Mexico City Day 1

My friend RT is getting married this weekend. Both he and his bride are natives of Mexico City, so they had decided to have their wedding in…wait for it….yup, Mexico City. I am super excited to attend a tradition Mexican wedding in Mexico City!

I figured that if I am going to fly out of the country to attend their wedding in Mexico City, I might as well extend the time that I’ll spend here so that I can do some sightseeing around the city. My travel research yielded lots of stuff to do and see in Mexico City. This will be one of my shorter trips, but I don’t think this one will disappoint. Anyhow, with no further delay, let’s get on with the photos.

All packed and ready to go. No travel backpack this time. The wedding is very formal with tuxedos required so a hard luggage this time to take care of my tux.

The pay terminal on my taxi. Don’t ask me why there’s a video of some chick doing yoga.

Ominous rain clouds. I hope it doesn’t start pouring rain and start causing delays.

Essentially no line! Score. I talked to the gate agent, and he mentioned that it was really packed right before I showed up. Lucky me.

But of course, my traditional The Salt Lick meal every time I fly out of town.

The chopped brisket breakfast tacos really are the best. While having my breakfast, I also found out from TV news that the Pope had resigned today.

By the time I made it on the plane, it’s pouring rain. Fortunately, everything is still running on time. From the moment I sat down in my seat, I leaned against the window and immediately passed out. I wasn’t able to get much sleep last night…so tired…


Skylink to another terminal.

Errrr….is that an airplane on fire!?!? At first, I thought that it was an airplane on fire, then I thought about it again and decided that maybe it was just a fire drill. If an airplane was on fire, I think there would be a whole swarm of fire trucks surrounding it, which there were not.

Some light lunch.

I had this same chicken caesar wrap in the airport last time I traveled. It was pretty good last time. This time, it was abysmal. I barely ate any of it.

I boarded my flight heading to Mexico City, and again, immediately leaned against the window and passed out. When I came to, they were making the announcement for everyone to return their seats to upright position.

I looked outside and this is what I saw. We have arrived in Mexico City. The famed terrible air pollution is visibly hurting people. I saw it kick a little kid in the shin.

Really long immigration lines! By my estimate, at the rate that we are moving, this will probably take an hour.

I lucked out. While wasting my life away, they decided to open up a whole new section to process immigration. Instead of letting the people who have waited the longest have priority, they took the whole crowd and cut it in half, so that now the people who were only half way through the wait were in the beginning of a whole new line. I was the cutoff person for the new line, so all of a sudden, I was moved to the front of the line. Mexico City is treating me pretty well so far.

Online travel tips strongly suggest that I take a prepaid taxi to my hotel. Sure, why not.

Easy breezy. All the distances and regions have a set list price. They also gave me back correct change, not like the Mumbai taxi stand that tried to cheat me out of my money. After India, traveling everywhere else is such a piece of cake.

Prepaid taxi ticket.

Dog sleeping inside the airport.

Taxi line right outside airport.

My ride. Let’s go!

You may have heard people talk about horrible Mexico City traffic, and how no one follows traffic laws. I don’t know what they are talking about. Everyone seems pretty chill over here. It’s not US law abiding, but this is mere child’s play compared to what it’s like in India.

One of the many mini buses that I see around town.

Those days of all VW beetle taxis in Mexico City are over. During my entire ride(20ish minutes) from the airport to my hotel, this was the only VW beetle taxi that I saw.

Now in Centro, the historic/colonial part of Mexico City.

Arrived at my hotel.

The hotel is actually housed in a very old building. It’s got a pretty awesome stained glass skylight in the lobby.

Local map that I got from the concierge. I asked him what areas around here is safe for me to walk around. Everything inside the orange square is safe. This is the area with the highest concentration of tourist attractions.

This is what $89 a night gets you in a very good and convenient area in Mexico City.

Pretty good deal for $89 a night!

My balcony looks out onto the street, but unfortunately the window does not open.

Some of you may know that I Lindy Hop, so I did some research for places that I can go swing dancing here. I asked the front desk to make some inquiries for me regarding such, and it seems like there might be a swing dance event this Friday. Hopefully, I can make it.

It’s already late in the afternoon, and none of the museums are open today. I decided to just walk around the area and do a quick preview of some of the major attractions.

Ah! Catedral Metropolitana. When I saw a photo of this during my travel research, it was at that moment that I was convinced there are some amazing things to be seen in Mexico City.

Federal buildings.

That’s one grand and beautiful building. Construction started in 1573! I can’t wait to go inside in the next few days and hear what the acoustics are like. I love the type of sounds that you only hear in extremely large buildings made of stones.

