We are off to Ciudad de México, Mexico, where there are exciting cultural artifacts such as the Templo Mayor, Teotihuacan, and Xochimilco. But, of course, we won’t be seeing those. 😀 Mexico City is the capital of Mexico and the most populous city in North America, so we will find plenty of fun adventures without throngs of (other) tourists.
But first, let’s get there!
For most Americans, traveling to Mexico City involves an international flight. But we live in San Diego, California, USA, so we use Cross Border Express (CBX). It is a bridge exclusively for Tijuana International Airport passengers who cross the border between United States and Mexico. It is fast, there is no TSA, Mexican Immigration officials are polite and friendly, and because it is a domestic flight, it is less expensive than an international flight.
And we get to spend one day in Tijuana to enjoy the sights.
Tijuana is San Diego’s sister city and the busiest land-border crossing in the world, with about 300,000 border crossings daily (which is about 3.5 people per second). Sounds crazy, right? But CBX made it easy, and we Uber from the airport to our hotel, the Hotel Ticuán.
The hotel bills itself as “Providing the best hosting service in the city , with a qualified staff and facilities that exceed the expectations of our guests , in addition to offering high quality cuisine .” Yes , they have extra spaces around the punctuation , but what do I know ? Right ?
The interior of the room is indeed nice, and two our surprise, has a two-person tub. We will use the tub later, but first, let’s explore the city. The hotel is half a block from Avenida Revolución, which is one of the reasons we selected Hotel Ticuán.
Avenida Revolución is a main thoroughfare of the historic Colonia Zona Centro, which forms part of the Delegación Centro of Tijuana. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with any revolution, but is really just a tourist destination. A claim to fame is that the Caesar salad was invented on Avenida Revolución by Caesar Cardini, the Italian-American proprietor of the Hotel Caesar and its restaurant Caesar’s. Ummm, yeah. A famous man once said, “You don’t win friends with salad,” mmmmkay?
It is common to see men selling trinkets in tiny booths or directly from modified wheelbarrows. We are amazed that they are able to make a living, pay mortgage/rent, and support a wife and children with the income from such a financial investment. I guess there is a lot about a lot that we don’t know.
Avenida Revolución isn’t really our style, so we turn down a random street and come across Taco Loco. There are no customers (we like having restaurants all to ourselves) and they serve beer, so we take a seat.
Their specialty is margaritas, but, sadly, we must abstain. It is too early in the evening to get drunk on Mexican tequila. Next thing you know, we’d be looking for Zonkey parties. 😯
The waiters are great and the food is delicious. They serve large portions and we are experienced enough to know that we should split a dinner. The waiter takes a table blanket from another table, has us put it over our shoulders, grabs a couple of hats, and gives us a wonderful memory of Tijuana.
But now it’s back to the hotel and tub (sorry, no photographs 😥 ), a good night’s sleep, and off to the airport.
General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport
General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport, aka Tijuana International Airport, is only 25 miles from where we live, yet we have never been there. Well, today, that changes!
The airport has a VIP lounge, so we have a light breakfast. The lounge is small but the service is very good and the food is fresh.
There is a group of loud Americans that we distance ourselves from. Americans, please take note: Stop being loud. That is all.
There is a section of the Lounge that is decorated with metal poles similar to the aesthetically-pleasing wall between the USA and our neighbors to the south. We carefully keep our distance.
Okay, it’s time to board!
Looking out the window, we see a row of same-size animal carriers waiting to be loaded. We have never seen this before and have no idea what’s going on. Plus, there seems to be a leather or canvas bag hanging just behind them. So many questions, so few answers.
Aerovías de México, S.A. de C.V., operating as Aeroméxico, is the flag carrier airline of Mexico, and that’s the airline we are flying.
Pre-flight drinks do not include alcohol, but that’s okay. It’s a bit early in the day to be drinking. Sad, but true.
Yes, selfies are stupid, but there’s no opportunity on this flight to ask someone to take our photograph. And we are in the air and on our way!
Before the Internet, you would find magazines on airlines where you could buy all kinds of unusual and worthless items. Well, you can still experience that on Aeroméxico with Accént magazine!
Notice that, even though we are in business class, there is not a lot of space between the seats. Our knees are touching the seats in front of us, and when the passenger suddenly reclines, we have to follow suit, because there is barely any space.
We normally don’t photograph food, but this particular breakfast intrigued us. As the aircraft bumps and jiggles through the sky, the grapes do not move. They stay right where you see them.
