Hola from Mexico City,
Well I've settled in a bit now. I arrived late on Friday night. I heard all sorts about how dodgy Mexico City is, how you shouldn't get in taxis after dark and how hectic the airport is blah blah blah... well this is no doubt sound advice in part. However I arrived at the airport and it was clean, well organised and pretty civilised! I couldn't get through to my hostel to get their airport pick up service so I went along to the authorised taxis and got in a safe cab. My taxi driver was really friendly but I still had butterflies in my stomach. Totally stupid, he was an absolute gent.
I arrived at my hostel which right in the Centro Historico so there's bags of stuff to see. Too much in fact for the time I have here. So I woke up early on Saturday to what sounded like a riot outside! Turns out it was market day! To call it crazy and bustling would be an understatement. I dodged my way through to meet Tess another Candian girl I met on Couchsurfing. She was lovely and we went and saw some sights together. We visited Templo Mayor which is the remains of an Aztec Temple demolished by the Spaniards in the 1520s. Some of the blocks from the temple were used to build the imposing but seriously impressive Catedral Metropolitana on Zocalo, the enormous main square in Centro Historico. The remains were very interesting as was the museum, which I was expecting to be a bit dull for some reason. Actually it was fascinating and filled with incredible Aztec gubbins! Skulls with spear heads still lodged in them... musical instruments carved from stone... it's incredible to see how brutal yet advanced a civilisation they were.
After our morning of historical interest we went and got ourselves some super tasty street tacos and then found a lovely shop selling the tastiest fresh waffle ice cream cones... it's likely that Tess and I will be in Guatemala at the same time so we'll probably meet up again. She provided a fantastic welcome to the city.
My hostel is pretty cool. Not hugely cheap by mexican standards but it's friendly and has a real mixture of travellers... all ages and nationalities... unlike Tess' hostel which seems to be full of kids! I've met some cool people here. No one to travel with long term but certainly day to day buddies.
Today I hopped on the Subway (which is so clean, efficient and cheap... 10p a journey!!!) with a short term partner in crime called Andy. We went to Xochimilco which are known as the 'floating gardens'. It is basically a series of canals where the indiginous inhabitants grew their food. We took a two hour trip in a gondola... after a short bout of bartering with the tout! The ride was beautiful, entertaining and a surreal change from the bustle of the city. It's so tranquil you can't believe you're in Mexico City. It's such a tourist trap as you can imagine! People in gondolas glide up to you every minute touting all kinds of tourist tat! I wore out the phrase, no gracias and no lo quiero!! Endless attempts were my made by floating Mariachis trying to romance up me and Andy no matter how much we told them we weren't together!
Once ashore we tried to make our way back to the train station and got somewhat lost! On the way we had endless touts directing us to the canals... but strangly now that they had our money they weren't so forthcoming at directing us back! It was not a problem though. We stumbled across some cool things and had a great big delicious lunch for a quid!
We hopped back on the subway... Andy got a little hassled by a young drunk trying to sell him some indecipherable wares... drugs we suspected. He turned out to be amiable though and bumbled on his way when we declined his offer. At every stop on the subway a different person tries to sell you home made cds of terrible latin pop which they play from tinny speakers in the back of a rucksack. I can see it starting to grate in time but for now it's novel and amusing!
Once back in Centro Historico we stopped off quickly at Palacio Nacional to see the Murals painted by Diego Rivera. The building is home to the offices of the president of Mexico. Again the building stands on an Aztec site torn down by Cortez. The Murals depict Mexican civilization from the Aztecs to the arrival of the Spanish and are so incredibly detailed. You can stand looking for hours and not take everything in.
Tomorrow I will visit Teotihuacan, the pyramids north of Mexico City with my room mate. I'll post more about that with pics as well.
I'm on a painfully slow computer today and I can't even turn my pics the right way up on here so sorry they're all wonky! I'll correct it soon... please don't worry if your interest tails off at any point during my ramblings... this is as much for my memories as anything.
Anyway, hope all is well where you are.
Love and super hot spice from Mexico!