Thursday, July 31, 2008

La Ciudad

Amigas y Amigos,

Yesterday we awoke early, packed our things, had one last Tepoznieves (tequila con limon – um, basically margarita ice cream) and hopped a bus (literally hopped it at the highway tollbooth) out of Tepoztlan to Mexico City. The bus ride was only about an hour, but because of Mexico City traffic and crazy Mexico City streets, the taxi ride from the Mexico City bus station to our hotel near the Centro Historico took over two hours. El ciudad de Mexico es loco.

We had hoped to stay at the Casa de los Amigos, a hostel-type place run by Quakers, but it’s full due to an international HIV/AIDS conference. So the friendly Quakers recommended a place directly across the street, which they described as “safe,” “clean,” and “economical.” The Hotel Texas (pronounced Tay-has) does seem to fulfill those qualifications. When we arrived, however, we confess that we were less than thrilled.

Moving from one place to another can be difficult. You just begin to grow comfortable in one place and – bam! – you’re off to the next place. In this case we’re going from cobblestone rural to taxi-honking urban, which doesn’t help. When we first arrived here in Mexico City, it was that helpless feeling all over again. The taxi driver picks you up, drives you around in crazy traffic circles and hairpin turns through this this mad metropolis and drops you off in a place you really hope is the right one. Ok, look up at the sign. There’s the Hotel Texas, ok. But we have no idea where anything else is in this neighborhood. Look up the street - everything feels a bit sketchier, run-down buildings, cops on street corners with black sunglasses and uzis… ok, not uzis, but I don’t know what they’re called; I asked Chris what kind of guns they are and she said, “I don’t know, ‘Big Ones’?” Whatever they are, the policia carry big military-style weapons all the time. You just get used to it, I guess.

And the same can be said for the city. After settling in our room, we go across the street and ask the Quakers where to eat. They recommend a local place on the corner – in America, it would be like a diner, but I’m not sure what they’re called here… Chris suggests “fonda” or “comedor.” Whatever it’s called, we got a fixed-price meal that included agua de pina (pineapple juice), sopa (soup), ridiculously fresh and more ridiculously thick tortillas, arroz (rice), enchiladas in salsa verde, and a fruit cup for dessert, all for about 35 pesos (US $3.50) each. Then we walked around the neighborhood and found the massive Monument to the Revolution and the hidden Museo de San Carlos. There are a few 7-11’s and Oxxo’s (in Spanish it’s pronounce Osco – is it the same company?), so we stopped at one and picked up some chocolate-covered ice cream bars that Eva Longoria urged us to buy via her effective advertisements plastered everywhere. We took turns calling our families from the pay phone on the street corner, and then we went back to the room and watched TV until we fell asleep.

More detail than you needed, I know… but sometimes that’s just how you get acclimated to a new place.

Of course, that was yesterday. Today we put on our Dora and Diego explorer hats and headed out to have a ridiculous and rather unplanned adventure… but that’s another story, for another post. :)

No comments: