Thursday, 22 December 2011

not just tequila, cactus, sombreros oooh and speedy Gonzales !

A quick run down of the last couple of days.

22 million people in area roughly the same size as Greater London / Melbourne.

600 starbucks, 18% unemployment, 627 museums, 127 walmarts built in the last 4 years, Corona with lime, chilli and salt, vibrant colours everywhere, complex history, ruins 5,000 years old next to modern skyscrapers , and where 2000 pesos (£100) a month gets you a reasonable flat on the outskirts  … oh how I love complex Mexico City…. In fact maybe I’ll do a TEFL and move on here ….

Met my lovey guide Alvaro, and we spent 11 hours on foot while I learnt all about Mexico.  It has the most fascinating history, and is a fascinating place.  Mexico City originally built by the Aztecs was a man made island in the middle of a lake, full of canals, temples , homes etc .. (think of Venice but much much larger) it was only when Mexico was conquered by the Spanish (Hernando Cortes) that over many years,they drained the who lake (process took 300 years) and as they were doing so, started the build of the Mexico City we know today.  The city actually shrinks every year and there are many buildings you can see distorted as the very slowly move in line with the old Aztec city and structures that lay beneath. In the late 70’s a huge pyramid and temple was discovered just next to the main square, it has slowly been excavated to reveal how people lived and worked many years ago, and is now a protected area and an amazing museum. ( photos of aztec ruins ) While the city was being built over the Aztec city, Hernando Cortes initially settled in an area called Coyoacan, it is here that his first house was built (said to be the first ‘european’ style house in the Americas), and the first Catholic church in the Americas was built.  Coyoacan pics  )

We visited the ruins and museum, cathedral, history of the main square (Zocalo) where Alvaro pointed out that the baubles on my beloved Christmas tree where in fact Pepsi logos.. mmmm, museum of tolerance (the interactive museum I have ever been to) museum displays atrocities that have happened in the past and even today, world war II, Darfur, a visit to the tile house, (which was bought by a wealthy British man many years ago and turned into the first department store in Mexico). Alvaro explained the history of the architecture and influence that the French and Italian had on buildings (the post office being one). Ate in the local places from dirty grills and from people with dirty hands and off dirty plates, 3 course lunch for equivalent £1 (mind you starter was grilled cactus, not too bad) … drank beer the local way with chilli, lime and salt mixed in. Visit to an amazing museum that displays Diego Rivera largest mural that shows the history of Mexico through time and his relationship with Frida Kahlo.  ( out and about street pics )

Will end this post there as getting lengthy …  read below for Fridas house and Xochimilco

Adios Mexico … next stop New York

CBT – x

Ooh interesting fact … my hotel used to be a monastery, check out the roof ( roof pics ) .. stunning !

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