Monday, October 14, 2013

Mexico City

Day 1 ~ Made it! What an interesting trip on the metro from airport to hotel. Rode the metro to the Museum of Anthropology. Nice, helpful people everywhere. Most don't speak English but we got by! One nice lady walked us several blocks to the museum. Another old man explained the peaceful demonstrations that brought thousands to the plaza Sunday morning. Interesting people everywhere! Gene ate a crispy grasshopper while I took a pass on that.
Day 2 ~ Up much too early. So glad I tucked a box of instant coffee in my backpack. Museums are closed on Mondays so we took a 3-hour bus trip to Taxco. I had money burning a hole in my pocket for some new silver earrings. Food is constantly on my mind. If ever there was a reason to live here, the food would be at top of the list! Bus ride to Taxco took us through some seriously poor areas. Regardless, there are always food stands. The day was interesting as we visited a historic Catholic church and then walked up a street with open air market where locals buy their food. People were very friendly. I'm stocked up on silver earrings! 
In Taxco
 I have never seen so many Volkswagon bugs in one place (Taxco). They use them for taxis. We rode in two of them after I nearly had heart failure walking the steep streets. The cab rides were much like the Indiana Jones ride at Universal Studios. So much fun in a "scary, I may die in a love bug" kind of way.
Butterfly exhibit at zoo a must-see
Day 3 ~ No rushing out the door this day. So many choices for what to do so decided over coffee and breakfast of tacos covered in verde salsa. I've decided in my next life I'd like to be a traveling food journalist! Squeezed too much in today. Bad backache. Saw some beautiful buildings, artwork but couldn't get into national palace due to police having it blocked off. Best part of day was sitting at cafe this morn watching people in their suits and ties going to work. Thousands of people. Few people smoke here. Thousands of peeps on metro system and nobody was rude. Some have cell phones, but I'd say less than 25% have their face stuck in them. Nobody we've seen has tattoos.
Taxco (silver is their industry here)
Day 4 ~ The Mexico City zoo was AWESOME! This may go down as my favorite day! Because the admission is free I thought it was going to be crappy. I was so wrong! We did have to pay 40 pesos ($3.15) each to enter the Insect Exhibit which has your typical tarantualas and huge cockroaches. BUT it also had a botanical room with butterflies! I woke up today feeling a little panic as I couldn't remember what day it was. After dinner of posole and flan for dessert, we walked outside to a torrential rain complete with thunder and lightening. Hoped it would clear some of the smog. Other observations I've made ... the police are everywhere and they always have their cop lights on. I surmise they want their presence known. I'm getting used to the constant sirens. The other thing I've noticed is drivers honk their horns constantly. Seems rude but I don't believe that is the intention. It's just simply "hey, I'm here!" You get used to it. I've noticed are they don't serve rice with street food. The orange juice included with breakfast is fresh squeezed and it feels like such a luxury. All the bread is sweet. There is never salt and pepper on the table. The people here love their helato (ice cream). Regarding the metro system, the first day I was scared to death but now I see that the subway is how people are able to survive here. For .25 cents a person can get anywhere in Mexico City. The metro is not for those who have social anxiety as during peaks of day you are jammed in shoulder to shoulder. Once on the metro there are always one or two "vendors" who get on and start chanting to sell their wares. Some of them have stereos complete with nice sized speakers in a backpack. They wait until the train starts and then blast the musica! A person might be put off by this but when in Mexico, do as the Mexicans do and just ignore it. The "vendors" only stay on for a stop or two and then depart. It's a hard living, no doubt. I've seen only 1 or 2 sales in the times we've taken the metro. The metro system moves 3 million people every day. Incredible! Today I noticed every time we stopped and looked like we were lost, someone nearby would ask if we needed help. I can't quite get over that. On the other hand, on our way to breakfast this morn, a nice man named Arturo stopped to talk and it turned out he wanted to show us the city ... a private tour, if you will. We were polite and thanked him but kindly said no. Afterwards, i wondered how many people would actually get in the car and go with him? Nuts! Turns out we ran into him every day after this one. So, last night the street vendor where we were going to eat was closing and he waved us across the street to a restaurant. Lesson learned: if the place has table cloths and a door, and you can't see the cook, the price goes up X3 and not nearly as good. In Mexico City stick to the street food ... it's what the locals eat!
Day Five ~ Day trip to Puebla. Ran into Arturo (the guy from yesterday who wanted to give us a private tour) this morn on way to breakfast. Decided he is a pretty good scam artist. He even produced a tear for us this morn. I'm cold-hearted at times. Today he was simply cutting into my vacation time. I'm afraid I was less kind today. Got to bus station and actually found a free bathroom. It was filthy. The ride to Puebla took us through the poorest 'hoods I've ever seen. Many abodes are concrete block and lots of tarps. Clothes hanging from place to place ... I'm guessing most don't even have wash machines. I saw lots of dogs in the streets today, some with hair so matted and dirty it made me cringe. In the poor areas there is hardly a wall that isn't tagged with graffiti. I'm glad we went to Puebla. It was very crowded on some streets and at one point we simply sat and watched the crazy bus drivers at one intersection. It seriously looked like a demolition derby! Puebla has several historic Catholic churches. We only entered one today and I think I'm pretty good to go for ever visiting another historic church. Lots of gold and high ceilings. My favorite moments this were looking down allies and finding older women cooking the most wonderful looking food on hot grills. All in all a good day but it paled in comparison to the zoo yesterday. The buses are very comfortable and have bathrooms. Anywhere you go in this city, you'd better have pesos in your pocket because you have to pay 4 pesos to use el banos, if you can find one. And, you may not know that they don't flush t-paper here, it goes in trash. Yes, even the poo paper! Poor, old sewer system.
Day 6 ~ Strolled over to the Museo of de Arte Moderno today. Very nice! Took a very long nap, then out for late lunch/early dinner. Walked in a different direction and discovered a beautiful park with one of a very few authorized replicas of the Statue of David which is in the center of a water fountain. And get this, a place where locals take their dogs to play!!! Dogs of every shape and size, off lead, just burning off some energy. Very joyful! Talked to a guy from Spain who has lived here a year. It's Friday night and Mexico City is rocking!
We packed a lot of sight-seeing into 6 days but it was fun and if I had to choose my favorite things it would be the food and the people.

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