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Travel Adventure - Backpacking Latin America's Gringo Trail Backpacking Latin America starting in Cuba, then travelling from East to the west coast of Mexico before making our through Central and finishing in South America.

Stopover in Mexico City

MEXICO | Monday, 8 June 2015 | Views [524]

We arrived in Mexico City after over 24hrs flying from leaving Sydney and no sleep. Getting off the plane I was pretty keen to get straight to our hostel. Without knowing much Spanish or where we were going we decided to pay a little extra for a cab instead of trying to figure out the metro system. Hostel was good, guy at desk friendly and helpful. Basic 6 bed dorm but had private bathroom and chilled by ourselves as other people were out and freshened up with shower etc. Went out to get some dinner and there were masses of police around, apparently there to keep protests at bay as there was a political election coming up. We didn't witness any protests or riots in our stay. Walked along street in search of a taco stand to try some street food. We tried to use a couple of Spanish words to ask for vegetarian options , the reply was no (i dont think he understood what i meant) but a local next to me pointed at the mushroom and potato dishes hot on the tray and said vegetariano' and nodded. Gracias i replied and we resorted to pointing at what we wanted instead. We obviously have a long way to go on our Spanish. It cost around $5 for 4 tacos between us and they were delicious. We stood at the stand eating our tacos with the locals then walked a short distance back to our hostel. As daylight started to fall and we did stand out as gringos amongst the Mexicans I started to feel slightly unsafe thinking about all the stories id heard about being dangerous but as there were many people about and I was with Matt it was fine.

Mexico City is a huge city and busy with people, being the most populated in the world. Although I did think it would be more hectic considering, imagining the rush of New York streets but i guess Mexico City is quite spread out to the bottoms of the surrounding mountains where all the slums are. It appears quite dirty and run down, with a grey haze hovering above the sky, assuming this would be due to pollution. Getting on and off the metro was a bit of a challenge, hot sweaty and lots of people who just push their way through and you just need to do the same back otherwise you would get no where.
The next day we ate our free hostel breakfast consisting of toast, orange and a cheese quesadilla. Not too bad for being free and saving our pesos! Feeling much less tired than yesterday, although our sleep would have been a bit better without one traveller sleeping in our room throwing up and waking everyone up half way through the night. One too many tequilas for him! We were ready to have a day exploring the city. We met a Mexican in our hostel who was born and raised in San Diego and going with a group of people to the Frida museum. This was something I wanted to check out so we went with the American, a girl from New York, a guy from the Netherlands and two girls from Colombia to visit the museum. It was lucky we met them because 3 of them spoke fluent Spanish and I think we would have struggled with directions etc. otherwise. I really liked the Frida museum. It was her house she lived with her husband Diego and since they passed has now been turned in to a museum with lots of her possessions remaining there. A brightly coloured Mexican home which was very beautiful in a nicer part of Mexico City. Her famous artworks and self portraits hung on the walls and you could walk through her bedroom, kitchen etc and see her bohemian/folk art style adorning the home. I learnt a little bit more of this talented woman who was disabled from polio when she was 6 and in a wheelchair from a bus accident at 18 and used her painting as a way of expressing her emotions and desire of freedom and maternity.  It was inspiring to get a glimpse into the life of this  Mexican woman who we recognise with the mono brow and colourful clothing and is the epitome of Mexican folk art.
Next we went on a boat ride through canals that ran through the city. This wouldn't have been something we would have opted to do to see Mexico City but were with the group and just went along with them. Apparently Mexico City was built on canals when it was originally established and people still live this way on the canals. We bought a couple of cervezas and got on a colourful boat as the driver steered usaround with his oar. As we went along there were people having parties, Mariachi bands and people singing. 
We had a slight challenge with our travel money cards but fixed it up when we got back to the hostel. We were meant to go the Mexican wrestling with the people from our hostel but by the time we got home it was late so Matt and I went back to the same taco stand we ate at the night before for dinner before packing our things together ready to board our flight to Cuba the next day. 
Mexico City isn't a place I'd rush back to but it was good to see Mexico's capital and spend a day checking it out as our stop over.

Tags: art, busy, city, frida, mexico, mexicocity, tacos



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