Metropolitan Tabernacle is attached to the right side of the Metropolitan Cathedral.

That is one giant Mexican flag.

They had closed off the square(Zocalo) in preparation for some sort of event.  I think it’s of some military nature as I saw a bunch of soldiers doing drills and marches.

I was there when they had a whole ceremony to lower the flag. I’d imagine it gets raised and lowered daily.

Pedestrian street filled with shops/restaurants and whatnot next to Zocalo. My next destination is that tall building at the end of the street.

There are so many organ grinders here in this area. I wonder if they all belong to a syndicate as I think they are all using the same exact organs.

Some random church I saw along on my walk.

On a random side note, my right foot has been cramping ever since I got off the plane. It really hurts, and I can’t get it to uncramp. I had this exact same problem the first day I had arrived in Delhi. It eventually went away by itself after a day, so hopefully it will be the case this time as well. I blame it on the plane ride.

Interesting looking benches in this area.

Part of the reason why this area is safe for tourists. There are hundreds of police in this area. There are probably 10 of them guarding each city block. They all just stand around like this, but I guess that’s enough to deter most of the crimes that can happen here. Mexican girls here are also very beautiful. If my name was SMD, I would be in heaven.

Torre Latinoamericana. This was Mexico City’s tallest building when it was built in the 50s. It’s actually kind of ugly, not to mention it’s seen better days. It looks sad and neglected. But, I didn’t walk all the way here on my cramped foot just to make fun of it. Despite all its shortcomings, this building is the tallest building in this immediate area, and it has an observation deck. If you know me, you know I always seek out the vantage point of every city I visit.

More organ grinders.

Palacio de Bellas Artes. Contains murals, art, museum, etc. Beautiful building.

Street side magazine stand.

Found the entrance into Torre Latinoamericana, and it was only 70 pesos to go to the top. Not too bad. The exchange rate is roughly 12.7 peso for 1 usd.

My ticket to the top.

The lower observation level. There’s another elevator that takes you to the upper observation level, then you can walk up stairs to the very top.

What a view!

Palacio de Bellas Artes seen from above.

The sun is about to set. Far in the distance is the suburb of Santa Fe, where I will be attending the wedding in a few days time.

Out in the distance in the mountains, there looks to be some smoke and fires.

The pedestrian street that leads to Zocalo and the cathedral.

The sun was already starting to set when I came up the tower, I figured that I might as well wait a bit longer and wait for it to get dark and for the city to light up. I used the down time to look through my guidebook for a dinner spot.

I didn’t have to wait long, maybe 15 minutes for it to get this dark.

I thought that this was cool. This is the park next to Palacio de Bellas Artes, and I love how the walkways are lit up bright white while the treed areas are still really dark.

The afterglow of the sun that had just set.

Mountains surrounds Mexico City all around, that’s why the air quality sucks. I still think it’s better than Delhi though. My eyes aren’t constantly red like when I was in Delhi.

The other great part about this observation deck is that it never got crowded. There were maybe 30 people up here at any given time. Maybe not that many people know about it. Their loss for sure.

The restroom in the observation deck had one of these faucets that I hadn’t used in years. The on/off switch is the little rode that drops down from the spurt. I hate this design.

Palacio de Bellas Artes is perhaps even more beautiful at night.

Torres Latinoamericana is still just as uninspiring and ugly at night.

Accordion! I gave him a 5 peso coin and asked him to play something. He kept on saying something to this little kid that was loitering around and the kid kept on walking closer and closer to me from my back side. I wonder if he was asking the kid to pickpocket me. Oh well, I guess I’ll never find out.

Dinner spot as recommended by the guidebook. This is on a quiet side street and I would have never come here had it not been for the guidebook.

Splendid interior inside!

A string trio!

I did not order the bull testicles, but I did order the pork leg as suggested by my server.

Live music, beer, and kick ass atmosphere. I am feeling content and loving life.

The food shows up, and it was tender and damn good.

Another beer. Everyone seems to be drinking Corona here. When in Rome…

I am 1 for 1 on great dining experiences in Mexico City. Let’s see if I can keep this up.

Enjoying my stroll back to my hotel.

Obesity for everyone!

Does it really need three locks?

To my disappointment, the cathedral did not have great lighting at night.

The federal buildings on the South side of Zocalo did have awesome lighting at night though.

Another organ grinder.

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us.

This makes me head hurt just looking at it.

Giant bakery down the street from my hotel. I must check it out soon.

Bought a couple bottles of water from the pharmacy down the block from hotel. I am calling it a night. Everything seems to shut down early around this part of town. Going to retreat back to my room and blog for hours then go have a night of restful sleep.

To be continued in Mexico City Day 2 Part 1.

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