Do We Have to Go Home?
We are a bit mournful that "the party is over" and we will soon be returning home to perhaps, eternal rain!
Mexico City Ah, the city of opposites! Infamous for its pollution and chaos yet famous for its history and culture.
Much to our surprise we found the zocalo in Mexico City (one of the largest in the world) to be rather drab. It reminded me more of an Eastern bloc country, particularly its drab grey color. The rest of the city is rich by design, color and energy.
We had another bumpy beginning with our lodging, however we quickly turned that around and found comfortable quarters in a barrio called Roma. It might be akin to Kits in Vancouver- more or less. Great restaurants, chilled neighbourhood and many friendly faces.
Unlike Vancouver, Mexico City is built on top of a lake. (as, we were told). What this means is that many of the oldest structures have taken on a "mean lean" literally, as sections of Churches have calved off hunks of building from its mother structure. We saw, several churches, young and old in this state as well as an apartment building. Imagine spilling a drink in your flat and having your neighbour clean it up in theirs!
We have been inspired by many things in Mexico City. From the more mundane . . . the subway system, a magnificent network of hundreds of kilometres of underground transportation which moves millions of people per day. The flip side of the mundane are the Eco bicicletes, an on-the- ground network of bicycles used by thousands of people per day. By all appearances, it is a very successful venture in Mexico City. Bicycle users ranged from businessmen to jean dressed folk. Often we had conversations of how this might be replicated in Vancouver. Here is another type of 'green taxi' service offered in the heart of Mexico City, a peddle bike with room for two!
Amongst many things in Mexico City that inspired us was (oddly) the post office! The outside of the building features an architecture style typical of the era. One might think that the inside would be as utilitarian, however, it was quite the opposite; grand and expansive ceilings, plenty of marble and a stunning "stairway to heaven!" The building is still being used for mail sorting and delivery and it is quite spotless!
Mexico City is truly one of the "centres of the universe" for art. We had the pleasure of visiting Palacio Bella de Artes (Palace of fine Arts) and the Museo de Arte Moderno, two exquisite sites. The Palacio was a splendid display of deep pocket architecture but more important the magnificent murals by the likes of Diego Rivera and Rufino Tomayo.
During our time at the Museo de Arte Moderno there were several school groups visiting. It was exciting to see their interest in art displayed through questions and discussions with the tour leaders about these inspiring art works.
In spite of this large city we were both surprised and pleased to find such grand green spaces. Many of the large thorough fares in the heart of the city had tree lined boulevards with large, walking and cycling paths. Here we saw all walks of people relaxing and enjoying Mexico City. Minutes away from the business district is a grandiose Parque de Chapultepec . It is an enormous park in the heart of the city. We enjoyed our electric train trip through the park, like all the other touristicas!
During our ride we came across this sign. We thought it was a very strange combo of words together on the same sign! If need be, you can google translate the words!
The most exceptional and breath taking experience were the Teotihuacan Pyramids. These are located about one hour NW of the City. We decided to take a tour bus c/w guide to the site. The guide and driver were both great and met the linguistic needs of both Spanish and English speaking folk. I believe that the pyramids are the 3rd largest in the world. They were enormous! Similar to the Egyptian pyramids and Chichenitza, these sites have parallel orientations to the sun and moon! Some of the pyramids had paintings dating back eons of time. We were able to scale the pyramids and enjoy the 360 degree, vistas. These incredible moments offer up the opportunity to ponder what life might have been like without the invasion of the Spaniards.
Our time was very short in Mexico City to "see it all". Our time in the country, like Peru, was insufficient to see it all as well. Once again both Carole and I feel quite blessed to have the health and desire to travel. We have witnessed many amazing things, met some beautiful people and deepened our appreciation for the many similarities and differences between cultures in a few short months.
Once again, we both want to thank my bro Lee and our neighbor and friend Amy for taking care of our home while we were away. It means so much to us to have you folks take time out of your day to make sure that our home is safe and sound.
Thanks also to those who read our blogs and to the few who actually enjoyed it!! We have appreciated reading the comments from friends and family as we shared our stories with you.
By the time you read this last (almost) posting, we will have arrived safe and sound back to Nanaimo - in surprisingly wonderful weather.