Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mexico City, Mexico 23-29 May 2011

1 USD = 11 Mex Peso

After a 10 hours flight from Japan to Dallas, a 5 hours delayed at Dallas and another 2 hours flight, I finally arrived in Mexico City, the local call Mexico City as DF. My first sight of DF was on the plane, for a moment  I thought the plane is going to crash into the city. J The airport is just right in the city of Mexico. My CS host Georgina came to pick me up in the airport. Her mother and brother welcome me to their home, I was their 2nd CS and coincidently the 1st CS they had was also from Singapore. I was given a quick tour of the area, they live at the western side of DF near to Cuatro Caminos station. It’s a secured area with blocks of flats just like Singapore HDB. From here to Zocalo is 12 stops away. It cost 3 pesos for each trip to any station.

With the jetlag and long travelling day I slept till noon the next day, I started my first day in MX with a relaxing Touribus ride around the big city. It took 5 hours to go around including some stopover. I had a chance to get my direction right around the city for the next few days. While I was in the city, I noticed there were policemen stationed at every 5-10m. I felt a bit worried coz usually you dun see a single one in Singapore. Which means when you have police everywhere, it means the city has lots of crime. I was very careful with my bags.

It seems to be very common to have a few demonstrations on the street everyday here. When I was at Zocalo(the square), the sight is full of tents and people, like a Pasar Malam (Night market) Later I found out that these people were retrench from the Electical Company a year ago and now they are on strike demanding for money that they didn’t get. All these strikes has add on to the bad traffic problem which DF already bad. Due to overcrowded cars in DF, the government has to implement a system where each car has a day of not going on the road each week. And the government is also promoting bicycle in town. Ecobici has more than 1,000 bikes and 85 stations in the the city. An annual membership costs 300 pesos (about $23). The first 30 minutes of rental are free, the next 30 cost 10 pesos ($.80), and additional hours cost 35 pesos ($2.70) each. One can take and ride and park the bike at any stations in the city. Taking the Metro in MX is cheap but the train is not air condition, during this hot weather taking the Metro is like going into sonar. L And they drove the train like driving a F1 car, you really need to hold on to something before it take off.

Food in Mexico varied from the 3 main “T” Tacos, Tortilla and Tortas. J It was nice for first few days but after that I get tired of them. I was lucky so far that my host from couchsurfing was able to speak English and gave me lots of information to get around. When I have dinner with them, I will have a chance to try something else like Escamole, Cochinita pipil, Gringa, etc. The food is great!
Mescal is the famous drink of Mexico, made from Maguey-a kind of plant that looks like aloe vera. There are different type varied from the type of plant, where they were grown and how old they were harvested. It is usually drink by sipping it and then follow with some salt and lime to smoothen it. They sometime use the worms that live on the Maguey plant to make it into powder form and mix it with the salt. It tasted good!
I had my fair share of museum and churches in DF, time to get to my first pyramid. :-) Georgina’s mom was so cool, she accepted my invite to come with me to Teotihuacan, in a way she also became my tour guide for a day, I was so grateful. Andrea who spoke few words of English and me who spoke few words of Spanish head out to Teotihuacan with my little Spanish/Eng dictionary. We somehow managed to communicate and had a really great day! J Teotihuacan is approximately 40 km northeast of Mexico City. The site covers a total surface area of 83 km² and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It has 2 enormous Pyramid, The Sun and The Moon Pyramid. The Sun Pyramid is 738 feet (225 meters) across and 246 feet (75 meters) high, making it the third largest pyramid in the world being slightly smaller than Great Pyramid of Giza (230 meters), but much smaller than the Great Pyramid of Cholula (450 meters).

After spending 4 days at Georgina’s place, I had to moved on to my next host at the area of Napoles. Leo and Mag have a beautiful apartment and 2 dogs Romina and Lorita, they are friendly yet fierce. We spent the Sat together doing some rock climbing. They are very passionate about the sport. Unfortunately I have to leave to Puebla on Sunday otherwise I will enjoy another day of climbing with them.

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