We landed in the smog filled Mexico City after a short flight of just two hours from Havana. We were very sad to have left Cuba but at the same time, we were excited to get back on the Taco Trail! We had already made contact with our Airbnb host who had suggested UBER as the cheapest and quickest way to reach them.
As we got off the plan, grabbed our bags and headed for immigration, we were taken through to a new part of immigration where everything was done via a little kiosk and took half the time, plus- no massive line like the other chumps were now standing in. We couldn’t believe the efficiency! A couple of touch screen questions at the passport scanners and your visa printed out for you all filled in with your passport photo! Were we really back in Mexico?! What was going on?!
We swiftly passed through and jumped in an Uber, before we knew it, we were in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour.
As it turns out, Mexico city is a bit like if London and Manilla had a baby and made a smoggy-chockablock with traffic-semi well off-cooperate-city baby.
We finally made it to our Airbnb and met Sam and her brother Juan. We hit a taqueria stand hard that night, I mean, we hit it really hard. The place we found was a stand up taqueria, it was amazing. There was a guy shaving meat for the al pastor tacos, his face was red from the heat, or possibly third degree burns. He was so skilled and has perfected it down to an art. They cook a small slab of pineapple at the top of the spit roast and he would use his machete like knife to flick a small piece of pineapple and he would then catch it in the small taco. We couldn’t breathe or speak through most of the meal because we had hit the salsa “MUY PICOSA” way too hard, twice.
We have no idea why, but we were a little unwell the next day, so we spent the day resting and then we spent the afternoon around the Canon repair centre, organising the lens repair that, may or may not have been dropped by Jess and stopped zooming since before Cuba. We essentially spent the next two days going back and forth to Canon which was a 30-40 minute Uber away in bumper to bumper traffic in the CBD region and was about as enjoyable as it sounds.
The city traffic really is insane, there are very few road signs or lights and people just merge all over the place; most of the time in a pretty calm fashion. If this was Australia, the main crime in Mexico City would be street brawls from road rage incidents.
Some Sort Of Cleansing @ Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitución)
The next day we moved into the historic centre for one night. We spent the morning picking up snacks and “school supplies” ready for our Spanish school in Guatemala which was only two weeks away. You seem to be able to get everything in Mexico City, it was like a capitalist haven after Cuba. Lines of shops full of lavish wedding dresses and outrageous quincenera dresses on every street. You could get everything and everything covered in diamantes. I needed sunglasses to even look through some of the windows.
We then spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the historic centre and the ruins which happen to be in the middle of the city. Even the MacDonald’s here looked like it was hundreds of years old- the building anyway that was appropriately era-matched (probably an obligation set by UNESCO).
Templo Mayor are a set of ruins that essentially was burried underneath a spanish cathedral, it was also the Spanish who were thought to have also destroyed the ruins. It wasn’t until 1978 when electricity workers happen to stumble across a huge eight tonne stone carving that the decision was made to demolish the colonial buildings above to uncover the Templo Mayor.
Aztec Performers @ Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitución)
In Aztec beliefs, Templo Mayor is thought to be the exact “middle of the earth” and is apparently thought to be the exact spot where the Aztecs first saw the symbolic eagle perched atop a cactus with a snake in it’s beak, the symbol of Mexico today and also featured on the flag.
We also happened to stumble across a group of locals performing in the street in traditional clothing with traditional drums. It was pretty amazing to see the costumes and how intricate they were.
That night we headed to a different type of performance, Lucha Libre or Mexican Wrestling. We ordered some half decent tickets without knowing entirely what we were in for. Well, firstly Alice’s camera was taken from us and put in a cloak room, then we were sat in front of the commentators, one of which was wearing a wrestling mask the whole night and had spectators coming up at every chance to take photos with him. Behind us sat five of the loudest women, cheering and wolf whistling for their favourites, screaming “¡VAMOS!” and other words of encouragement followed by them all cackling like school girls. After 3-4 hours of some pretty terrible acting, face smashing, body throwing, gravity defying adults throwing each other out of the ring and slamming into the barriers, it all came to a sudden end after one wrestler tried to rip off the mask of another. According to the crowd, the commentators and the other wrestlers, this was way out of line. It was an incredibly funny experience, and nothing of what we had expected.
Los Luchadores @ Lucha Libre
The next day we were picked up by Edgar our Uber driver, who looked very much like he wasn’t always “Edgar” but made for a very enjoyable half an hour uber as he/she told us about his/her other job moonlighting as an actor/impersonator/children’s entertainer. He was good chat that’s for sure.
We arrived at terminal Poniente and managed to get tickets straight away for the next bus to Zitacauro. We hopped straight on one of the poshest buses yet, where we received a bag with a muffin and a juice, what luxury!
That’s Not Real Rasslin @ Lucha Libre
No sad farewells leaving Mexico City, maybe because we knew we were coming back on Monday to collect the lens (hopefully) or maybe it was just too… dare we say it.. commercialised and “big city” after Cuba for us.
See you Monday Ciudad De Mexico.