Up real early this morning to a cold grey day. We are heading in to see some of the Mexican capital. Our supplies are running low so we did without porridge for breakfast, having granola and papaya instead.
Getting all six of us into a wee VW Polo taxi from the camp site to the bus station, was a challenge. The bus into the city was interesting. It was a Scania but it has probably done a couple of million k’s and there was hardly a sq cm of uncracked windscreen or a straight panel on it. The countless ad hoc housing on the hillsides, some painted pink and others blue made a mosaic.
The Metro is right opposite the bus terminal and fantastic value for money. About 25NZ cents gets you anywhere in, or around the city, provided you don’t exit anywhere.
The Metro rolling stock is also interesting. Carriages are supported and driven by rubber tired wheels. The flat, wide steel track they run on are grooved to provide traction in any conditions. A spring loaded horizontal rolling wheel maintains electrical contact with an adjacent live rail. Maybe the maintenance costs are higher than steel wheels, but rubber tyres allow a quieter, softer ride? I recall seeing a similar traction system in parts of both Paris & Moscow. I can see the girls rolling their eyes..;).
It’s a European looking city. Beautiful buildings with classic architecture but it’s a Latin one too with the population reflecting many parts of the continent.
Our first objective was to visit the City’s Metropolitan Cathedral and square.
The cathedral is an impressive structure, built in several styles and over different periods. It’s impressive inside and out, but it’s sinking. There is a pendulum from a towering vaulted roof above that has tracked its movement over the several hundred years since it was built.
Mexico City was struck by a devastating earthquake in 1985, with over 5000 people killed and massive structural damage.
There were several cultural exhibitions of costume and dance going on in the square outside the cathedral but it was a relatively quiet scene compared with my last visit. Then, the square was alive with sights and sounds of of cultural diversity.
Wandering the streets we found every possible type of commerce collected in areas. Food, hardware, electronics, hair care, etc has it’s own street or shopping area. Nowhere regrettably, did we come across a section that displayed portable fridge/freezers.
The kids were great in the city and seemed to enjoy the atmosphere. They had their customary pic’s taken in the square within the city logo.
Lunch was forgettable, except for the lingering taste of chilli. Only 20pesos. The vendor who was fascinated by me, but couldn’t remember my name, or where I came from, after countless requests. Dispite claiming to be my best friend, was most distraught when his countless efforts to elicit a tip, where ignored..;) Not that there was any obligation to his memory.
At around 3pm Tim, Sarah and family had decided to return to the camp. We opted for a very nice, but reasonably priced hotel in the middle of the city, to further our exploration tomorrow. After saying our goodbyes we collapsed on the bed, exhausted by the walking. Altitude, saps your energy. Surfacing around 6pm a nearby restaurant provided a so-so meal, again, very cheap.