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Sunday 12 Mar 2006
Mexico City, Mexico

First impressions of Mexico City

As mum well predicted, the flight over to Mexico City via Madrid was a royal pain in the butt (literally.. I had chronic back-pain around the tail bone through the whole flight).
The seats were tiny. There was no AC (this was Iberia by the way.. normally quite a respectable airline) and the 'movie' shown was some spanish soap opera running on constant fast-forward (I kid you not).

Thankfully the pain was soothed somewhat by the neck-pillow I brought along which kept my head relatively straight and crick-free!! Well I have another 12 hour flight to look forward to on the way back.

Jonny and I both got some sleep, and it proved to be sufficient enough to warrant us heading out on the town of Mex City as soon as we arrived...

Lemme tell you this: EVERYTHING you've heard about Mexico City is WRONG!

It's PERFECTLY SAFE and FRIENDLY.... as soon as we arrived, we decided to go searching for our hostel via the metro (which is a breeze to use also). No less than 20 people immediately came to our rescue (although at first we were lead slightly off track, which resulted in us going to the Ramada hotel to ask for directions!).
It seems that everywhere you go in Mex City, people are smiling.. not at all like the seedy violent overcrowded hangout it's made out to be by.. well ... everyone! They even manage to put up with our limited espanol (in my case SEVERLY limited).

The metro is great fun. Even during rush hour, there's plenty of space for a backpacker and his accessories ...in my case a WAY overloaded backpack (again! you think I'd learn from the rtw trip). You also get to sample some of the latest 'culture' thanks to the guys playing their cds on loudspeakers before going along the carriage asking for any buyers.

The first day we arrived at 7am and after reaching our hostel, we decided to stay awake till 9pm (at least) so we ventured forth into town.

I had on my list of places to see the Centro Historico. This is where the original Aztech capital of Tenochtitlan was based and you can still visit the temple which formed the capital's centrepoint.

Upon arriving in the CH, we were greeted with the amazing Catedral in the main square (apparently it's the 3rd largest city square in the world) and opposite that flies the humungous Mexican flag (easily 5 stories high) on a pole in the centre of the plaza. The detail on the Catedral is second to none and really captures the imagination of what it must have been like here in colonial times.

There was a daily ritual dance taking place in the square too by some mestizos (mixed indian and spanish blood) as there were dressed in full feathered headgear and bangles around their ankles and loud drums banged away. We went up close and it was pretty intimidating.

No surprise considering how violent the Aztechs were. On one occasion in the temple which adjoins this square, 20,000 prisoners were lined up 4 columns stretching for 3 miles each. Over the following 4 days, each prisoner was laid over the sacrificial stone and had his heart ripped out by a priest. Lovely stuff.. I even got pictures of the stone used for this very purpose. Mad.

The mestizos are the majority populace in Mexico, but even though it's not obvious, there are definate hints that racism exists here by the spanish-pureblood minority.

All the political ads, and even ads on the tv and metro feature only whites. Never would you see a mestizo.. or God forbid, a full indian!

That night we chilled out in the hostel.. had lotsa Sol beer and got some well earned rest.

Pete out.

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    Mexico City

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    Mexico City

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  • Toltec dancers

    Mexico City

    Mexico

    Toltec dancers