Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mexico City

I patted Kobi on the head and sent him outside in the back.  Daren, Marcy and Beth had already arrived and he was able to get them covered with fur and stick his wet nose in their crotches.  All the baggage was loaded up in the Upchurches' truck and we were off.

Angel of Independence, Mexico City.
Our air flights had been set and then reset so we checked at the US Air counter to make sure all was well. Of course, because of the flight changes, the seats Linda and I had on the third leg of flights were all messed up. In usual form we were not able to change them through US Air, we would have to wait and change them through American Airlines when we hit Dallas.

Our flight paths lead us from Spokane to Phoenix, Phoenix to Dallas, and then Dallas to Mexico City. I felt like we had gotten an envelope from Phil and we were off on an episode of Amazing Race. To add to the Amazing Race feel, Marcy found that in Dallas, if we hurried, we might be able to make an earlier flight into Mexico City. When we got off the plane in Dallas we briskly walked to the gate of the earlier flight. As we arrived they were calling the last boarding call and the lady at the desk said that we could do it! She typed feverishly and just as they were about to close the doors she handed us boarding passes and told us to run. We hit the plane and found our seats but had to check three of our carry-ons due to no room. We were seated all over the plane but this early flight would get us in to Mexico City three hours early. Three hours would put us way ahead of all the other teams! Phil would be smiling.

Getting things ready at Casa Gonzales.
We landed, de-planed, went through immigration, found our bags and went through customs and popped out into the hustle of Mexico City. We crammed everything into a taxi and gave him the address of Casa Gonzales and we were off, into the largest city that I have ever experienced.  Traffic on a Saturday night was beyond belief but our driver followed his GPS and got right to the door in no time.

At the Casa we checked in and they offered to open the kitchen and make us some dinner.  We had tacos and drinks and then went off and settled into our rooms for the night.

Eco Bikes are everywhere for tourists to rent. 
Casa Gonzales resides about two blocks off Reforma, which is a major street in Mexico City.  We were located just blocks from the US Embassy, and several other consulates.

Crossing Reforma dropped us into the Zona Rosa (Pink District) which is the gay center of the city.  Turning north on Reforma and walking three blocks led us to one of the famous tourist icons, the Angel of Independence. (Google Map Here)

During the day's exploration we were able to move about these areas without fear of traffic because the city was having a major fun run/bike ride/bicycle race criterium. The entire area was blocked off to traffic and people of all likes were taking advantage of being able to move about without taking their life in their hands
We walked past the Angel to Chapultepec Park where we wandered the many pathways. At this point none of us wanted to spend too much time doing in-depth exploration so we passed on paying to get into the Museo Nacional de Historia located on Chapultepec Hill.

We rallied together and made a decision to venture into the Mexico City Metro system and ride the subway to find the Zócalo.

Riding the subway on Sunday in a city of 15 million was quite the experience.  We were able to figure out that we needed to get on the pink line and then transfer to the blue line where we were to exit right next to The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City. Linda and Marcy got in line and purchased our tickets. To enter the subway we had to pay 5 pesos, that’s less than fifty cents. 

Tickets in hand we flowed into the gates and popped out onto the platform where we were able to decipher the map and note the stop where we were to change trains.  The car doors opened and it was every fish for itself! We felt like salmon trying to get up the fish ladder as we moved against the current of people exiting the car. Once in, we gathered together and counted stops until we were sure that we had gotten to the blue line exit.
Finding the blue line was a bit of a confused mess but a nice gentleman noticed our perplexed faces and pointed us in the right direction, We eventually found the correct platform.

This platform was extremely crowded and when the doors opened people crushed in and out of the train.  Daren pulled Marcy in just as the entrance closed, the mechanical doors snapping shut twice on Marcy’s butt cheeks. They were in but we were stuck on the platform.
Communicating in hand gestures we signaled for them to wait for us at the final stop and we settled down to catch the next train.

Art displays, kind of like our Cd'A Moose program.
Everything went well and we ended up together at our final destination. We walked out of the subway exit and immediately were confronted by a spectacular view of The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico and the Zócalo. Once again the crush of people was amazing.

"I am the Frito Bandito..."
We walked the square around the Zócalo constantly being asked to buy something or to have lunch at “our” restaurant. At one point Daren and Marcy went to exchange money and Linda and I were left to fend off the restaurant hawkers as we stood by the side of the street. We were so inundated with these pests that we finally froze, not moving or blinking. It reminded us of the scene in Jurassic Park where the T-Rex was sniffing them and if the stood still they were safe. If we moved then we were swarmed upon by the restaurant hawkers.

We explored the Zócalo, which appeared to have a huge book fair going on.  We then swung over to the Presidential Palace where we were turned away because we didn’t bring our passports. I dropped the name Enrique, but that got us nowhere.

All of us were starting to feel the effects of the elevation in Mexico City so we dropped back into the Metro system and made our way back to the Zona Rosa where we could find our way back to Casa Gonzales for a brief siesta.

Bicycle race criterium taking place in the big city.
6:00 PM rolled around and we were all getting hungry so we went back to the Zona Rosa and found a restaurant for dinner.  We enjoyed tacos and other Mexican specialties but at the end of the evening we were all tired and ready for bed.  We had another early morning, so with another leg of our Amazing Race looming ahead of us we said good night and went to bed.

Chapultepec Park

Walking in the masses of Chapultepec Park..
The map, always the map!
Purchasing Mexico City Metro tickets.
The Metropolitan Cathedral
of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City
Linda takes a short survey by local students.
Rock work on The Metropolitan Cathedral.

Presidential Palace in Mexico City.

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