While Marieke was probably shoveling snow somewhere in Trinity, having decided to brave the holidays at home this year, my sister Cheryl (who joined us last year in Sri Lanka) and I landed in Mexico City. Unfortunately, Cheryl’s bag did not. Looks like we were missing a bag and a travel buddy! Luckily, we had booked our hotel and were able to give that name and phone number so the airline could deliver it in 24 hours.
By this time, it was about 10pm at night, so we left the airport and headed for the metro, reasoning it wouldn’t be too busy at that time. We were right! One transfer 10 pesos ($0.75) each later, we hopped off about a block from our guesthouse. We got to the spot marked on our Google Maps and didn’t see anything looking like a guesthouse, and started to worry, as I remember the epic night Marieke’s bag was stolen AND the guesthouse had the incorrect Google Maps location, but it turns out this one was the right location, it was just very discrete! We rung the doorbell, were ushered up and quickly told we had booked for tomorrow night. Whoops! Luckily they had a smaller room (i.e. a smaller bed) which we were most grateful for, until we had a very restless night due to the two hour time change and the very small bed.
The next morning we headed off for the day, just managing to catch a free walking tour downtown at 11am. It was a great way to learn about the history of the city and country without having to read or go to a museum (Mexico City apparently has the second most museums in the world- Cheryl and I forced ourselves to go to one). More importantly, it provided us with tips on street food. I went with a sope, which is apparently a smaller version of huarache, which is basically corn tortilla, your choice of meat, and cheese, all grilled. Cheryl went for a quesadilla, basically the same, but thinner tortilla and wrapped up. Of course, this is most Mexican food for you, but hey, it’s delicious and cheap! Oh and we also learned about quincerias- elaborate celebrations (re: expensive) for females at age 15, including epic cakes!
We headed back to the hostel on the Metro, managing to beat rush hour (apparently from 3-9), before wandering around the colonial buildings of La Condesa and Roma to find a beer.
The next day we woke up to another wonderful breakfast, but no bags. Apparently the bag had arrived, but had not cleared customs. Knowing there was no point waiting around for it, we did my must-do for the city- Ciclovia! This was started in Bogota, Colombia, where the city shuts down kilometres upon kilometres of main streets to cars every Sunday morning, opening them up to people walking, cycling, rollerblading and exercise classes. The best part of the Mexico City version was the free bikes we could borrow! All it involved was handing our passports over to two teenagers by the side of the road….this was a real test- bikes or passport? We went for bikes. It was worth it as after three hours of riding into the downtown and back, we got them back safe and sound in exchange for the bikes.
We then decided to continue on foot to the largest park in the city- Chapultepec. This is where we did our first and only museum, the Anthropological museum, which was extremely well done, and vast. We managed two hours there before boredom set in, when we decided to walk some more (at this point we were averaging three hours a day) up a hill to the castle where some important person lived a long time ago (we were done with history at that point). But it was a gorgeous view and a great way to end the day!