Mexico City (CDMX) Evening Arrival and Day 1

Mexico City, Mexico

Arrival Evening

What a long travel day. I started with a pretty bad night of sleep in the wonderful hotel because as nice as it was, the unairconditioned room was stuffy. The only way to get any air in there was to keep the screened window open, so the porch light was bothering me, noise from a fountain, and loud conversation outside from Americans arriving late. Always, always keep your voice down in hotels, no matter what time. People might be jet-lagged or there might be a child napping. Just because you have to get up for an early flight doesn’t mean everyone else has to!

So, anyhow, I’m tired now after a long day of travel. Antigua is just 21 miles from the airport in Guatemala City, but it takes 2 hours of sitting in traffic to get there.

I had time at the pleasant airport to get a meal and spend my last Quetzals on a gift. The flight to Mexico City was fine. I was finishing a sad and moving book (The Women, by Kristan Hannah) so I cried the whole flight. Mexico City looks as big as Tokyo – the sight of buildings extends beyond the horizon.

It took over an hour to get the 8 miles to my Airbnb, but I got a tour of my giant apartment building/village and then popped out just to get water and dinner, but ended up exploring for a few hours. I absolutely loved the energy out there. I listened to two different but excellent cover bands and watched folks dancing on the wide sidewalk.

I found my mug at Starbucks, walked through huge Alameda Central Park, visited a folk art market, and discovered that many Asian people live in CDMX and there is even a pretty Chinatown. I ate tacos, bought some groceries, walked through a cloud of pot smoke on a block where free spirits smoke to their hearts’ content in an effort to legalize pot, and looked at the amazing view from my apartment’s deck. There is a radio tower in the distance lit up in a rainbow for Pride. I saw a mini-mall of sex toy shops and numerous people dressed in elaborate clothes. There are lots of sexy underwear shops.

CDMX Morning 1

I was taking the early morning off from touring but once I got going, I walked next door for a quick tour of the Museo de Arte Popular or Popular Art. It was fun and beautifully presented.

Following along Avenida Independéncia, a busy shopping street toward the Zocolo, I was headed to one of the largest public squares on Earth. But first I happened on Postre Ideal, which was a department-sized dessert and pastry shop, founded in 1927. It was the first food that looked good all day. I grabbed a tray and tongs and made my selections, which they wrapped up while I paid. My total for 6 pastries was $5.00. LOL

I carried on to the Zocolo, where just a few days ago, the brand-new president-elect, Madame Claudia Shienbaum spoke to thousands of supporters there, acknowledging her historic win. She’s the first female leader in North America, she’s Jewish (her grandparents immigrated from Lithuania), she has a PhD from Berkeley, a scientist, was the mayor of Mexico City (5th largest city on Earth), and a 61-yea-old grandmother. ¡La quiero!

The Zocolo was absolutely immense and I couldn’t stop turning round and round while saying, “Oh, my god!”

I just stood there taking photos and a video of the 5-minute-long bell ringing that happened from 11:55 to noon. I’ll explore the historic buildings along its edges in the coming days.

I stopped by a department store and purchased some socks and a white tee shirt. I pared down my clothes twice now on this long trip and even though I’m getting my laundry done today, I needed just a couple of basics to get me through.

Many people were playing music on the street, like last night. Today was more classical music than rock bands. I saw a tiny shop that just sold McDonald’s ice cream cones. There are about as many shoe stores here as in Spain. They have very annoying people with bullhorns advertising what they are selling in their stores. They just keep talking even as you walk past them and can’t get away from the loud noise. Even worse is when they have pre-recorded the phrases and they get repeated over and over. There are small craft markets and street food everywhere. There are panhandlers, mothers with children selling candy, drug addicts, and unhoused people asleep on the sidewalk. There are people riding bikes with carts filled with 10 or 15 5-gallon bottles of water. It looked insane and I could never push the bikes along, let alone at speed and through traffic.

I walked back to my apartment to eat something and have a cup of coffee.

CDMX Afternoon 1

I walked to the Museo Mural Diego Rivera. There was a huge mural there with all the characters identified. It was interesting.

Then I walked the length of Alameda Central Park and visited the Palacio de Bellas Artes. I loved it in there. There were several interesting hanging sculptures. I stopped to listen to an art expert give a detailed talk on a different Diego Rivera mural. It was so interesting and I understood quite a bit of his talk in Spanish.                                                                                                                                                                      

I had a taco for dinner. Again, it was just okay. I’m not sure I’m finding the real thing here yet. Or I’m too afraid to try the hot sauces.