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Published: August 19th 2007
Views from the rooftop
This is some of what we can see from the roof of our hostel.
Tuesday, 14th August
Today was a day of travel. After a good night's sleep we were up and about by 6am. Whilst the sheets were being washed and dried we had our last breakfast in SF and Judy prepared a few rounds of sandwiches before we left as you have to pay $5 for a mediocre round on the plane! The transfer bus picked us up as arranged, getting us to the airport in plenty of time. Here we joined a short queue for check in. By the time we finally got through, this line had more than quadrupled in length-American Airlines are so slow!
We were both sad to leave San Francisco as once again, we have found this to be a lively, fun city with lots to do and see.
By the time we arrived in Mexico City, after almost a 3 hour stopover in Fort Worth, Dallas it was about 10pm and we were both tired. We had a 30 minute wait for the taxi our hostel sent for us. Our first look at the room left us disinclined to stay the 5 nights we had planned as the bathroom smelt of mould but as we were tired
Another view from the rooftop
As you can see we had a lovely rooftop view.
we both crashed.
Wednesday 15th August
We awoke to people talking and made our way up to the roof as this was where breakfast was served. This was quite impressive for an included breakfast and included cereal, refried beans, ham and egg and various tropical fruits. We started to think more postively about the place! They also offered free walking tours of the city leaving at 10am so we decided to stay another night rather than rush out to look for other accommodation. We set off on the walking tour with over a dozen other tourists. The guide's English wasn't the best but he really seemed to know his stuff and led us to all the main attractions, explaining the murals and history of each place. He left us some way from our hostel and we set out to look for an ATM as we hadn't yet put any pesos in our pockets. There weren't many but we found one and to our surprise the queue stretched out into the street!
With pesos in our pocket we looked for something to eat and Judy needed a restroom! We saw a cafe called Sanborne's and Judy recalled reading that
This building has remained like this since the earthquake in 1985.
these had restrooms so we decided to eat here.
A fairly plain meal followed but with more than a hint of chilli. We did the usual and ordered something different each, ate half and then swapped! We had ordered a comida or set meal so the woman came and offered us something else, Judy recognised negro and thought that meant black coffee we ordered that for Rags and Judy siad she'd have tea, however although Rags did get his black coffee Judy ended up with a jelly and custard dish served in a long glass. We shared this and laughed!
After this we headed back to our room as, according to Rags Judy was starting to get grumpy! When we got back Judy did collapse on the bed and sleep as she really was exhausted! Rags went up to the roof to read and use the free Internet. Nobody is writing to us and the share market is doing such horrible things we don't want to know!
After a shower we both felt refreshed and tought we'd soak up the atmosphere outside. We wandered straight out into the street markets and wandered throught these. Thes just went on
Palacio of Bellas Artes
We saw many beautiful buildings on our walking tour that ended here.
and on and seemd like a lot of junk to us! There were coloured pencils, little bags, cheap jewelry, jeans, t-shirts, artificial flowers, bateries, video recordings, music, hats and sunglasses. It seems aimed pretty much at thelocal market- we think the children are just aboutto go back to school. How they make a living is beyond us! But there are 22 million people in Mexico City which equals that in all of Australia.
There aren't many local restaurants that we can find but we ate at aother westernsied type restaurant, not many people and very plain food. Rags made the waitress very happy by leaving a $US2 dollar tip. As we paid the bill we looked to see her picking this up and showing it to someone lese with a very wide grin on her face. She caught Rags eyes and smiled widely.
Back at the hostel we went up to the roof and enjoyed some local Mexcan beers. We sat with a couple from the centre of Germany who were travelling next down to Peru so we were able to give them some hints for their trip.
Thursday, 16th August
We enjoyed breakfast with an
A view looking across the busy Zocalo (main square) toward the cathedral.
Australian doctor born in Perth but working in Queensland until she started travelling and a Dutch girl working in health industry who has just finished a 6 months spanish course in Madrid for and is on her way home to Netherlands.
