Where do I start? Well… I landed in Mexico City at 5:30am and took me about 4hrs to reach the hostel where I had a room booked for a few days. The signs are confusing and there is no free wifi in the airport. The first impression was not good at all. However, I reached the hostel and I was ready to sleep like a baby on their welcoming couches, after a tasteful breakfast. But no, that didn’t happen. Awake for 24hrs, I accepted the challenge of these few guys – to go and explore the pyramids. They seemed fun, so I said yes. And here I am, tired like hell, going out on a hike. I probably slept 10min on the 1h bumpy bus ride, and then another 15min on the way back in the same bus, 4hrs later. I definitely don’t regret it and I can now say I hiked up the 3rd largest pyramid in the world: Teotihuacan! It was not a small complex of ruins but I managed to stay awake by promising myself I’ll sleep the whole next day. There we met a Lebanese girl and his boyfriend, who were quite fun and completed our party now and then. Before crashing in my clean bed at HostelSuites DF, diner was in order. I filled up my belly with a big piece of delicious chicken with fries, some tacos and a big slice of chocolate mousse with beer, all for about $10 (US Dollars). I slept like a piece of wood!
Of course I woke up at 8am the next day so I don’t miss the breakfast, but I didn’t go back to sleep as I planned. The same guys “dragged” me to another day of walking and experiencing Mexico City. We went to see the most visited museum in Mexico: Museo Nacional de Antropologia. We thought a 2h window would be enough to explore the apparently boring museum, but it seems that once inside, the exhibits enchant you. If you resume to reading all the English labels and only those it might take you about 3hrs. If your Spanish is at my (poor) level of understanding and you skip some rooms or places, it will still take you about 3hrs as well. However, we didn’t rush it, so we ended up in a sunny afternoon, almost starving, walking around for a place to eat with decent prices (we decided that those taco stands nearby would simply not be enough). Once we got back at the hostel, the evening turned out to be really nice, with a bunch of interesting people telling their travel stories. With my almost 6 months down the road it seems I was among the ‘beginners’. However, I took a lot of notes and finally drafted a plan from here on – I know what I’d like to see. When and how? No idea yet.
But let me tell you a bit about Mexico City from my own perspective: huge city, hundreds of policemen everywhere, army forces controlling every bus, insane traffic (pretty much like India: watch your step or get run over), stands of warm food or fresh fruits every few meters and an overwhelming amount of street sellers, trying to make a living by selling useless stuff or CDs. Some were lucky to witness gunshots or people chased by the police, but I haven’t had this honor yet. So far, the city feels a lot safer than I expected, and also insanely cheap. 4 nights in a hostel for $50 with breakfast included, a trip with the subway just 5pesos ($0.30 / 8czk) and a decent meal/menu for about $10 or less. I am trying not to let myself spend too much just because it’s cheap, but the temptation is big.
For the third day I swore not to go anywhere and take care of my own stuff: getting a GSM sim card, finding a place to work/volunteer, write a bit online… well, that didn’t work out that well. By noon I had a Mexican phone number with internet (only $9 with unlimited data), and checked out the hostel I want to volunteer for a while. So.. what next? A couple of girls at the hostel were going out at noon to check the Frida Kahlo museum and I joined them. The museum was very nice, transmitting very well the artists’ feeling to the visitors, but probably not worth the whole $7.7 entry fee (the pesos sign is also “$”, but I use it only as USD to avoid any confusion). Here’s some of her art pieces. From there we walked to the subway but couldn’t miss a great pastry shop of a reasonable size selling a lot of fresh cakes and stuff for only 8pesos a piece. I will probably get fat, but I bought 5 of them. And then we went straight to the shopping mall to watch a movie: the last part of the hunger games (only $2.2 for a ticket in a comfy cineplex) – experience checked!
Today, fourth day in Ciudad de Mexico, I’ve been to the Chapultepec castle (and the History museum inside). I have to admit, Spanish is really useful, otherwise I wouldn’t know anything about their past. There was also a free zoo nearby, in Bosque de Chapultepec, but the animals were sad and bored. Not much time was spent there.
For the next days I plan to see Puebla, Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido, Cancun, Tulum and from there heading South to Belize. However, an attractive flight deal to Cuba might change my plans, but the prices start at $399 both ways.