The final frontier.....
06.01.2008 - 08.01.2008
Mexico City is massive with large concrete expanses and buildings blackened by the pollution, at least in the very centre. There are 20 million people living here, without the feeling of being squashed in when you are walking on the street, but there is always a volume of people moving around, where ever you go. When we got here from Oaxaca (7hours) we decided to take the usual taxi to the hotel we were staying at since it usually cost 25-30 pesos in all the other cities in Mexico we visited. At the bus terminal we decided to ask the price at the “secure taxi” office and was told it was 60 pesos. We thought this too expensive and thought it would be cheaper outside of the station. Outside the station there were lots of taxis and the two drivers we asked quoted 150 pesos!! With this information we quickly back tracked into the terminal at the “secure taxi office”, bought our tickets and queue up with all the locals (always a good sign anyways). The good news about the secure taxi office is that once you have bought your fare (by zone) you do not have to spend any extra money, only if you want to leave a tip or if you have excess baggage. Everyone else is a shark! Also, apparently you have to be quite careful with street taxis as a lot of robberies do occur. So we picked right in the end and got to our chosen hotel, Hotel Isabel, very smoothly. Hotel Isabel is three blocks from the zocalo and quite a strange place. It is colonial with high ceilings and very gloomy rooms, but very clean, comfortable and inexpensive.
Ice rink view from the Grand Hotel, Mexico City
Herbie Taxi... lots like it in the City
El Palacio de Bellas Artes
On Sunday we treated ourselves to a buffet breakfast in the Grand Hotel of Mexico City, up on the terrace overlooking the central square. We pigged out so much that we did not eat for the rest of the day!! We then walked around for hours between the shops, which is probably the main activity we will do here until we leave on Wednesday. The central area feels a little bit like Hong Kong (well, never been there, but that’s how it feels) with shops selling massive quantities of stuff, either detail or wholesale, including artesania and wonderful patisseries. It is a little sad to see all this hats and nice crafts piled up in heaps like industrial products – nothing like seeing it at the market with the local lot trying to make a few pennies. We discovered a very good place where to eat which seems like the local chain restaurant – it produced gourmet dishes at fair prices and still very traditional fair is served – only problem is that last night we found out it belongs to Wal Mart!!! That is so sad, to really like a place and then find out that the biggest American food company owns it! Almost wanted to cry from the disappointment.
On January 6th Mexicans celebrate the Epiphany it’s a big deal here with more gifts for children, heavy shopping and a special round cake called “Rosca de Reyes”. All the main shops close early so there is nothing open for tourists, by late evening.
Yesterday we went to Teotihuacan about 50km outside of Mexico City , which had the biggest pre-hispanic civilization . The original site was about 20 sq Km, the existing site is about 2km including the pyramid of the sun (3rd biggest pyramid in the world at 70 meters high and a huge base) and the pyramid of the moon. The Aztecs nobles used to spend time there because they believed that the spirits of the gods were there. To get there its best to take the trolley-bus (2 pesos) to central north terminal, then there is a bus going there every 15 minutes for another 35 pesos (single ticket). The journey from central north takes about 1 hour.
Pyramid of the sun
Pyramid of the moon
view of Greg at the bottom of the Pyramid of the sun
view of Flavia at the Top of the Pyramid of the sun
view in the museum
For our last day and a half in Mexico and our whole trip, we will be going out to dinner with Pablo and Regina (local Mexico City residents) this evening.
Tomorrow we will take the City Turibus tour in the morning, then get back in time to go to the airport - destination London arriving on January 10th. We are going to stay with Yvonne (Gregory's mum) till the 20th, then go to Italy until February 1st, when we are getting our house back.