Company arrives to Mexico City - April 2012


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Published: June 16th 2012
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Jacaranda trees in bloomJacaranda trees in bloomJacaranda trees in bloom

Spring in Mexico City is when these trees are in full bloom. There are no leaves, they are covered in purple blossoms.
We had a day to rest up from our very early flight from Puerto Rico. We then prepared for the arrival of Gord and Rita, our Canadian friends. We took a slow cab (cabs in Mexico City are rarely slow, but this one was) to the airport to pick them up. There they were, patiently waiting for us to arrive. After taking an airport taxi back to the apartment, we visited and snacked until we couldn't anymore and headed off to bed.

Gordon was up bright and early. We brunched on fruit and coffee, and then took Toby, the dog we are sitting, for his morning walk. Gord and Rita explored the Condesa area with Toby and Maurice. Later we headed off to Taxco, a city 2 and a half hours away. We checked into Hotel Melendez, a quaint hotel where we'd stayed before. The view overlooked the city with its' array of red roofed houses climbing up the steep mountain side. We wandered about and found the Parroquilla restaurant. We were joined by a drunk local who was hoping that we would buy him a drink. This is a rare occurrence. We wandered the zocalo and a few of
White Knuckle RideWhite Knuckle RideWhite Knuckle Ride

Gord's cliff view out the open door on the highway to Grutas Cacahuamilpas
the nearby steep and narrow streets, once again in awe of the little white Beetle taxis maneuvering up and down the narrow cobblestone streets.

We were woken by the hotel staff who served us breakfast on Gord and Rita's patio. Perfect weather for that! We walked part way down the mountain to a local mini-van bus that took us to the Grutas (caves ) about 45 minutes away. Gord had a hair raising ride as the driver careened along the mountain side on route to the caves. The van door was wired open, there were no seat-belts and Gord hung on, white knuckled, to the flimsy rope attached to the back of driver and passenger seat. We toured the massive cave, noting the various images created by the dripping water and minerals from above. It was a muggy hike, about an hour in and 45 minutes out.

Once back outside, we grabbed a coco loco (tequila and coconut juice in a coconut), hailed a cab and headed back to Taxco and the tram. It took us to the top of the opposite mountain and the exclusive Hotel Montetaxco. We toured the area, then had to have a drink
Coco LocoCoco LocoCoco Loco

After the hike into the cave and back we refresh ourselves with coco loco
at the hotel while a torrential rain surrounded us. As the rain let up we headed back to the tram and into town to shop. Taxco is known for its silver. After almost purchasing jewelry we did NOT need we headed to the church in the zocalo. Here the guide told us that a wealthy Spaniard built it to give thanks for his good fortune in mining there. We learned that there was about 4 tonnes of gold painted onto the ornate carvings inside the massive church.

Next morning, we were woken by a knock on the door. The manager informed us that we had to get up and shower, as he had turned the hot water on early especially for us, and that breakfast would be served shortly. OK, we were up and so were Gord and Rita, scrambling to be ready to enjoy another fantastic breakfast on the patio with our glorious view. We shopped a little more, got some jewelry repairs done and bought some shoes. Then we headed down the mountain to the the bus depot and took a bus to Acapulco. It turned out to be the milk run and 5 and a half
Shopping for SilverShopping for SilverShopping for Silver

We were plied with tequila and almost purchased these fantastic pieces of jewelry.
hours later we arrived to the blistering heat and humidity of Acapulco. We checked into the Romano Palace, changed and went down to the beach just across the street. Beer appeared, as it usually does, and we wandered along the beach, up to and along the Malecon. We joined 2 French Canadians who were sipping mugs of beer served from tall tubes that hold 3 or 4 liters. Gord was in his glory! He was the shopping KING as we strolled/shopped at a market on the Malecon.

Gord and Rita made it through the loud night. Our hotel rooms were just above 3 nightclubs that partied well into the night. Gord went out for coffee and got side tracked by shopping. He eventually arrived with coffee and a smile as big as the sea. I found the market prices a little high but that didn't stop Gord from blowing a lot of pesos. He really liked to barter and the locals there in Acapulco did too. We had a beer break and headed to another market. Then it was ocean time. The ocean was red flagged and very rough. We did manage to find one area where we could
Church in TaxcoChurch in TaxcoChurch in Taxco

We were told that there were 4 tonnes of gold painted on these ornate carvings
wallow and cool off. It was then time for dinner, and we wanted to sample a truly authentic Mexican restaurant versus the typical tourist type. A local put us in a cab and sent us off on a short drive to Buzo's for a seafood dinner. It was fantastic! I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in Acapulco. After our meal, we decided to stroll back to the hotel. On our way, we encountered a local soccer game being played in a small enclosed area. Gord was in heaven! He is actively involved as a referee on a provincial basis back home, and repeatedly mentioned "this was what soccer is all about"! We got back to the hotel and enjoyed a night cap before heading off to bed. The music seemed even louder that the night before!!!!

