This was the name of the neighbourhood where we lived for those two weeks. It was a historic barrio, the home of the prosperous until a slow socio-economic slump spanning decades, and is now slowing being revived though that most ubiquitous of phenomena: gentrification. The facades here were colourful and intricate and I could imagine creating a coffee-table book of them all quite easily. Such vibrance! There were also old cars everywhere – there seems to be a Volkswagen mania in Mexico City with a combi or beetle around every corner – as well as taco and fresh fruit carts, people fixing cars or buildings, cute little eateries, opticians, laundries, parmacerias (pharmacies) and just everything for day-to-day life. The locals were not the sort to look up
and smile as you walked past but neither did we feel any stares (like everyone experiences in India) nor any menace of any sort. The array of small and silly dogs warmed our hearts and their sheer happiness and good nature and led us to conclude that the city must be full of lovely human beings if they had such happy dogs.
We were also lucky enough to be within walking distance of a Metro station – and the Metro really is an amazingly efficient way of exploring this magnificent city. It will only cost you 5 pesos to buy a ticket that will let you get into the metro, and you can then get out wherever you like! And if you need to travel somewhere else – that’s another 5 pesos! So if you find yourself in Mexico City, look up a map of the Metro, head down, hand the ticketing person 5 pesos, and they will give you a wee paper ticket back, use it to get into the turnstiles – then just get off wherever you want to! You can change trains, go far as far you like!! Truly wonderful. And yes, for us – it was clean, safe, and efficient. Not as clean as Singapore but lets face – where is??
The only downside – and it was a BIG one, was the altitude sickness we both experienced. We were blissfully unaffected for the first day or two and then quite unexpectedly, we both started to feel quite tired easily, lethargic even after we’d woken up refreshed, Steve started to feel short of breath and quite constricted in the chest area, and started to get a ‘fuzzy head’. Now with all the sickness that is going around South America at the time we started googling symptoms with a frenzy – quietly trying to quiet the inner hyperchondriac.. but there was no need. The very first thing that popped up was Altitude Sickness, and guess what? After a lifetime of living at sea-level – we were prime candidates. There is nothing to be done to overcome it, it actually recommends staying off alcohol and when we read that – we knew we had to leave. We can’t come to Mexico, WITH tequila, and not drink it to our hearts content. So we booked tickets at the end of our accommodation booking that would take us to the sea – Cancun then Playa del Carmen specifically. You can read the other blog posts to see how that transition worked out for us 🙂