Sunday is cycling Day in Mexico City! Many streets are closed off to cars. Many families are out riding. Many people believe that Mexico is a dangerous place, full of drug lords and kidnappings. The reality in Mexico City is that the locals are getting on with their lives – just like everywhere else in the world. Mexico is a big place and while there are some areas where is it dangerous, the majority is fun and hospitable. There is even a group shocking pink clad girls advertising tampons – or similar- packing into a pink minivan- with their bikes… which is a sight to behold.
We had been warned about public transport (not to do it).. well actually we had been warned about virtually everything in Mexico City. People had even said “Why” when I responded that we were going on holiday to Mexico City. The head steward on our Air New Zealand flight, had never been… he wanted to go,but was terrified, and also he didn’t like coriander! Well yes, coriander can be lurking around corners and catch you when you least expect it!!!
So – of course – Lola and Ms Pacifica decide to take the Metro. After some small delay reading the instructions (en espanol), a 10 trip ‘boleto’ was purchased and we both used one ticket to get through turnstiles. We got off at the main plaza the Zocalo- without incident. Actually it was calm and typical other metro service. There was quite a strong police presence in the city, walking and standing on the back of patrol vehicles, but no machine guns and a pretty relaxed atmosphere.
The Zocalo is the HUGE main plaza in Mexico city – with the massive Mexican flag flying, and the Cathedral. As a Sunday morning, mass was in full swing at the Sacristy next to the cathedral, and children dressed in white for a baptism or communion. As Halloween or Dia de los Meurtos was just around the corner and we bumped into this stylish witch who was happy to be photographed.
Then we went to the famous Templo Mayor, just off the main square. This huge structure was only uncovered in the 70’s and Sunday is open day for locals at museums and so there were a lot of visitors. We walked through the site and then into the museum, which is spectacular with dramatic lighting and huge stone sculptures.
After a good dose of culture we headed up for lunch at a terrace restaurant overlooking the ruins and had out first Mexican meal – Pollo and mole. Chicken with a deep brown lightly sweet and textural sauce – an acquired taste.
In the afternoon we brushed off the jet lag and headed out to Coyoacan to the Frida Kahlo museum in the Blue Casa she shared with Diego Rivera. The house had lots of objects of daily life. The heavens opened when we were waiting to get in and so with limited energy we decided to take a taxi back. It took us a couple of false starts, the first guy wanted to charge us 300 pesos for the trip, more then the trip from the airport the night before, and so we got a second driver -who was much cheaper, but had NO IDEA where he was going. We eventually got ‘near enough’ and so got out and walked back to our apartment for a quick catnap.
At 8pm we managed to drag ourselves out to a local restaurant (which happened to be Italian) but we were too tired to find another and after a meal and a glass of wine, we were tucked up back in our cosy apartment by 10pm.
We enjoyed our first day in Mexico City, and packed in more than usual as we would miss some of the sights the next day… being a Monday. For mid October it was pretty cool in the morning and evening and with the heavy rain mid-afternoon we started to wonder if we had packed for the right weather. The people were friendly and relaxed and even on the underground there was no obvious signs of crime. TODO BIEN.
Stayed at Suites Berna 12, Zona Rosa, near and the Angel de la Independencia and Paseo de la Reforma. USD396 for 3 nights in 2 bedroom apartment on booking.com)
Not much around in terms of restaurants or shops.
Taxi from Airport (Company: Sitio 300) for 250 Pesos Mx (25 NZD)
Entry Fees: Templo Mayor 59 Mx, Museo Frida Kahlo 100Mx
Nearest Metro: Insurgentes