Its been awhile since we last posted about taking Spanish classes in Guanajuato. Since then we’ve actually made it all the way to the Yucatan (with no service in Isla Blanca – therefore no blog posts!), and are currently driving west again towards Oaxaca to finish out Mexico. Before heading to the coast of Yucatan we made a couple more stops in cities in central Mexico, most notably, Mexico City (also known as DF – Distrito Federal).
DF boasts a population of 9 million (with the greater Mexico city having 21 million). I always thought that Mexico City would be like combining the amount of people and energy of Manhattan with the traffic and smog of LA, and the grit of a Mexican city. Boy was I wrong. What we actually found were that people are spread over numerous neighborhoods with low-lying buildings (imagine the 2-4 story buildings of San Francisco), and each neighborhood had its own feel and character, and felt oddly tranquil.
We made a bold decision to drive Titus into Mexico City and try to find a parking garage for the week (as opposed parking outside at Teotehicaun and busing in). We paid for this in two ways:
- We got pulled over by police entering the city for having a GPS device in our window. It was a classic Mexican shake-down for money and we tried to pull the “we will go to the station and take our ticket please” but at the end of the day we caved and gave the cop $20 to let us go. We are going to work on our approach for next time – as we are sure there will be a next time that we get shaken down for cash.
- Titus is just too darn tall for most parking garages. We were VERY lucky that we had found an awesome AirBnb in Colonial Roma with 24 hour security. 50 pesos a day bought us some eyes for Titus as he was parked… on the street…in Mexico City…for SIX DAYS!
Colonial Roma was such a fantastic neighborhood to “live” in for a week. We spent a good amount of time eating in the amazing restaurants, cafes, and comida joints (50 peso lunch which is really the biggest meal of the day for most Mexicans). What was so cool was that each neighborhood was dotted with places to eat in between the cute houses, especially around Roma and Condesa. Our favorite restaurant experiences were Cassius (for late-night dinner and great cocktails) and Contramar (for the big late lunch).
I was also getting pretty shaggy and in desperate need of a haircut; however, I was nervous about explaining what I wanted in Spanish (or more importantly what I didn’t want). This great hipster spot was a few blocks away from where we were staying and after walking by numerous times I got up the courage to walk in. I walked out with the most amazing haircut (and neck massage) for about $35!
Of course we spent a good amount of time visiting the tourist sites. We took the Metro down to the Zocalo (historic center) and spent some time viewing many of Diego Rivera and other famous muralists in the Palacio Nacional (the presidential palace) and the Palacio de Belles Artes, as well as a stop in the Cathedral Metropolitana.
Also managed to make it to the Anthropology museum, which had quite an expansive collection of Aztec and Mayan artifacts.
On the walk back from the museum in Chapultepec Park, we came across a rally for the missing 43 students that disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero back in September. While Mexico City is quite safe and feels like such a progressive and liberal city, it was a stark reminder of the problems that Mexico as a nation still faces with corruption and narco/cartel presence.
Before leaving DF, George was adamant that we MUST go to a proper futbol/soccer game (you can probably hear George going, “Jenine, Jenine, Jenine, Jenine…”). It was such a cool idea and Club America in Mexico City is the top team in Mexico. The stadium was massive (holds over 100,000 people) and even though it wasn’t a major game for Club America versus Leon, it was so impressive how the hardcore fan section stood and sang team chants the ENTIRE game. Diehard fans. And since it wasn’t too crowded we got a great view of the action. We had so much fun, that more futbol games are definitely on the agenda for future countries we visit.
We really loved Mexico City! Check out more photos of our time in DF and San Miguel Allende: