Highlights from my trip to Mexico City and the mountains north of the city

First, going thru customs in Mexico….first I speak no Spanish…..and we missed picking up our bags at the end of customs….and after wandering around, we had to go back thru “customs leaving” Mexico City to get to “customs arriving” at Mexico City….quite a hassle…at midnight….I was tired….

Ordering food…..again, I speak no Spanish…..and my health requires a special diet of steamed or baked meat and veggies…..the first thing I did was to ask for an English menu…..but I had to learn how to ask for an English menu……and I used a phrase book which doesn’t always have the words you want.

The view from my hotel….the Holiday Inn Zocalo…..right on the Zocalo Plaza….which is a big plaza where they had revolutions in the past…I am sure Pancho Villa and Santa Anna rode thru it with their armies……they had 150 soldiers and a marching band raise the flag at 8 am each morn….I ran out and got photos……

The Jewelry Stores….there was a whole block of jewelry stores on one side of the Zocala Plaza…maybe 25 stores……all in a row….a little bit of competition, I think….there were also leather areas too…..and clothes areas too…..the lower class people all get there via the metro (subway)….tourists take taxis…..the middle and upper classes have their own cars…

There was a guy singing Mexican songs that sounded like Italian songs outside our window….til the cop came and clapped his hands once….he left immediately but came back later and the next day too….

The Metropolitan Cathedral outside our window…such beautiful Architecture……so massive…so beautiful inside…..built over Aztec ruins….as in “my god over your god”…

The Aztec ruins of the Templo Mayor…..full of cool statues…..some statues looked like cool dudes…..with lots of stuff hanging down from their heads

Diego Riveria mural of the history of Mexico….It is in a government building on the Zocalo plaza….wow…..very cool…the Aztecs……the conquistadors….all the dictators….everyone being mean to each other….lots of neat culture too….double wow….loved it!

The Banos…..or restroom….you pay 2 pecos….sometimes 4 pecos….but sometimes no paper or seat….sometimes these restrooms are very dirty… especially in areas off the beaten path ….not like McDonalds with the cleaning schedule….some had such a high amononia odor that it caused your eyes to water and your nostrils to flare…..but it did wake you up….lol

Chapultepec Park……very large….there is a castile (castle) in it with info on each dictator….but the signs are in Spanish…..so you have to bring your phrase book…..this castle was the site of a Mexico/US battle at the end of which at least one Mexican cadet jumped off the battlements wrapped in the Mexican flag and plunged to his death….after the castle, we went down and sat by the lake….til a motorcycle cop rode around and asked us all to leave… it was about 6pm……we packed up…. so did the vendors lining the main road….a very cool scene at twilight

Ghetto (Barios?) on the north side of Mexico City……solid slums up the sides of several hills and mountains…most looked like all cement houses…..including cement roofs…lots of clotheslines and big letters graffiti in big rounded letters…looks very poor…..

Shrine….Our Lady of Guadalupe…..just gorgeous…..several churches including a modern new one are built on this site…..wow…..this is where Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego in 1531…..and at the church at the top requires traipsing up many steps, but pilgrims come in droves…..some go up the steps on their knees….and I love the pious…..at the actual site of the apparition, they touch the glass in front of the statute of Mary….and then they touch their bodies…….I hear that on the anniversary days in December…..thousands are there….on the day we were there, a weekday….there were hundreds and hundreds…..

Teotihuacan pyramids…I think it is about 30 miles north of Mexico City….very cool ruins….very high….but most everyone climbs the steps of the biggest pryramid…the vendors tend to wreck it….too many….and they are in the plaza of the pyramids and you have to pass them as you go from pyramid to pyramid….but hey….I loved it….bought a stone turtle for $12…..I say…never let anyone bother you…..you are there to have fun….so I had fun bartering…..heard that others paid a lot more for their turtles….isn’t that what life is all about….getting a low price for your turtle….

We met my Mexican brother in law…..he grew up in the hills north of Mexico City….and he drove up thru the hairpin turns of the mountains like a guy who worked at a theme park and wanted to scare the patrons on the trill ride……I was scared….he just chuckled….and he said “are you scared?”….sometimes I did the ostrich routine…..

Finally we arrived at his hometown…in much flatter area…..high in the mountains….Durango, Mexico….population 2,000….has a general store which sells everything….jammed with stuff…..Coca Cola décor….the church is beautiful….looks like what you see in western movies…Donkeys and donkey doo are in the grass around the church…..they are all set if they want to do a manger scene……Mexican dogs wander all over……they are quite laid back…..but when you approach…they put their tails between their legs…. and you walk the other way…..the Mexicans all have nice trucks…..and ride around and say ola to each other….and there are young couples walking hand in hand….young love in the mountains….and they now have a cyber café….a bakery….a restaurante where the truck drivers eat fresh killed chicken…..
The houses are made of reinforced cement…..The houses all have a yard with stone walls around the yards and dogs for protection….I slept in a cement house……and the roosters started crowing at 4 am…..lots of chickens and some pigs and sheep….and they are not pets……

We took the bus back down the mountain…..I had to stand for the first hour til we reached the small mountain city of Zimapan….the people of Zimapan seemed quite short….so I know now that the Mayans are not the only short people in Mexico…..the children were so cute and the young boys and girls were dressed in red and light blue school uniforms…..the babies were all dressed up…very cute!!….the smell of the people on the bus was not the best…but not real bad….just marginal….the ride was scary….and we were next to the cliff…but somehow the bus driver seemed like a pro….so I was relaxed….

Finally we had the taxi ride from the bus terminal to the airport…..it was a treat….traffic was heavy….so the taxi driver….drove in the oncoming lane lots of the time…he put his hand out the window….and sort of signaled oncoming traffic…as if to say….I have my hand out so it is Ok…..and he yelled at everyone….he seemed to know everyone….and he beeped a lot…everyone beeped a lot…..and he rode down narrow side streets to avoid traffic jams…..we went thru intersections with cars going about 10 different ways….merging…playing chicken….being nice sometimes….then the cop would blow his whistle…and a new equally confusing mix of traffic would quickly develop at this same intersection….I loved it…..I would pay to do it again….definitely a highlight….

Then we flew home…..lol

Highlights from my trip to Mexico City and the mountains north of the city

yevad98

Oconto, United States

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