Days 18, 19, 20
So we finally arrived in Mexico City at about 12pm. With my big 85L pack (next time I travel I’m downsizing to like half the size – the pack is bigger than me!) we storm around the airport trying to find a Citibank/Banamex to get out some much needed pesos (Mexican currency) to pay for our train ride. Having no internet we also have no idea which train line to get on and which stop to get off. Rock up at the information counter, unfortunately though the employee only speaks Spanish. Having a stellar memory as I do I remember that the suburb we are staying at is close to La Condesa and Roma, so I tell the guy with a Spanish accent that I want to go there and he hands me a railway map and circles the train stop Sevilla – luck be have it it’s exactly the train station I need which is a block away from our AirBnB – now am I good at direction or am I good? Haha We decide to have lunch at the airport because a restaurant has free wifi – I order the cheapest soup on special because I’m a cheapskate. After a couple of minutes I notice that our table did not get bread, so I try to tell our waitress that we want bread but she doesn’t understand English, so I get out google translate and get my English translated to Spanish, shortly after she brings us some bread – poor service but hey, google translate is at least handy!
We make our way down to the train station, costs 5 peso to catch the train one way, this is like 40 cents in Australian money. We get quite a few stares, probably because Declan is so tall and I’m this tiny person with a huge red backpack on – we must look quite ridiculous. The Mexican railway system is quite easy to use, the lines all have pictures on them to show the stops so it makes it extremely easy to understand – we even had to change lines which was easy enough to understand as well! We eventually get to Sevilla and a Mexican man points us to the right direction to Hamburgo Street. It’s about 5pm and the street stalls are alive with cooking tacos and other Mexican foods. Since it’s late Declan picks up some mini tacos from the local taco restaurant which was delicious! If you think you’ve had Mexican food in Western culture then you are completely wrong! Real Mexican food is much nicer and smaller portions – I don’t think I can ever eat Westernised Mexican food again!
The next 3 days we try to see as much of Mexico City as we can. Every morning we stop by the local fruit stand outside our train station and order this huge container of fruit salad topped with natural yoghurt and granola – only for $1.50 US! Spectacular deal! The shop owner even knew our order because we became regulars. Similarly the local taco stand also enjoyed our presence where Declan had become one of the ‘hombres’. The waiter there even practiced more English with us as he tried out his limited English.
Our first day we went to Chapaultec Park to go to the Museum of Anthropology to see Mexican history and Aztec artifacts – it was the first time in my life that I had seen such a large display of Aztec ruins, weapons and ornaments, quite spectacular – I would highly recommend the Museum which costs about $4 US for entry. We also hired a paddle boat for a hour and paddled around a lake and sat at a local street restaurant for lunch.
Our second day was quite busy! We headed to Merced market to check out local fruit and veggie prices! Fruit and veg literally costs a 10th here in Mexico than it does back home! The chicken however sits out in the open air and is not refrigerated – I have however not gotten sick from Mexican chicken yet so I guess the refrigeration doesn’t matter as much as long as it’s cooked properly. We continued our day by travelling to Mercado la Ciudadela, an artesians market with lots of arts and crafts. Having no peso on me we walked around for a bit musing at this and that and deciding what we wanted to buy. We quickly grabbed more mini tacos at the local street stand before heading back into the market to buy what we fancied. Picked up 3 leather bags, a huge onyx chess set, an onyx elephant, 2 onyx Aztec statues, a beautiful tiled mirror, a tiled wooden box and a set of earrings – all for less than $100 US! I would’ve loved to pick up some more local pottery and ceramics – the teapots and mugs with their blue patterns were quite beautiful but unfortunately we did not have time. We headed off to Zocalo, which is the downtown of Mexico City to check out the Plaza de la Constitution (big square), Cathederal and the National palace. The architecture was stunning! In true Mexico City fashion though it started to piss down with rain so we sought coverage under a local shop. The restaurant we wanted to go to was 5 blocks down so we ran down the street, getting absolutely drenched, made a mandatory stop over at this premium ice cream store to empty our shoes of water and then kept running to the restaurant where we sat next to the heater to dry off.
Since our flight changed we didn’t really have enough time to explore Mexico City as much as we would’ve liked, it’s definitely back on my list of places to visit again in the future as I believe it’s a city with much more to offer!
- did not once feel unsafe in this city, police make themselves quite known
- fruit salad for breakfast was delicious
- I love authentic Mexican food even if it is a tad spicy
- having no phone/wifi can be a bit hard sometimes but nice not to rely on it too much
- Mexicans love their Coke
- Mosquitos can be pretty bad here
- Most people don’t speak English
- Street stands are everywhere that sell their food for a really cheap price…just the way I like it!