This rich and exotic city was the first stop on my year-long adventure. Mexico City is really, really big. From my aeroplane window, it stretched out below me, sprawling to the horizon in every direction. It's also a really friendly place, with locals that are always happy to give directions (which is great if you can understand what they're saying!), or to just drop what they're doing and to join you for a beer.
After a month of Mexican hostels, I'm more certain than ever that Amigo is the best damn hostel in the country, and it was great to return and to spend one last night here. I didn't do anything much for my final night in Mexico; just hung out at Amigo, and had some drinks with the other folks staying there. Also had a little reunion with Alan, who has returned from his volcanic expedition, and who's going back home to England soon.
Saw some interesting stuff on the bus from Oaxaca back to Mexico City today. The road is beautiful: is passes through sharp, jagged mountains; and in some places, there are delicate cactus plants in every direction, as far as the eye can see. But the road is also treacherous, as it winds its way through the harsh landscape: we passed several roadside accidents, including a truck that had completely rolled over and off the road. For beauty's sake, and for safety's sake, I'm glad I took this road in the daytime.
Two crazy Danish girls grabbed three unsuspecting guys from the hostel (one of whom was me), and took us to the crazy bar called Cabaré Tito, in Mexico City's Zona Rosa district.
Only in Cabaré Tito can you watch a transsexual singer performing live. It's that kind of place. The performance was disturbing, to say the least.
At one of the market stalls in Teotihuacan, we saw a souvenir of particularly — and amusingly! — poor workmanship: a little world globe that was upside-down. It was quite weird to look at.
I guess Australia ain't the land Down Under any more!
On the way to Teotihuacan, we stopped at a little tourist house, and tried some shots of home-made tequila and mezcal. These drinks aren't nearly as strong as the usual variations that you find in bars, but they taste much better!
These drinks are mixed with almonds and honey, among other things. The result is sensational.
Booked myself in for a full-day tour of Teotihuacan today. The tour included an early start of 9am, from the hostel's front door (which I was late for); a tour of Tlatelolco, the ruins of ancient Tenochtitlan, inside Mexico City; a trip to the Lady of Guadaloupe, the largest church (and a collection of several churches) in Latin America; and a trip to the archaeological site of ancient and majestic Teotihuacan itself.
A group of 8 of us from the hostel went out to see a Mariachi band tonight. Entry was free: they were counting on making up for this by selling us plenty of Corona, and that they did do!
The Mariachi is the quintessential, stereotypical Mexican entertainment. A bunch of señores, all wearing their fancy suits (with their metal-adorned pants) and big sombreros. Playing guitars, trumpets, and violins, and singing old-skool Spanish love songs in operatic voices.
Not sure exactly what they were — kind of a big round taco, covered in meat and fish, and salad and salsa. Anyway, I got one of these in the street for just 8 pesos, near Hostel Amigo, and I gotta say it tasted superb, and it was easily enough to fill me up for lunch!
Since this is the first youth hostel I've ever stayed at, I'm not really qualified to comment on how good it is. However, from what I've heard about youth hostels, I had pretty low expectations; and Hostel Amigo easily surpassed those expectations.
Mexico City has an excellent underground train system — one that reminds me very much of Paris's metro. I first caught the metro late at night (on my first night here, with Jackie), and there were few people on the trains, and plenty of room to move about. This gave me the wrong idea as to what catching the metro would be like during the day!