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Adios Australia - Ola Mexico City!!!

MEXICO | Friday, 22 March 2013 | Views [757]

My last day in Australia was reasonably uneventful but busy, after another night of basically zero sleep. I quickly got ready, did all the final packing and cleaning, got my final coffee from my favourite cafe and somehow was ready kinda early. Weird. As Ieft for the airport I had the first flutter of nerves and butterflies, as the moment of actually closing my apartment door, meant locking myself out and embarking on the journey ahead.  A walk to the train station, a few farewells to colleagues I ran into along the way and a short train ride later I was at the airport waiting to check in.  Turned out when I got to the check-in counter I actually thought for a minute I wasn't going to be getting on the plane as somehow no one told me that you DO need a visa for the states just to land there. So I stood off to the side of the check-in counter with the other naughty passengers who had done something wrong and applied for my ESTA visa on my trusty iPhone while the Chinese couple next to me tried desperately to compact their 6 suitcases (that seemed to be filled primarily with confectionary items) into fewer packs. I Wonder if they had to ditch the cadbury's the end?

Anyway, ESTA visa sorted, I gave myself a little pat on the back as I overcame the first hurdle of the holiday. It did however make me wonder what else I may have missed... Oh well - too late now, there were bound to be a few casualties when it was planned so late.

By that point I had wasted a fair bit of time so I didn't have long before boarding and as I made my way along the line I looked around at the other passengers wondering who I would be sitting with. A few of my more amorous friends had tried to convince me it was a must to join the mile high club while away and that I should search for any contenders in the line - mum, you'll be delighted to know there wasn't one.


I digress - this is something I do, expect more of it if continue reading my blogs, but back to the point. I found my seat and was seated second from the window, smack bang in the middle of the Hungarian Farter and American Dad. I never did get their names. They had a few 'discussions' between themselves about the politicking and power struggles between different countries in business but primarily it was the Farter asking lots of questions, Dad getting annoyed and me trying to stay out of it. Tip - headphones work wonders for this. The rest of the time the Hungarian slept, drank lots and farted lots. American Dad just watched movies while trying not to sleep and rolled his eyes at me about our flatulent friend.

During the flight I watched a few movies and tried to sleep but couldn't despite being ridiculously tired. Neither red wine nor bloody mary’s helped me in this plight.  I twisted and fidgeted and wiggled about like a kid with ADHD trying to make myself comfortable. I only ended up getting to sleep as the plane touched down. Awesome. Thanks body. You probably deserved that shoddy airplane food for that poor effort. Seriously, why don't you get it body? Close eyes... Wait... Wait... Sleep... That's all there is to it for normal people you crap body!

Another fun symptom that had been stopping me from sleeping was MASSIVE itchiness. In a weird way though no bites or a rash or anything, all of a sudden my skin is hypersensitive to the slightest touch so that even the lightest graze tickles. So basically to add to the manic wriggling I was also scratching constantly. Maybe I was more like a dog with fleas - but on that note no I do not have fleas but who knows though I might find some on my travels. (I looked into it and it turns out the itching is probably a symptom of having just had another Hepatitis A&B shot).

So next I followed the other passengers having happily separated from Dad and The Farter, to join a massive line to get through customs at Dallas Fort Worth Airport. There were a million people in the line and about 4 people manning desks. I also had the first of what will no doubt be many stomach aches as I was waiting for ages - thanks Qantas - your in-flight food was tops.

This line was where I spent the majority of my few hours in America - but I still had to go through a zillion security checks including getting full body scan, finger-printed, photographed, visa checked, etc, because they had to make sure I'm not a terrorist in case I'm super efficient and blow up their country in half an hour. The immigration guy looked at me rather oddly due to how little I currently resemble the long-haired blonde on my passport photo and asked excess questions to make sure I was who I said was before he finally stamped the page to say I could enter America.  

