Published: November 22nd 2010November 16th 2010
Previously, on the Amazing Amble...
So, we said our farewells and hopped on a plane – a Qantas 747-400 in case you're wondering, all the engines having dropped off the A380s the day before. The flight was okay, as flights go. By that I mean the plane didn't crash and tv thingo worked all right. I only managed to watch 3 movies, as I endured the incessant back and forth of the seat in front, occupied by an abrasive Californian woman. Happily, she was also doing regular yoga stretches which caused her clawed hands to reach over the back of the seat and completely obscure the screen.
Klaire reckons she got through 6 movies, but she's probably lying.
We alighted the plane at LAX, into the worst operated customs area I've ever seen. It took a full two hours for the whole process. The border security blokes were getting cranky because people had no idea where to go. This may have been because there was no indication whatsoever of where to go. It struck me as we were being photographed and having fingerprints (and thumbs, and both hands) digitally recorded onto the Homeland Security database that the country which holds itself
up to be a beacon of freedom and so forth has some truly oppressive practices. I couldn't see how protecting freedom by reducing freedom works, but then I guess I'm just not as smart as them.
Anyway, got through it, and were officially in the US. Just because, we went outside the terminal to have a look at it. The bit we could see looked a bit crap, so we went back inside. In any event, our flight was due, the customs process having taken so long.
The Alaskan Airways flight was uneventful, and four hours later we landed in Mexico D.F.
, a city with more people in it than our whole country. By this time it had been the 14th for a lot longer than 24 hours, and we were getting a bit over it. We had booked a couple of nights at a place in Condesa and had the directions. About 60 pesos in a taxi, or 6 pesos (around 40c) on the metro. We chose the metro.
Which was a great choice. Being a Sunday it wasn't too busy, and filled with people on their way to and from various events. The final of
Apertura, the first half of the Mexican football season had been on (by the way, from here on in football means real football, not the kinds with egg shaped balls), there were various parties, people with piñatas, people selling bubbles, lollies, books. There were also folks with backpacks decked out with more speakers than I had in my car as a young fella selling cds. I'm sure one bloke had a subwoofer in his fake Nike backpack, had the carriage vibrating nicely. We had to change lines at some point so we did the internationally recognised sign of the lost traveller – stand around looking at a map. Sure enough, some guy helped us in short order.
Hopped off the train, wandered about and found our hostel. We had a private room, shared bathroom. A nice little place in a good area of Mexico City - Roma. A quiet, leafy street outside, a short walk from a heap of bars and restaurants. Also free wifi in the hostel. Not so much hot water, but can't win 'em all, I guess. There wasn't many others there. A French girl (well, her Lonely Planet said “Mexique” so we took a punt),
an Australian expat type with some of the typical expat arrogance, but not a bad bloke really.
We were more than a bit stuffed but we went out and had a feed at a place on the corner (cheap beer, hot food, mucho sauces on the table, think I'm gonna like it here). We crashed fairly early that night.
We wandered up the Zocalo the next day. The Lonely Planet told us to take the bus, but it was only a couple of kms so we walked.
The Zocalo was predictably huge and impressive. There was some sort of festival on – I think it was public holiday, and we were interviewed by 3 different groups of students, clearly for their English classes. They would approach nervously, ask if we spoke Spanish, then interview us with set questions while their friends giggled and filmed the interview on little point and shoot cameras.
The next few days were spent basically wandering around. As luck would have it, my camera stopped working on the second day of our holidays, so we found a Sears and bought a new one.
Back to the hostel, then more beers. $4 for a sixpack
of Coronas from the supermarket was hard to go past, as was reggae night at Kings Bar in Condesa, so we stopped in for a drink.
So far, pretty good. Close to the budget so far, not counting the new camera. The food is cheap, the hostel not too bad at 400 pesos a night (about $32 AUD).
Next stop, San Luis Potosi.
There are more photos below