I jamming together

Marco, Rocco and I jamming together

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15 Responses to “5 Days in Mexico City”

  1. Chris Moran Says:

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. Lisa Cross Says:

    Hello my Aztec friends – Nathan just did an assessment on the Aztecs and the Temple of the Sun – how wonderful that you have actually been there done that!!!!! You all look exceptionally well and happy and wow the experiences you have had – still VERY envious!!!!!
    We are all well here – very busy leading up to xmas and all the tourists are piling into town ready for the holidays.
    So when are u back in town???

    Take care and stay safe happy and healthy!

  3. Sandra Lee Says:

    Hi Tracy & Marco
    I enjoyed reading your blog – the Blue House looks great and I wld love to go there – one day!

    Hope you are all well – looking forward to seeing you back in Oz.

    Travel safely
    love
    Sandra

  4. syd Says:

    Hey guys,

    Wow! Sounds like you are having an amazing time! Life is wonderful here with the weather warming up and Xmas looming. Busy as ever with gigs etc. Looking forward to (eventually) catching up and hearing all about your trip!

    Cheers and safe travels,

    Elhi and Syd Green

  5. Roger hart Says:

    Hi Tracey Marco and girls -the thought of us dancing naked against development in husky is mind- boggling! I dont want to go there! Thanks for the news and wonderful colourful and exotic photos . The new mayor here in the Shoalhaven appears to be toeing the pro-development line and not making changes that engender hope for a reversal of the previous council stance on local development. As we approach Christmas the crowds are growing here each weekend. We are about to become empty nesters as Lucille has completed year 12, done the schoolies thing in Bali and moving to Wollongong in two days time. Safe travels and see you back here next year. Regards

    Roger

  6. Becky Says:

    Hi ya Tracey, Marco, and girls
    Great to hear and see what you are up to. All is well here. We had a nice afternoon catch up with Mike and Nina on Sunday and spoke with longing fondness for you all. Mike is looking forward to Xmas.
    Must be a wonderful time for you to share. Enjoy.
    Love and miss you. Merry Xmas.
    Becky X X

  7. Rachael Kelly Says:

    Just happened to get onto the computer, a rare thing for me as Alec monopolises it, however, now that he is finished school I get to have a go and what a lovely surprise to read about all the fun you are having. Love the pictures, makes me want to travel. I love all the talk about food, now days it can be the strongest reason to go back to a place. Is that an age thing? I hope not. Travel does seem to heighten the senses though don’t you think? So have fun eating your way around Mexico. Merry Xmas to you all.
    Regards
    Rachael

  8. ged Says:

    Hey guys, what can I say this is so much better than lonely planet! It is great to see you relaxing and playing music amongst the travel, fabulous food and strange men with menacing attitudes. I can’t believe that you are heading back to the US so soon and that before too long you will be back in Jervis Bay.
    We miss you and want you back… but there are always more adventures to experience.
    I’ll be in contact before Christmas. Until then, much love and silliness,
    Ged

  9. Rosana Says:

    Thankyou for writing so vividly and sharing your experiences…you have transported me to some amazing places…..keep writing! Its great to see you enjoying yourselves.What a journey!

    Lot’s of love and hugs to you all!

    Rosanaxx

  10. Trish,Ofer and Chilli Says:

    Cool images,

    Is it any wonder that you guys breath so much colour into our community.

    Keran is spreading the colour here in husky with her Bollywood performances.

    All the girls performed at this years Vincentia Food fair, they all looked and acted beautifully. Sienna was missed!

    It is so enritching to be connected to other cultures.

    Keep safe and see you soon.

    Trish, Ofer and Chilli.

  11. Nick Says:

    Hey guys,

    great to hear from you and know you’re safe and well and having a ball. So you’ve got to be careful what beers you buy hey? What about the really importnat stuff…wine? I assume there must be local wine makers. Try some for me. I expect a full report including tasting notes…only kidding.

    Sounds like you’re all having a wonderful time, and you all look so healthy. The girls are growing up so much. The first photo on the blog of the girls is very telling in regards to which child recieved their genes from which parent. Santana could pass herself off as Tracey now, and Sienna…well if she’s not a little Marco! They both look beautiful and happy and colourful, reflecting the beauty and colour of Mexico so wonderfully captured in your photo’s and blog.

    I hope you enjoy your Xmas back in the US (with Mike we hear), and we look forward to catching up when you get back to Oz. Until then, or the next blog, take care and safe journeying.

    Love from us all,

    Nick

  12. mum Says:

    loved your story, had a laugh with naked people..I thought cairns was the only place where people went troppo..looks like it happens there as well …………must be the heat???

  13. Steve and Vic Says:

    Hola!!

    We were wondering when something would arrive from you guys, went by the house the other day, thinking won’t be long before you are back, unless you do the Harv/ Jules thing and decide you are going to just keep movin! Always nice to hear good stories and get the juices flowing, particularly for head prep for travel, we are a couple days away from the annual Woodford pilgrimage, domestic and well trodden but exotic in its own way, complete with sacrificial Woodford virgins like Helen and Gary…. wishing you great travels for the remainder, hope you have all been enjoying the wanderings as much as it sounds…. all well here. Felice navidad y besos, Estaban y Vicky

  14. Year 6 girls from Husky!!! Says:

    hi i havent seen you guys for ages <<<< brianna
    hi dude, i got in trouble cause i wrote a story about poo and of course it was mr bedson byebye <<<<hannah
    hi<<<<hannah again
    hello<<<<hannah again
    Hello…hows it going?? tell Sienna everyone was saying she was the lady in the 3rd picture haha and saying she has change alot<<<<merinda
    hi<<<<Gillian
    I miss you sienna all the other girls are really naughty (even laura) we talk about you everyday.
    we had a great time at our farewell all the girls looked very pretty. Jamberoo was a terrific day also.
    Make sure you visit next year. Mr V

  15. Ana Says:

    Hola se les agradece que tomen en cuenta nuestras playas para vacacionara, Oaxaca tiene hemosos lugares aun sin descubrir, cada pueblo en un rinconsito de color y alegria, los esperamos en Santa Maria Colotepec y sus playas.

    quiciera contactarlos ese es mi correo.

    ByE.


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