Mexico City

Trip Start Nov 08, 2007
Trip End Jan 03, 2008

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Monday, December 3, 2007

First I'd just like to say that Mexico City was great, mainly because of the time we got to spend with Becky's long time friend, Alfonso, his daughter, Marianna, and his parents and family.  Alfonso pretty much devoted his whole weekend to us, and for that we are grateful.  We were even invited to a cookout for the Pumas vs. Saints soccer game (Semi-finals) at their house along with brothers, sister-in-law, neices and nephews.  We truly had a great time with Alfonso and Marianna, and I was very happy to meet them and their family considering the how much a part of Becky's life they all are.

Having said that...

The night we showed up in Mexico City was actually pretty horrible, mainly because of the hostel we stayed in.  It had been recommended to us by a couple people, and we had called ahead to make sure that there were rooms available.  We got a cab at the bus station (which is the size of a small airport in the US), and the ride went well until we turned down some pretty dark streets at the end.  Becky and I exchanged looks of concern, and when the driver stopped the cab and indicated that the place we were going was just up a road that was blocked off the only reason we felt safe getting out was because there were a couple police officers on foot nearby.  Later on, when we went out to get some food, we were told not to walk in the direction where we were dropped off as it is not safe...  Great...  When we turned the lights on in our room the cockroaches hid.  Now, cockroaches are okay, we can deal with them, but sleeping in a bed that has other people's hair in it, and crapping in a toilet with other people's pubic hairs on it - not so fun.  We explained to them that the room was disgusting and that it didn't appear to have been cleaned - I don't think they cared too much.  We decided to sleep with the lights on to keep the cockroaches out of site - but when we woke up the power had gone out.  That place was sweet.

Needless to say, we didn't spend another night there.  Our friend Jorg had emailed and told us about where he was staying in Coyoacan.  It sounded great, so we packed up our stuff and hopped on the metro to go there.  The subway system in Mexico City is outstanding, and it's only 20 pesos!  That's about 20 cents.  And it pretty much runs anywhere you want to go.

At this point I'm going to take a moment and describe some of the sales tactics that we've encountered in Mexico on subways and buses.  On buses, people will get on and hand out what they're selling (gum, candy, herbal remedy, etc) to everyone on the bus (or as many people as they can get to hold it).  Afterwards they will simply walk around to everyone and take their product back (or money for it if their sale was a success).  But if you're lucky, they will give you their sales pitch for 2 minutes.  My spanish isn't good at all, but I'm sure that they're letting me know that what I'm holding in my hands is so great, and the price is such a bargain, that I can't afford NOT to buy it.

On the subway (twice in one trip), people will get on the train with a bag that has a built in stereo blaring music of some kind.  They're selling CDs.  They stay on the train just long enough to give you their sales pitch (which sounds pretty much the same to me as the people selling candy), and then hop off at the next stop.

Anyway - moving on.  The hostel we stayed at in Coyoacan was pretty good.  We met up with Jorg, and Celine actually joined us there a little later in the evening.  Coyoacan is one of the cooler neighborhoods in Mexico City (there are 16).  It's very artsy, and there's a few hug markets where you can get food, crafts, produce, knick-knacks, and all that stuff.  We hung around there for a bit and then got in touch with Alfonso.  The four of us (Alfonso, Marianna, Becky and I) took a tour bus through the city and talked the whole time.  I'm sure that I missed out on all sorts of tour information that was available via earphones, but we were really just having a great time meeting (for me) and catching up (for Becky).  The highlight of the tour had to be the naked protestors in the street right next to the Palace of Fine Arts.  I don't even know what they were protesting (I think it was political), but it was definitely quite a contrast from the magnificant structure next to which they were dancing around naked.

The next day we spent a good deal of time walking around Cayoacan, and then we went to the University to see the stadium and the huge mural on the university library.  I'm not sure, but I believe that it might be the largest mural in the world.  Either way it's pretty impressive.

Next was probably the highlight of our stay in Mexico City.  Alfonso had mentioned that he wanted to watch the soccer game later on, and I expressed an interest in watching it as well.  I'm really glad I did because Celine, Becky and I ended up going to his parents house for a cookout with a bunch of family.  We had seen his parents the previous night, but this time there were brothers, in-laws, and finaces all there for the cookout.  We ate (delicious), watched the game (resulting in the Pumas clinching a spot in the championship, which was the desired result for most people there), and then sipped beer (Alfonso's dad drank his 'tequilita') and talked for a good while into the night.  Unfortunately I didn't think to take any pictures until the end of the evening, however I'm happy to have gotten a few then.

After the cookout, Alfonso drove us back to the hostal where we grabbed our bags, said our thank yous and goodbyes (to Celine as well, as she was heading west and we were heading south), and then caught a cab to the bus station in order to get an overnight bus to Oaxaca.
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