In the morning, we went down to the pool for coffee and some sun before it got too hot. Gord went off alone, the great white shopper, and Rita and I went looking for specific items for family and friends. We discovered the hotel next to ours had a fantastic brunch so we ate there. We then piled into a cab and
Romano Palace, AcapulcoRomano Palace, AcapulcoRomano Palace, Acapulco

Our room in the Romano Palace. King size beds and lots of room for company. Luckily, our rooms had good air conditioning because it was SO hot.
were taken to Pie de la Cuesta, a small town just outside of Acapulco. The place is situated on a peninsula with a fresh water lake on one side and the ocean on the other. We checked into the Nirvana Hotel, changed and walked along the beach. The ocean was boiling! The thunderous waves rolled and crashed all along the beach. The owner of hotel told us that he had never seen anything like that in the 17 years that he had been there. We did not go in the ocean! Rather, we enjoyed our pool and the beer from the cooler. This place works on the honor system. Take a drink and mark it down. At the end of your stay they tally everything up and you just pay the total .... In cash. After enough pool time we dressed and headed out to Tres Maria for a fine dinner. We watched as the locals took down palapas due to the very high water level and pounding waves. This is normally a very calm quiet beach. The night was spent wondering if the waves were going to knock our building down. The concrete buildings shook and rocked as the
Deck/pool area of Romano PalaceDeck/pool area of Romano PalaceDeck/pool area of Romano Palace

We hit the deck and pool before it got too hot. What a great view.
pounding waves came in.

We were all in one piece the next morning. First we enjoyed breakfast under the palapa with lots of great coffee, then took a long walk along the beach, and finally cooled off in the pool. We then showered and headed to the bus depot. We had a quick local lunch and then boarded the bus that took us back to Mexico City. We arrived around 7PM, early enough to catch an uncrowded metro back to our apartment. We went to my favorite taco place, El Kaliman, where we enjoyed tacos while watching soccer.

Next morning, the time here in Mexico advanced, so we were now an hour ahead of Saskatchewan. We headed off via metro, then metro-rail to Xochimilco where boats are poled through the various canals of that area. The boats are large and colorful. The polers/drivers are strong and aggressive as they push other boats aside to progress down the canals and back. Sundays are particularly busy with families and large groups out to enjoy the weather and company. The mariachi bands were playing and the micheladas flowing!

From the boats we caught a cab to the train that took
Glorious surroundingsGlorious surroundingsGlorious surroundings

The restaurant next door served up a great brunch at a good price, in terrific surroundings with super service.
us to Azteca Stadium and a premier league soccer game. Gord, the shopping fiend, went off in search of yet another Bimbo/Corona jersey with Maurice in tow to translate and protect if necessary, leaving Rita and I to wait. We were very good at it for a while but then decided that the boys could meet us at our seats. We had dispersed the tickets before hand so we felt that we would be OK. We entered the massive stadium only to find ourselves very confused. We climbed the ramp to the top level of the stadium. Here we discovered that the whole top level was rush seating! What to do? So we just climbed to the top near the centre line and sat down for a beer. After arriving about 6 rows from the very top, Rita sat and shared with me that she was afraid of heights. Having a drink might help, but that would likely mean a necessary trip to the bathroom at some point and she would not climb down 50 rows to do that until the very end of the game. Meanwhile, the boys realized the same thing about the seating. After finding seats, Gord
Buzo's RestaurantBuzo's RestaurantBuzo's Restaurant

A local restaurant off the main drag with great seafood.
proceeded to watch the game while Maurice went in search of the girls AND he found us in no time! Good thing Maurice wasn't wearing a jersey as he just would not have stood out and we wouldn't have noticed him in this 105,000 seat stadium. We were so high we couldn't even see the massive numbers on the score board, but we could see the ant sized players and all their plays. Leaving the stadium was interesting as well. Just backtrack, right? NOT! We crossed the massive parking lot a few times trying to find the combi (minibus) that would get us to the metro and then home. We ended us walking to the train, riding it for some time, getting onto the metro and finally arrived to the apartment famished.

The next morning another earthquake hit Oaxaca state, about 6 hours away. Gord and I felt some movement but not Maurice or Rita who were moving around in the kitchen. Being a Monday, we thought it would be a good day to visit the zocalo area. We saw the enormous cathedral, walked by the ruins near the cathedral (on Monday all public tourist sites are closed), bought
Pie de la CuestaPie de la CuestaPie de la Cuesta

The boiling ocean with thunderous waves. We did not go in the ocean.
some perfume from one of the many perfume shops, and then went to the top of the Latin American building for a birds eye, 360 degree view of the city. While enjoying a cool drink, we watched a hundred pound taco pastor being changed by 3 men, then stopped to watch a mime where Gord got his picture taken by and with the mime and of course, more shopping to make Gord happy. After much walking we decided to head home to a meal of taco salad, drinks and ended the evening playing cards!