And there you have it. Some clever person figured out how to stop airline food from rolling around on the plate. What an age we live in!
After a few hours, we descend to Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez, Mexico’s and Latin America‘s busiest airport (by passenger traffic and aircraft movements).
Ciudad de México (abbreviated CDMX) is difficult to characterize except to say that, as with any large city, there are interesting things everywhere. We will share them with you, but don’t ask us to explain them. 🙄
Many streets in Mexico City have bike lanes and for good reason. And, unlike many American bicycle riders, these people follow traffic laws. What we don’t know is why there are no women bikers. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In the USA, we don’t have playgrounds unless the ground is soft, there are warning signs advising of the dangers, and parents sign waivers after consulting with an attorney. Not so in Mexico. If there is an open space, you find a creative person to design an interesting swing set and let the fun begin! And it helps if that open space is directly in front of El Museo Nacional de Arte.
Here we have an environmentally-sensitive art piece constructed from water bottles. Notice how an allowance was made for the branch of a tree. We don’t know what it signifies or why it’s here, but it is pretty cool.
There are police officers everywhere in Mexico City. Many function as traffic cops, standing in intersections and constantly blowing their whistle to encourage or discourage drivers. Most often, however, they are just standing somewhere, looking a bit bored. Also, most stores and shops have armed security guards. In this case, these men and women in blue are preparing to provide safety for a parade (which we will cover in a future story).
Mexico City has its share of erotica, including this theater with a variety of offerings. I admit that “Pinocho” seems like it might be entertaining. 😆
Somehow, a person can make a living by selling balloons on the street. Not a kid making extra money for a school project, but a grown man in obvious good health and nice clothes.
There are many benches in Mexico City, but for some people, a concrete ball is just the right place to perch.
For some reason, this is a problem in Mexico City. Even the little drunk kid thinks it’s not cool.
This sign on a bus is advertising “Fear Fest”, without telling us where it is, when it is, or what it is. And that guy looks more creepy than scary, if you ask me.
If you look closely, you can see that the window washers have two ropes connecting them to the building, but what fascinates us is that they just swing from window to window, using their feet to walk on the building. No acrophobia here.
We don’t know what Aztec deity this represents and why it has a skull in its mouth — or perhaps it’s a skull-faced Aztec deity wearing a bird hat — but this businesswoman has distinguished her leg with a tattoo to honor it.
“Okay, here’s my idea. We get a dorky guy, unshaven, looking concerned, about to kiss a hotdog. Suddenly, a stream of whitish liquid
covers the wiener. Now, ready for the punch line? The liquid isn’t semen, but is really Habanero sauce! Pow! Mind blown!”
Mexico City has many different styles of building, including the Palacio Postal, which has both Plateresque AND Elizabethan styles!
On the side of this building at the corner of Isabel La Católica and Avenida 5 de Mayo is a plaque that reads, “Esta calle se llamo de las Carreras por ella huyeron los conquistadores durante el sino de Tenochtitlan 30 de Junio 1521”, referencing La Noche Triste.
The mule transports the locked valise to his contact, unconcerned and unaware of its contents. He scans the streets for potential trouble as his cigarette slowly burns to his fingers.
Behind him, a counter-intelligence agent lighting his cigarette is momentarily distracted by a honeypot. She will get between the agent and the mule and ask the agent for directions, then smile and thank him for his kindness.
In that moment, the assassin will withdraw her silenced Walther PPK from her purse, fire one round into the mule’s knee, then flee on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.
Sadly, our camera’s memory card is full, so we are unable to capture that part of it. But you can believe us, it really happened. Honest.
Mexico City is friendly, and part of that friendliness is lots and lots of flowers to make the commute less annoying.
As long as we are on the topic, let’s talk traffic.
Mexico City does not have freeways, highways, or whatever you call them where you live. So, stop complaining about traffic; it could be worse.
Pretty car-azy, right? Traffic is so bad that guys stand in the middle the streets with brightly-colored dusters, offering to clean the dust and dirt off your car, never worrying about dodging fast-moving traffic.
Even if you don’t know what estacionarse means, you should be able to figure out that you are blocking the driveway.
El Huerto Roma Verde
Wandering the city, we stumble on el Heurto Roma Verde, “a place where the city is lost and one enters a green lung that embellishes and nourishes families in Mexico City.” Let’s go in!
The gate is open and folks are just milling about, so we boldly enter to see what there is to see.
It seems we are here on Hare Krishna day. There is music, singing, and an old man on a high stage being fanned by a young girl. Well, that’s normal, right? And, don’t zoom in to look at his face. You have been warned.
