Zocola


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North America » Mexico » Distrito Federal » Mexico City
September 19th 2018
Published: September 20th 2018
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Mexico City Historic Centre


We’re both pretty jetlagged and waking in a room which looks out into a void doesn’t help - we thought it was still the middle of the night but it turns out that there is a cover on top of the quadrangle we face on to - in fact it is 6am! They have promised us a room with a proper window today! Bit of a nuisance moving but we would prefer a room with a view!

We successfully make a Skype call to mum and dad. They are both fine although mum is missing me.

We decide to take it easy today as we are both tired. I am gagging for a cup of coffee so we take a wander in search of a cafe for breakfast. It’s 9am and nothing appears to be open other than street stalls selling bread/sandwiches/unhealthy snacks and some convenience stores. We find an Oxxo store with self service take away drinks and decide on vanilla cappuccino - yum. We breakfast back in our room on the uneaten packs of sandwiches fortunately not confiscated by Customs yesterday.

We are only 10 minuets walk from the zocola. This is the main square and also the historic centre of Mexico City. We head straight for the Temple Mayor, an ancient structure that was discovered by pure luck during the late 70’s. From the outside it doesn’t look much and there are viewing platforms all around the outside. Nevertheless we pay the entrance fee and go inside congratulating ourselves on not pre-booking on the internet ‘to avoid waiting in line’ - we are the only ones there!

A maze-like walkway with boards feeding us information in bite size chunks guides us around the complex and we soon discover that it much larger than imagined. We also stop to take some photos with ‘bear’ - my friend, who is one of my best blog fans and cannot travel due to health reasons, had begged me the bring ‘bear’ along on this trip...so how could we refuse? :-).

We arrive at the museum housing artefacts found on the site. Normally, not a huge museum fan, I am impressed! Far from being dusty-musty, this museum is ultra-modern and thoughtfully laid out. It‘s a pity that many of the exhibits are labelled in Spanish only but I suppose it means that Ian won’t be here all day :-) The array of finds is magnificent ranging from small offerings bought to the temple to large stone figures and murals. We begin with an impressive copy of the ‘skull wall’ which is in situ outside but not close enough to examine in detail.

Exiting the museum, we are approached by a young man clutching a bunch of papers. Once he establishes we don’t speak Spanish, he reverts to broken English. He is requesting our entrance ticket. It’s something to do with his college project which his tutor won’t accept without a ticket to prove that he has been there. Seems a bit odd as we are standing in the complex chatting to him so clearly he has been here and he is holding a ticket in his hand, though it looks different to ours. It’s a mystery but we let him have the ticket as we are leaving anyway. He thanks us and after a short chat about our visit and a recommendation to visit the adjoining district we go our separate ways.

Back in the zocola, the sun has broken through the clouds and it’s starting to warm up. We grab another take away cappacino from a 7-11 and enjoy it sitting outside Temple Mayor. Finding a bin to dispose of our cups is a challenge - not a bin in sight and the place is spotless. In the centre of the square stand three street cleaners with their carts...so problem solved!

Next to the Metropolitan Cathedral. It’s very ornate and a peaceful retreat. Again, no huge queues here and only one tour group which is circulating in the opposite direction to us so plenty of space to wander around and see everything at a leisurely pace. The guide book directs us to take special notice of the choir area - sadly it is closed even though we have arrived at the specified opening time. Never mind, we can admire it from afar :-)

We return to our hotel for our room change passing some kind of demonstration which is going on beside the zocola. People with placards and loud voices. A van stuffed with armed guards is watching nearby but no action is required at this point it would seem. We pass by on the opposite side of the road, just to be sure!

Back at the hotel. We are given a room on the same floor so the switch is easy. We have a huge superking size bed and a lovely big picture window facing onto the street. OK it’s not a fabulous view but I do like a room with natural daylight. :-) We have just finished unpacking when a clanging sound is heard. It is the ’earthquake drill’. Fortunately there was a notice about it in the lift so we are not alarmed. Pretty much the same as a fire drill - leave your room immediately, don’t use the lift, assemble outside in the street where buildings can fall on top of you in the street rather than inside. The drill is being conducted throughout the whole of the city so the street is packed. Five minutes later everyone files back inside - drill over.

It’s 2pm and we are feeling a little peckish. There’s a tourist joint serving omelettes but we decide to be a little more adventurous. We decided to check out a Mexican restaurant pinpointed on google maps but we are accosted by the owner of a local cafe before we can get there. It is packed with Mexicans which is always a good sign. The guy doesn’t speak much English and we don’t speak Spanish so this will be interesting. He thrusts a laminated sheet into our hands with four photos of meals along with prices ranging from 50-65 pesos, that’s £2-3 - not bad! We both opt for enchilada mit polo - I’m pretty sure that is chicken and we know that an enchilada is a flour based dough thingy. You Americans , he asks. No we reply...British. He looks at us oddly - United Kingdom, I say. Both he and everyone else in the cafe burst into loud peals of laughter - was it something I said? Our meal arrives covered in guacamole - it’s only slightly spicey, not chicken but delicious nevertheless.

Back at the hotel we had planned a relaxing afternoon followed by dinner but I fall asleep and don’t wake till gone 7. Neither of us is hungry after our late lunch and it now hammering down with rain outside so we opt for an early night and back to zizz!


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