Central America Here We Come!!

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We were finally on our way south toward Central America today, something I had been looking forward to for a long time. Well Mexico still technically counts as North America but at least they speak Spanish, although we heard more Spanish than English in USA as well!

After the exertion yesterday I was looking forward to a long lie in but we had to get up early to be ready for the flight. This means making full use of the last en-suite I will see for ages! Checked out and caught the shuttle bus from our casino to the airport.

We were flying with Mexican Airline Aviacsa and as a result were in the really crappy terminal 2 which had basically nothing of interest apart from a Burger King. I didn't want to eat fast food again but there was no other choice. I doubt there will be many fast food joints in Central America anyway so it could have been the last one. One thing that surprised me about the airport was were some of the flights were coming from. BMI from Manchester! Who knew BMI flew direct to Vegas? And from Manchester!

Most airports I have been to I have had no trouble at the baggage checks but not in Vegas! The woman in charge must have been having a bad day as EVERYTHING I was carrying had to be scanned. Wallet, money belt and camera weren't enough. No, I had to take off my belt and shoes (I was wearing bloody sandals! What could I possibly be hiding!) and walk through the metal detector again, holding my trousers to stop them falling down! An absolute joke but I couldn't say anything as we all know American customs are a little up tight!

The flight with Aviasca with was a bit hit and miss. It was the first time I've really had to pay any attention to using Spanish and I really don't understand much at all. Still we got a ham and cheese roll with jalapeño sauce which was nice. The plane was REALLY old and I didn't actually think we would be able to take off as we were very quickly running out of runway. Once in the air though it was smooth sailing until we arrived in Mexico City and had to circle for 30 minutes before the clouds broke enough for us to land! Brought back memories of landing in Japan on our first flight!

Mexico City airport was like a maze and we got completely lost. First of all we couldn't find an ATM anywhere and then we had to try and locate a way into the centre of one of the biggest cities in the world! Eventually found the entrance to the Metro which wasn't exactly well sign posted and thought it'd do the job. All the guidebooks basically tell you the Metro is totally unsafe, you're going to be mugged and not to take it after dark at all! Screw that! It cost 2 pesos (£0.10) and seeing as there were 2 of us we knew we wouldn't have any problems. The Metro was amazing! Sure it's not very modern but it is really fast, trains arrive every minute (necessary in a city of 35 million) and so damn cheap! Sure if you're on your own it's probably not the best idea but head for a reasonably busy carriage, preferably with a few women onboard, and you'll be fine.

Arrived in Mexico City Centre - called the Zocalo - and quickly managed to find the hostel, and it was great. In terms of facilities and layout the Hostal Catedral in the Zocalo is easily one of the best hostels I have stayed at during this trip. The restaurant had finished serving food but we were more interested in getting a beer. Ordered a couple of giant (940ml) bottles of Corona Familiar before finally looking for food. Apparently the Zocalo is where all the action takes place, but obviously not at night. It was deserted and the only place we could find food was the 7 Eleven. A crappy burrito later and we strolled back to the hostel with another beer. We ended the night drinking in the bar upstairs chatting to a load of cool Aussies who were in Mexico to do some surfing. I struggle carrying around my backpack so travelling with a surf board must be a mission!

So far so good!
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