After FINALLY making it through the various checkpoints I basically went and sat for a bit before getting on the next plane. The next flight was very uneventful. Yet more wriggling and itching, a tiny bit of sleep and a lot of disapproving looks from the conservative man next to me over a few hours and we landed in Mexico. Finally. The adventure would begin! But no, not yet, more lines, more immigration documents, lots of waiting and a minor panic as the immigration form required me to fill in my ‘immigration card number’ - which I didn't have and was now wondering if there was another visa thing I hadn’t done. Luckily it wasn't relevant and they let me in to Mexico with little fanfare and no one to wait at the gate with flowers. Oh well. One day.


Bags in hand I headed on to find a cab and get to the hostel. I was deliriously tired by this point I’m glad I was with it enough to make this work. They have a rather odd taxi system but I somehow negotiated it and eventually got to the hostel after the driver got lost several times. Luckily the hostel was nice enough and the girls in my room seemed fine, so I found some food down the road, and crashed early, finally getting some sleep after almost 3 days running on empty.

At my first breakfast at the hostel I met a few nice people, alas a few of them were due to leave the hostel, but one nice young kiwi guy (Tom) had just arrived and was also travelling solo so we joined forces and decided to explore the city together.

Walking around was quite an experience. The hostel I’m in is right near the town square and is very central, but I have felt very safe here despite all of the warnings (don't worry I'm still keeping my wits about me but have been pleasantly surprised by how relaxed it is in amongst all the chaos). The streets are busy, with crazy traffic and loads of people, the sidewalks have vendors selling street food, clothes, magazines, phones and everything in between, and the smell reminds me of Koh Samui. Kind of a mix of rubbish dump and musty dampness. As you walk around the shopping areas Tom and I discovered there seemed to be different sections dedicated to specific goods, there was the balloon precinct, where all of the stores were overflowing with blown up party balloons, the wool precinct with balls of wool, ribbons and sewing goods, the bicycle district, the underwear district.. it goes on. Luckily these different areas sort of serve as markers to find your way.

We managed to wander around for quite a while, then finally got a taxi to the Museo De Antropologia. (We had tried in vain to figure out how to get there and eventually gave in).

The museum itself was pretty interesting but after having heard many rave reviews I was a little disappointed. Admittedly almost all of the written info was in Spanish so that didn’t help and I have had the luck of having ready access to many museums, galleries and the like in both Canberra and Sydney, so much of it felt like things I had seen before. We did however see the skeletal remains of Lucy, one of the most closely related beings they have found to humans as well as a full sized likeness of how they imagine she would have looked. Essentially the whole thing had a lot of jewellery, masks, bowls, pipes, statues, other bits and bobs as well as replicas depicting what different houses etc may have looked like. I feel uncultured to admit it was cool, but underwhelming but hey. You get that.

Next we wandered around more of the park surrounding the museum, and also ventured into the Zoo, something I was happy to find was free and quite entertaining. There were a few animals there that I haven’t seen before and it was nice and relaxing.

The next venture from there was to find a sim card for each of our phones (which we eventually got but discovered that credit is VERY expensive for internet etc and gets chewed up immediately), got a map - very handy, some delicious mango and made our way home. We successfully negotiated the subway with the help of a Mexican American guy on the train, paying about 30 cents for the joy, then managed to get quite lost finding our way back from the station to the hostel. We found it in the end though and both felt we had thoroughly deserved the meal waiting at the hostel.

After a few drinks with some more guests and staff at the hostel I was pretty ready to crash out - first day was a success!

Things I learned - even with my short darker hair the Mexican men really like me. They aren’t over the top about it like the Italians but I certainly get some attention. Having said that both Tom and I commented on the obvious lack of attractive Mexicans, so it kinda makes sense that us caucasians get some attention.

Mexico City feels a lot safer than I anticipated. A pleasant surprise.

Somehow while travelling I have the ability to get up early. Handy.

I write too much. Sorry about that. I'm about to have breakfast before heading off to the pyramid of the sun so no time to edit but next time I'll make it shorter!

Ciao for now!


Tags: airplane, anthropology, antopologia, mexico city, museum, tired


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