Mexico City

We hit the road nice and early from Guanajuato as we planned to spend most of the day exploring the beautiful San Miguel de Allende before continuing on to Mexico City. After a short drive we soon arrived, parked, walked through the beautiful El Jardin, past the incredible Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel and up a few very steep streets, finally reaching the Tianguis de los Martes – San Miguel’s Tuesday market.

The market was probably one of the biggest we’d been to since arriving in Mexico, offering everything from clothes and shoes to plants and food. Due to the overwhelming amount of food options Anita and I decided to spread out our tastings and grab a few things from a few different vendors. We ended up trying gorditas, huaraches, two types of tacos and a gringa, which is a basically a quesadilla with meat and cheese. Needless to say we were stuffed, but still somehow managed to lock away a delicious horchata for our after-lunch sweet fix. After lunch we walked through the Mercado de Artesanias, inspecting all the hand made arts and crafts on display, then continued on our way to Mexico City where we would be staying with Mario and his wonderful family. Mario and Caro are the parents of Natalia, the ex-girlfriend of my cousin James who lived in Mexico City while they were together.

We naively arrived in the city just as the clock hit 5pm, which then meant having to battle rush hour traffic in a city with a population of around 10 million. Not only this but despite how warm and friendly Mexicans are off the road, on the road is a completely different story. They are the most aggressive, inconsiderate, careless drivers we’ve come across on our travels. We experienced similar levels of traffic in Ho Chi Minh but they are far more courteous on the roads.

As I was battling my way through weaving cars I had to merge lanes, so glanced in my mirror to check that it was fine to do so. I spotted a semi truck that was at a safe distance so proceeded to merge, but as I did the truck gained on us quickly, clearly driving way over the speed limit. He held down his horn as he made no effort to move out of our way, then hooked his truck over and bumped us in an attempt to run us off the road. Luckily Fuego only copped a small scratch but Anita was understandably quite shaken up by the whole thing. We let the lunatic truck driver past to prevent anything further, then pulled out at our exit.

Thankfully the incident was mitigated by the kindness and generosity we received from Mario and his family. After being welcomed into their house and meeting everyone we were invited out to dinner at a local favourite of theirs. We got to know everyone and got a run down of the city over some tacos and horchatas, then headed back home to rest up.

The following morning Caro took us to the Frida Khao Museum. Foreigners are charged a ridiculous 200 pesos for entry, so Caro thought that as a citizen she could save us some money. This unfortunately was not the case, but we did however manage to organise some student IDs from a source that will remain unnamed, so decided to return for the discounted price once we received them. We spent the rest of the day exploring the surrounding neighbourhood of Coyocán, a very hip area full of interesting shops and markets, then headed back to Mario’s in time for his daughter Marion’s birthday lunch.

The next day Caro very kindly took us to see Teotihuacan, about an hour out of the city and known as the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in pre-Columbian Americas. We climbed to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun to take in the view, then walked around the Pyramid of the Moon to the on-site museum before returning home.

On our last day in Mexico City we caught the notorious metro where people cram in like sardines and pickpockets take their pick, to the Museo de Arte Popular to check out some Mexican handcrafts and folk art. After some time walking the museum we crossed over to Pasteleria Ideal to sample some of the city’s best pastries. We then walked through the main square and jumped back on the metro, jumping out at Coyocán again to visit Frida Khao’s Museum, only this time with a sizeable student discount. We finished our day with some tostadas at the Mercado de Coyocán and a movie with Mario and Caro, crashing out as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

A very big thank you to Mario and Caro for having us in Mexico City. Their overwhelming kindness and generosity made our time there so enjoyable as we instantly felt like part of the family. So thank you, guys!

– Dek

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