Mexico city, acapulco and puerto escondido
Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
12Trip End Ongoing
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My, this will be quite an update, so I suggest getting yourselves some tea and biscuits and settling in for a little while! Becca here, we have just today arrived in oaxaca and after a dinner of veges, spicey potato wedges and chicken wings (the latter for mark only - haven´t been turned just yet) we´re settling in for an early night ready to explore tomorrow.
So... Mexico City. Well, it´s bloody huge for starters and so there was little chance of seeing and doing everything we wanted, but we decided to stay for just about a week and try our best anyway. The first day we decided had to be a boring admin day: washing, getting phonecards, writing in this, sleeping, generally making homes from home etc.
Tuesday, the next day, we went to a free museum and gallery showing alot of Diego Riveria and Frida´s work. It was amazing to see such iconic and important work. The gardens were also gorgeous and had peacocks and hens milling around, also loads of gorgeous huge butterflies winding their way through various plants and undergrowth. It was gorgeous and a lovely day. We then attempted to go to the canals, with the possibility of riding a boat, but they were just so expensive we decided to cut our losses and maybe try again on Saturday or Sunday when they were meant to be cheaper. We came home and (I maybe more then Mark) sat in a delirious state of hunger waiting for the delicious FREE dinner that was available every night.. and did I mention also completely vegetarian? So I was a happy bunny.
The hostel we were staying at then was pretty good, definitely recommend it to all who go to mexico city - Hostel moneda. Right in the Zocalo, or centre of the city. Zocalo´s are generally in the old part of town, so we were surrounded by beautiful historical buildings, and could see the palace and cathedral from our roof top terrace, where we would have breakfast and dinner everyday and where the bar was - good stuff! There are also some aztec ruins very close near by, right next to the cathedral, which we got shown on the walking tour we took on Wednesday. A free tour offered by the hostel, we weren´t expecting much, but it was extremly good! If you look at the pics after this, you´ll see lots of pictures of cakes - apologies that was me getting rather excited about one of my favourite things - this was part of the tour, along with the cathedral, palace, a casino, the first hospital built in the america´s (including USA) and various other things. On this tour we also found out that Mexico city used to be two islands within a huge natural lake and that when the Spanish came and raped and pillaged all, damning all to hell who didn´t take up with their catholic religion, they decided to build on top of the lake. As a consequence, Mexico City is sinking something ridiculous like 12 inches a year, that may be an exaggeration, but it´s close! As we walked around, the city is all wonky and lopsided, with lots of buildings tipping like the leaning tower in pisa. Roads, which apparently used to be level are now up and down all over the place and within the cathedral there are many vast slopes, caused by heavy jewels or dead people in stone boxes being put there. It´s crazy!
Enough of that, the next day we went to see our first proper ruins in a place called Teotihuacan, it is not known which people built this city, as the Aztec people found it deserted but in perfect condition and so they thought it was made by gods (the name translates to something like the city of the gods in the aztec language), apparently due to the sheer size of the temples and pyramids which merge into the mountains (the pyramid of the sun being the third highest in the world, I am told). However, when we got home from this tour, I was cornered during our nightly fantastic free vege feast by a 79 year old man from Dallas, called Earl, who took great joy and time in telling me that that city, along with all the other temples like it in the world, were built by two families from Israel, who had been sent there by god to create a new world. He told me that these families knew how to build them because they had previously built the pyramids in Cairo. They travelled across the pacific (geography obviously not their strong point) and landed ´´somewhere´´ in the north of south america, then travelled all the way up to Mexico and decided that this spot was perfect and built temples, buried lots of dead people in them and left in time for the aztecs to discover it..or something like that. And that is how Mormons began. Who knew.
Earl then took it upon himself to chastise me, saying (imagine in strongish texan accent) ´´Rebecca, you know, over by the food there are some things called napkins. Maybe next time you eat you should use some.´´ So, parents, you should be proud to know that your daughter obviously still eats disgracefully!
SO anyway, back to the tour. It was great! First we went to some temples close to Mexico city, which were amazing, but nothing compared to Teotihuacan. We then got taken for lunch and got shown how tequila is made, from a cactus plant called Agave, which they also use as paper, weaving material and needle and thread. We tried three types of real tequila, one that tasted like a sort of beery cidery thing, one that tasted like amaretto and one that was more like the tequila we know at home, but much more bitter and strong. We needed this tequila to give us strength to climb the mountain, we were told. Over lunch and after a few more tequilas, our crazy yet lovely driver called Oscar and some other tour guides decided to dedicate a song to me, which was quite fun if a little embarrassing. We then had our first taste of Boing (I think maybe to sober us up?), a fruit juice drink over here. Funny names they have for things like that, another being called Squirt.