We slept in the next day and Gord was a little under the weather. We finally got moving and went to Chapultepec Castle, walking distance from our apartment. It was a long, hot wait to get into the castle. We wandered around with a guide and learned that this is the only Royal Castle in the Americas, as well as the only one in North America that was used to house sovereigns: the Mexican Emperor Maximilian I, and his consort, Empress Carlota. On the way home we stopped at the market for produce and to let Rita and Gord see what our street markets were
Hotel Nirvana's PoolHotel Nirvana's PoolHotel Nirvana's Pool

We got our share of water right here in the pool.
like. Vendors offer their produce for you to taste, there are items to purchase and they blab away in Spanish thinking they might convince you to buy something from them. Gord didn't really get into the shopping today. We were glad to get back to apartment to relax and cool off. Chicken mole was the menu for dinner that night.

Wednesday was Gord and Rita's last day. While our maid cleaned and did laundry we headed out to Teotihuacan, an enormous archaeological site about an hour away from our place. We took the metro to the north bus station, caught a local bus to the pyramids and arrived about an hour later. We got a guide to tour through the 25 square km site. Gord and Linda climbed the Pyramid of the Sun with the other thousand people or so and enjoyed the view of the surrounding area, touched the old marker centered on the top and enjoyed the dozens of butterflies that seem to always be around the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. Rita and Maurice wandered over to the Pyramid of the Moon, and later we met them for some final shopping. We had another
Hammock made for 2Hammock made for 2Hammock made for 2

Outside our rooms we could lounge and read in our hammocks.
stay home meal of ribs, fresh vegetables and other stuff. Gord and Rita packed and then we visited until late while emptying several bottles of various liquors.

Next morning, 5:15AM, the cab driver rang the doorbell and Gord and Rita bade us a fond farewell and headed to the airport. We took the rest of the day to relax, tended to Toby (who has become Linda's shadow), Linda got her nails done, we both got hair cuts (much cheaper here) and prepared for our trip home to Canada.

Saturday, April 7th saw us up at 4:30AM and off to the airport. From Mexico City we flew to Chicago and then on to Saskatoon, landing a half hour earlier than expected. Luckily, Aaron had checked on our flight and knew we were early, and was there to pick us up and drive us home. Then Linda's kids came over and welcomed us back to Canada, bringing beer and a few groceries. Whawho!


Additional photos below
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Azteca StadiumAzteca Stadium
Azteca Stadium

Gord in his glory at a premier league soccer game. The stadium holds 105,000 people.
The Beer VendorThe Beer Vendor
The Beer Vendor

This vendor climbed 50 stairs to bring us drinks. Each drink consisted of 2 beer (from bottles), poured into cups.
Azteca StadiumAzteca Stadium
Azteca Stadium

The screen was huge, yet the numbers couldn't be seen clearly. The players were ant size but we could see the plays. This what 45 000 people look like in this massive stadium.
Zocalo, Mexico CityZocalo, Mexico City
Zocalo, Mexico City

Every visit to Mexico needs a visit to the zocalo and the massive Cathedral built out of the blocks of the pyramids that existed before.
MatchingMatching
Matching

Gord and the Coke truck match. Yep, delivered by hand to the various restaurants in that vicinity.
Gord and the MimeGord and the Mime
Gord and the Mime

There were local buskers all along the avenue to the zocalo. Gord had his picture taken AND he looked just like the Twilight character.
Loading the PastorLoading the Pastor
Loading the Pastor

We enjoyed our beer while watching 3 men change the 100 pound pastor skewer.
Top of the Latin American buildingTop of the Latin American building
Top of the Latin American building

We got a birds eye view of the city from 37 floors up. See the mountains in the background. This city is situated in a bowl.
In front of the Belles Arts CentreIn front of the Belles Arts Centre
In front of the Belles Arts Centre

Gord liked the larger than life sculptures displayed outside the Belles Artes Building


17th June 2012

Hola
Sounds like you had a fun little vacation with your friends!! We are getting the travel itch again after reading your blog!! Like the sounds of the coco loco drink!! Isn't this Saskatchewan weather dreadful!! When we got home mid April we figured we would be back for the beautiful spring!! Ha ha. What are your plans for the summer?
17th June 2012

Great having enjoyed this already!
Brings back all kinds of wonderful memories!

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