Joining ten others we climbed into a 14 seater bus for a trip to Teotihuacan. We discovered that out of twelve there were 5 Australians, an Irish couple, Lisa and Conal, a German woman named Beirka, and 4 Canadian and English. We also had a driver and a guide.
Our first stop was Tlatelco, Plaza of the Three Cultures. Here, from one spot we could see the Aztec pyramid ruins, the 17th century Spanish Templo de Santiago and so called modern apartment development. It was from the roof of the latter that Mexican soldiers slaughtered protesting university students in the square below only 10 days prior to the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico City. The guide told us how this information was censored from the rest of the world until after the games.
The Basilica de Guadalupe was our next stop. Here we heard the story of Guadalupe and how she was the impetus for
Tlatelco, Plaza of the Three Cultures
Here you can see the Aztec pyramid ruins, the 17th century Spanish Templo de Santiago and so called modern apartment development at this historic site.
the conversion of many Mexicans to the Catholic faith. She is considered the equivalent to the Virgin Mary amongst Mexican Catholics. We walked through the new and the old churches on this site, the old slowly sinkng into the soft subsoil. Engineers from Pisa have been consulted about this problem but as yet with no success. We spent sometime wandering around the beautiful gardens and admiring the view from the hilltop where there is another small chapel.
On the way to our next stop we heard a loud bang and the rear tyre deflated. Luckily there was an off ramp into a service station just ahead so we pulled in for repairs. After considerable time giving us all a chance to purchase refreshments at the service station shop we were on our way again. Within the first 100 metres it was obvious that there was still something wrong with the rear wheel as it was bumping and shuddering. We limped along for about 5 km before pulling to the side of the road. Rags saw the problem immediately, the wheel had not been centred properly on the hub and this had caused damage to the rim so that it
Basilica de Guadalupe
Once again the new and the old, side by side. The old slowly sinking.
couldn't be tightened correctly. After watching the fruitless attempts of the driver to rectify this Rags lost patience and took over the repositioning of the wheel. Because of the damage this could only be done in a temporary way and the driver took his advice to drive slowly to the next destination where he could leave us to get the original tyre fixed.
First we were shown the attributes of the cactus plants. It was simply amazing that they can get so many products from this plant. The guide showed us how to get paper, food, alcohol and a needle and thread. He then showed us how to colour the thread with other plant matter. After a tasting of the alcohol products and obsidian carving demonstration we had the obligatory time to look in the shop. Little was sold to our tour group. Conal purchased a large Mexican hat which featured in quite a few of his photos later in the day.
Lunch was, well look at the picture and you can see what it looked like even if we can't tell you what it was! It was tasty. The driver purchase a beer for Rags to say
Basilica de Guadalupe and us
Another little chapel on this site - just to show we were there!
thank you for his help with the wheel.
Teotihuacan was only minutes away. It is the site of the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, Mexico's biggest ancient city and the capital of what was probably Mexico's largest pre-Hispanic empire. It was planned in the early part of the first century AD and completed over the next 600 years. It eventually collapsed in the 8th century AD. The 2 main attractions were the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. We could only climb half way up the Pyramid of the Moon as it was blocked off but it gave us an excellent view of the Pyramid of the Sun as you can see in the photo below.
Rags insisted on us climbing the Pyramid of the Sun. The steps were very high and narrow but it looked harder than it was and we both managed to get to the top along with a hundred other visitors.
After several hours of exploring we set off back to Mexico City, Judy dozing on the way back.
Friday 17th August
This morning was spent organising our bus trip to Oaxaca tomorrow. It was decided to get out
A flat tyre!
Lots of onlookers!
of the maddening throng so we boarded the Metro and went to the Zona Rosa area to have lunch. This was obviously a better class area and we saw many high class hotels and eating places, but it was also less hectic and we had a pleasant stroll.
Energy levels were low so we spent the afternoon relaxing and writing up our blog.
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