We then finally arrived at Teotihuacan, climbed the amazing pyramids and got shown some carvings and murals that had survived all these years, amazing stuff really. Pics will soon be ready in our mexico album on the link previously given. I was a bit scared to climb the temples, because the steps are huge and really steep - as in, once you are at the top or at a rest platform you have to walk right to the edge to see the steps begin otherwise it just looks like a vertical drop. Plus, there is no safety, nothing to stop your fall, so I was a complete scardey pants and poor Mark had to hold my hand and tell me how well I was doing to keep me going. Admittedly, the smaller temple - temple of the moon - was a much worse climb then the temple of the sun, which was at least double the size!
That night we arrived home knackered and chuffed at seeing and being in such amazing places.
The whole of that week the weather had been pretty miserable and Friday as no exception, so we decided to go to the cinema and watch an American film with Jack Bauer in it called Mirrors, I was very excited as I love 24.. and was even happier when he kept his same whisper-shout voice as used in 24 and said dammit a few times.
We had planned to stay in Mexico City until Sunday, not only because there was a lot to see and do, but also because there was a really cool looking concert on on the Saturday, with MGMT, Pendulam, The Kooks, The Flaming Lips, Stone Temple Pilots and NIN playing, along with some heavy metall type Mexican bands. The atmosphere was amazing, it was very similar to a gig at home, just in Mexico really and much cheaper! All in all the day cost us (including ticket, travel to and from, food and beer inside) around 50 pounds each.. cant get that at home hey!
The next day it was time for us to leave Mexico City and go to Acalpulco. Mark was most looking forward to this as I have been threatening him for some time that the whole time we are there I will sing the "going loco down in acalpulco" song to him, I am sure you can understand how much he was looking forward to it. However, when we got there we were most certainly not going loco. Acalpulco, in a word, is crap. Its sad really, as it's quite obviously a city in decline after it's hayday many years ago. It's rundown, with tiny smog filled beaches next to smelly fish heads, street dogs with fleas and attempted high rises. Not our idea of a good time. The other major annoyance were the street hawkers. These are very common throughout Mexico and so we're pretty much used to them, but, when you're lying on a beach that is only about 2 metres long, pretending to be asleep so that they'll leave you alone, they still don't...coming right up to you and asking "hey my friend, you want your hair braided/this hat/a bracelet/a shrimp/some information/a hotel room" In their defence they do leave as soon as you say no, but it's the fact that they almost queue behind eachother awaiting their turn to ask the gringos to buy their merchandise.
The best and most comedic hawkers, though, were in Mexico city on the metro system. Here they would get on at the end of the train and slowly make their way up through the carriages stopping in each to relay their big memorised speech about the merits of owning tissues, or batteries, or novelty hairbands with spiders on in time for halloween. The best here were the ones that were selling cds, they would walk along playing the introduction to each song really loudly - normally a collection of songs such as barry mannilow or similar, so very easy to sing along to. If one hawker was already in the carriage, the others, like on the beach, would wait in the carriage before until it was their turn to go - very polite. I think Mark's most used phrase whilst on the metro was "oh god, here come the tissues"!
Ok, so don't bother with Acalpulco, unless you can go just for the cliffdivers cos they were pretty cool, diving from at least 35 metres in the cove beneath. But, they're so arrogant and strutt through the crowds in their tightywhities waving and blowing kisses!
Puerto Escondido, our next stop, was another beach town. But, completely different. This is a small town that is slowly building itself up due to it being a favourite for surfers. The beaches are natural and long and gorgeous and the one street that runs alongside the beach is full of kooky little restaurants and shops. Here we stayed at a place called Edda's Cabanas, where it was 150 pesos (about 7 pounds 25p) for both of us to stay in a cabana with private bathroom and use of the comunal kitchen and laundry. Very nice! We both loved in there, but alas had to move on to Oaxaca as our attempted schedule was running away from us.
So, now we are in Oaxaca, it's great so far, but somehow not as I had imagined from all the spiel written about it. We went on a great tour today, but I'll let Mark go into that as I've written far too much and I think we all need a rest!
FIRST PRIZE GOES TO MISS CATHERINE ZOE COUNSEL, being the one and only one who attempted to guess who our mystery waxman was from the wax museum in Hollywood - Matthew Mccounaghy, we think you might be right there czc, thanks for the input. You get a beer when we come home, or come out here and we'll buy you a quesadilla.