Thursday, 10 January 2008

Exploring Mexico City

The next day we woke up on time to say good bye to my cousin going to work. We had a concha (delicious pastry) and toast with cajeta for breakfast and then headed to Torre Mayor.

In the time between I finished my master degree in Manchester and found a job in Aberdeen, I went back to Mexico and worked in a company in Torre Mayor for 7 months. Those were the most awful months of my life but that's another story. The only thing that made it bearable were the 2 friends I made there: Amalia and Marga who I was dying to meet again.

So there we went. We took the 2 micros (microbuses) required to arrive there and all the way Suresh kept saying how it looks like India. So much that we created a finger symbol so every time he felt it was "just like India" he wouldn't have to vocalise it and I will abbreviate as JLI. He meant the traffic, the speed driving, the music out loud in the micro and everywhere outside and the ambulatory vendors in every traffic light (and soon we would see everywhere).

We rode along the magnificent Paseo de la Reforma and we finally arrived at Torre Mayor. I knew the drill so we registered and took the super fast lift to the last floors. One of my friends had a doctor appointment and we couldn't meet her but we had a good chat with Amelia promising to be back the next day.

We were hungry again by then (that hunger will stay with us the whole trip) and thought a good idea to taste some street food. We went to the corner of the building and ordered the typical sopes and quesadillas. Luckily they had mushrooms and potato and we asked for extra rice for Suresh. I was waiting for my quesadilla de chicharron (I was on holiday) and told Suresh to pour some salsa on his own quesadilla. I didn't realise what he was doing but he says he saw the others topping freely their own dishes with lots of green salsa and as he remembered the previous night enchiladas, he didn't think it would be harmful. Big mistake! He is Indian but the chilango level of spice is too high to match and he got really enchilado and begging for his life. The funny thing is he kept eating until he finished it because it was still tasty.

He washed it down with a tamarind jarrito and to ease his suffering, we took a walk along P. de la Reforma and stopped in front of the Angel. We just sat there contemplating the scenery and people passing by. Suresh is the coolest traveller companion. He strongly believes that to know a place we shouldn't exert ourselves trying to visit every single place or we wouldn't enjoy it, but we would rather take a spot and observe. It was just great. I had forgotten how awesome the weather in Mexico City is. The sun shone mildly but enought to feel warmth in our skin and a tree gave a shade and breeze cool enough to feel comfortable.

When the chili effects had passed, we moved on to take the "sacred route" aka the walk from the Independence Angel towards the Zocalo. I showed him every monument, we had some esquites and chicharron in the Alameda where we stood for a while as well. We saw the Bellas Artes palace, crossed the street to Eje Central where we tried to buy some pirate DVDs (bad bad, we bought nothing in the end) and I was almost run over since I had forgotten how to cross the streets in crowded Mexico City centre. We walked along Madero and saw the old buildings surrounding the area. Then we stopped at MixUp (record store) which was crowded as hell. He wanted to browse among Jazz CDs and I wanted to see some DVDs so I told him if a girl approached him he would just say "tengo novia" (I have a girlfriend) to send them away.

That would be one of the many phrases he would learn and pronounce so perfectly that he could pass as Mexican for many. He has a similar Mexican look which helped too.

After arriving in Zocalo, take a look at the mega ice rink, we took the metro to meet my cousin at work and have dinner together. Suresh thought the metro in Mexico is the cleanest he had ever seen and I also noticed how there is always someone cleaning and how really clean are the stations and wagons. It is refreshing when someone else notices something good about your culture that you take for granted.

We arrived in Insurgentes station and then took the Metrobus (awfully crowded JLI) a few stations down to la colonia Roma where my cousin works. She gave us the wrong station so we had to wait at a corner for more than 30 minutes so Suresh decided to buy some chewing gum. I let him go alone to the candy stand a few metres from the traffic light since I didn't want to miss my cousin's car and when he came back he was convinced he was cheated and overcharged for a piece of gum. We didn't have time to find out since my cousin arrived but 2 things could have happened: 1) Prices have gone really high and a piece of gum is actually 2 pesos, or 2) the guy tried to get one easy peso from a non-spanish speaker. I'd rather believe number 1 and hey, it's only 1 peso loss, but Suresh has in his mind that chilangos will try to con you if they can.

With my cousin we went to see his father at his fonda where Suresh charmed every customer and my uncle taught him how to say "pinche suegro". Oh God, I was mortified he would actually let that phrase go while in Villahermosa, but it never happened, and afterwards we had dinner at el Pendulo libreria where I got the book "Noticias de un Imperio" which I was dying to read and Suresh had pasta with huitlacoche which he loved. (Note: by then I was still a little restrained with food so didn't eat much). So we went home and that was the end of day one.

I am tired already recounting it all, but I feel so happy to relive it again.

1 comment:

Fned said...

On our first trip to Mexico, my brothers taught hubby all about the cool words GUEY, PINCHE, CHINGADA and CHELA.

After a while I had to teach him that "Pinche guey, pass me the chingada chela" is NOT a term of endearment!