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Published: February 15th 2015
Ordering our empanadas and tamales from the cute little ladies
Apparently high altitude means I wake up early and don't get hungover. Either that or it's shoveling decadent Mexican delicacies down my throat every five minutes. Regardless it's time for a blog!
After a week of anxiety about whether or not we'd make it out due to Mexico given a) my horrifying travel luck and b) the weekend blizzard dumping another foot or so of snow on Boston (which already had around 6 feet over the last several weeks), Chris and I met at the airport around 11:30 Friday afternoon for our 1pm flight to Dallas where we would be connecting. I ran into a chorus friend who happened to have Admirals Club Access and invited us to join him so we spent a good time in there having a free beer before grabbing some food and boarding our flight. Next was 4 hours in Dallas at DFW, which consisted of more beer, a margarita, and more eating until 3 hours later when I realized we had access to the American Express Centurion lounge with our credit card. We could have been eating and drinking for free! Oh well we'll be hitting that up on the way back. The 9:15
In Polanco - Colonial Californiano style
flight was normal and around 11 we we began our descent into the sprawling urban metropolis of Mexico City.
With over 20 million people in greater Mexico City, it's the largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere and the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world. There were lights as far as the eye could see and ominous black masses coming up out of the ground - undoubtedly the mountains and volcanoes of the Valle de México. In fact we had to do some circling because of volcanic ash in the air - fun! By 11:30 we touched down, and going through customs and grabbing our luggage was a breeze. We also took out some pesos in case we needed cash, but so far it seems D.F. is very credit-card friendly. Wanting to avoid a potential kidnapping, we bought a ticket from a sitio (licensed, legal taxi) kiosk and headed out into the queue. By midnight we were at Casa Del Solar D.F. in Polanco, home to Alexandra as well as many of Mexico's wealthiest and influential people - fitting! Given the time and full day of travel, we just caught up for a bit before calling it a night.
We'd have a full 8 days of fun ahead of us!
Saturday morning we woke up in Alex's fabulous abode - it definitely brought back memories of our time at the Palau in Andorra. With two bedrooms, a maid's room, 4 bathrooms, and a great kitchen, living room and dining area I felt less bad about imposing for the week. Throwing on some clothes Alex and I headed out to Cafetería y Pastelería Maque to pick up some breakfast treats. We got tamales de mole de pollo (chicken mole) and rajas (poblano peppers) and empanadas de espinaca (spinach) and more chicken mole. We then swung by Catamundi, an awesome-looking gourmet store I need to return to, for some coffee. Back at Casa del Solar we feasted, washing everything down with fresh-squeezed OJ and cava. One fun thing about high-altitude living is that until you get used to it, just a little bit of alcohol can affect you, so that was fun! Next stop - the market!
As I'd mentioned, Polanco, within Mexico City's Miguel Hidalgo borough, is known as a high-end area home to many of the wealthy and influential. There is plenty of high-end shopping, a number
of embassies, and beautiful houses in the Colonial Californiano style. On Saturday mornings there is a big market with mostly produce, but also many food vendors and other random amenities. I immediate knew what I needed to eat - a gordita with nopales and chicharrón, basically a fried purple corn flour cake stuffed with cactus and pork rinds along with cheese and some other things. It was less than a dollar and amazing. Alex grabbed us some horchatas and we continued meandering around looking at all of the ridiculously fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which I'd never seen before. There was also an avocado vendor with an enormous pig-shaped molcajete and the most incredible-looking guacamole. We ended up with guac, avocados, limes, nopales, flores de calabaza (squash blossoms), mamey (a super sweet almost creamy fruit), fennel, garlic, shallots, and maracuya (passionfruit) for a total of probably $5 or something ridiculous. On the way out we grabbed these red-colored chips people were eating, doused in fresh-squeezed lime juice and salsa. Pas mal.
The evening's plan was a casual double-decker Mardis Gras party bus from 7:30-midnight organized by Alex's U.S. embassy crew. We'd need provisions for the bus, and tequila
Eggs and meat!
Polanco Saturday market
with fresh watermelon juice seemed like a good idea. We ran into Ojo de Agua for fresh-squeezed/pressed/whatevered watermelon on-demand, then picked up some Victoria beers as well. We rested up a bit, had a snack, then ventured out to meet up with everyone along with Alex's embassy friend, Jason, who lives upstairs. What ensued was just ridiculousness. Everyone was decked out in purple, green, and gold and we were all given beads and masks. For the next ~4 hours we drove around the entire city blasting music, dancing on poles, and throwing beads and masks at people in the street and in traffic. At one point we even had a mariachi band come on board to serenade us in our stupor. Probably the most entertaining part of the evening was the fact that we had to dodge cables, branches, and traffic signs/signals the entire time - decapitation was always an imminent possibility! ¡Rama! (branch!) was screamed about every 20 seconds.
Once the bus was done we headed to the U.S. Marines' place for an after-party (casual) but it wasn't particularly bumping so we decided to eat again instead. Alex took us to El Farolito for some late-night tacos -
The delicious, creamy and sweet fruit I'd never tried before
I had some with chorizo and queso and then some with a mix of chicharrón and beef. Delicious even though Chris hated them due to his poor taste, so I had to eat his too. Trying to stay thin!
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