They are singing a righteous tune, and, in case you can’t remember the lyrics, they have them hanging above the singers. Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth!
The party rages, and a young man entertains the crowd with his drum, unconcerned with the passersby. Three girls look on, excited to be part of the festivities.
As the girls get into the Hare Krishna groove, one of them looks on as if to say, “What a douche”. Her friend seems to be bored to the point of tears. The other one moves her loosely-clenched fist up and down as she looks on; I wonder if that gesture has the same meaning in Mexico City?
Of course, I could be misreading this body language. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The crowds give way to the Royal Procession. We humbly bow, then take our leave, our lungs filled with green.
Lining Paseo de la Reforma are a number of pieces of street art, sponsored by Mexicráneos. Mostly, the artwork is skulls.
A country of fighters, Mexican style. Why they are climbing in a skull remains uncertain.
This skull represents multicolored culture, for some reason. Since it is hollow with an opening, we are able to model the artist for the photograph. 😛
These skulls allow us to pretend that we, too, have large colorful skulls. I have chosen one that looks like a monkey. Aren’t I cute?
Apparently, even skeletons have romantic needs.
Please enjoy this gallery of other Mexican skulls!
Someone thoughtfully displays a giant silver gorilla, giving us a small respite from the skulls. Thank you, kind benefactor.
Mexico City has many monuments, and we have the opportunity to see a few of them.
The Angel of Independence, most commonly known by the shortened name El Ángel and officially known as Monumento a la Independencia, is a victory column on a roundabout on Paseo de la Reforma. It probably looks impressive when it’s not surrounded with scaffolding. We will never know…
La Fuente de la Diana Cazadora is a beautiful fountain on Avenida Paseo de la Reforma. For some reason, she lacks both arrows and a bow string. At any rate, according to the internet, “La Fuente de la Diana Cazadora es una fuente monumental localizada en la avenida Paseo de la Reforma de la Ciudad de México. La escultura, llamada originalmente «La Flechadora de las Estrellas del Norte» representa a la diosa de la Grecia Antigua Artemisa o su equivalente romano Diana, de donde tomó su nombre flechando las estrellas. El diseño de la fuente estuvo a cargo del arquitecto Vicente Mendiola Quezada, y la escultura fue realizada por el escultor Juan Fernando Olaguíbel. Fue inaugurada el 10 de octubre de 1942 por el entonces presidente Manuel Ávila Camacho.”
The Monument to Cuauhtémoc is an 1887 monument dedicated to the last Mexica ruler of Tenochtitlan. It seems poor Cuauhtémoc was in power when Pedro de Alvarado visited his fair city during the Tōxcatl celebration.
The Benito Juárez Hemicycle is a Neoclassical monument located at the Alameda Central park commemorating the Mexican statesman Benito Juárez. There are two allegorical female statues next to Juárez, representing the fatherland and law. Also, there are statues of African lions, a common animal in Mexico.
Mexico City has not one, but four sculptures of Pegasus. Quite a popular figure for Mexicans, I guess.
This is, I’m sure, another important figure in Mexico’s history, but there is no plaque. Well, he’s got a pen and paper, so we’re going with Mark Twain. Yup.
This green statue is in Zona Rosa, but is not pink. It probably represents forbidden love, the young lovers escaping from an uncaring society to find happiness in her zona rosa. 😮
The Zona Rosa is home to Mexico City’s gay community, so let’s visit! Please note: this is the pink zone, not the red zone. The red zone is, well, something else. 😳
Zone Rosa is easy to find because everything is so gaily decorated. So, when in Rome…time for a pink photoshoot!
Nope, it doesn’t mean that. It means “forbidden fruits”.
It seems that I’m the pinkest thing in Mexico City. Good!
A handful of other folks wear pink, but nothing as pink as what I’m wearing. Sweet.
Not only are Mexico City’s initials an excellent place to pose, but they serve as a convenient resting spot to sit with your favorite guy or girl.
More people use the comfort of the city’s letters to rest, joining our impromptu photoshoot. Smile!
We find a tree sporting red and pink balls, perfect for our photoshoot. Don’t taste the forbidden fruit!
Turn about is fair play, so, because I don’t have any pink clothes, I get to model gay clothes. In most big cities, dressing like this goes unnoticed, and Mexico City is no exception.
The photographer directs the subject, and this is what the photographer wanted.
And so, we end our first installation of our Mexico City adventure. It’s a wacky, wonderful place, so stay tuned until next time!!