Are you kidding me, Mexico City? Part 2.

The couple awoke feeling groggy, hungry, and excited. It was el día de las pirámides. They researched how to get to the pyramids at Teotihuacán online, but one of the many concierges in the bright, crowded lobby (a stark contrast to the lobby of the night before) redirected them. They were to board the metro bus to Indios Verdes and take another bus from there. Easy as that.

Not five minutes into wandering aimlessly to find the bus station did an English-speaking Good Samaritan pause to help. He escorted them directly to the right us, paid for their fair, and helped them on their way.

Life Tip #9: Before you go ANYWHERE in a foreign country, make sure you have enough of the local currency on hand to get by for the first leg of your trip. You will get lost. You will be hungry. You might as well be prepared.

They got off the bus at Indios Verdes, the end of the line. It was an action-packed vessel of foods and trinkets. The fragrant sweets and spices of the local street cuisine overwhelmed their senses. Still running on the same empty stomachs as the previous night, they were famished. Not anticipating that Indios Verdes would be a strictly cash market without an ATM in sight, they were also without pesos. They needed money and fast.

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They wandered all throughout the crowds at Indios Verdes, questioning person after person on the whereabouts of the nearest ATM. Nobody knew. So Dave and Lee walked, putting significant distance between them and the action-packed bus station. They continued walking and continued asking for directions until there were no people and no open businesses left in sight. They had walked in the exact wrong direction. In an act of desperation, they hailed the first cab they saw. This was their first true venture into Mexico City cab driving—chock-full of creative maneuvers and unbelievably cheap rates.

After picking up pesos and scarfing down delectable quesadillas and meats from the nearest restaurant, the pair headed back toward the bus station. Feeling the contentedness that comes with having full bellies, Dave and Lee relaxed into the madness. The only less than relaxing element of the experience was the realization that Lee, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, was the object of an alarming number of ogling looks from vocal locals. Setting aside the discomfort of those looks, they took directions from person after person until they eventually found the cheese at the end of the maze that is Indios Verdes—the bus to las pirámides.

On the bumpy ride, they took in the sight of the thousands and thousands of brightly colored homes in the hills, photographed the unique graffiti adorning the walls alongside the roads, and napped until their arrival at Puerta 1 of Teotihuacán.

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After a short walk through an aisle of souvenir shops, the couple was confronted by an impressive expanse of the ruins of an ancient city. There was a long stretch of dirt road surrounded by yellowing grass and stone walls of differing heights, some with stairs to climb, some with steep ledges. It was beautiful.

They walked along the road, snapping photos, climbing over intermittent stone structures, and offering a constant stream of “No gracias” to the people selling knickknacks. There was a gaggle of schoolchildren on a field trip looking through a hole in one of those structures. Evidently, it was a tunnel. Dave followed the kids through the child-sized tunnel, coming out the other side hunched over and laughing.

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They decided to walk past the massive, intimidating Pyramid of the Sun, opting to tackle the smaller but still intimidating Pyramid of the Moon first. The steps were steep and slightly inconsistent. Lee knew she’d have a hell of a time getting back down. They lingered halfway up the edifice (the top half was under repair) and got artsy with the camera. The Pyramid of the Sun was a bigger beast, but they conquered it. The view from the top made their heaving lungs well worth the extra work. It was far-reaching and awe-inspiring.

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With aching feet, the happy pair trekked through one of the four museums. It was set to a timeline of ancient trinkets, weaponry, bones, and masks. They were officially fulfilled, and so they rode the bus back toward the madness of Indios Verdes in contented silence.

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Life Tip #10: When you travel, don’t shy away from taking day trips outside of your primary destination. There’s a whole lot of world out there. Experience as much of it as you can. 

Now all too acquainted with the bus station and with nowhere to go before the sun left the sky, they sat down to dine. They randomly selected one of the street vendor’s nooks in the sea of hustlers and consumers. It was clearly a family business. A small boy, no older than seven, bussed the tables; his teen brother was our server; and an older gent stood behind the massive expanse of flattop grill. None to shy away from new experiences, Dave and Lee ordered a sugary soda, a quesadilla (just in case), and un huarache (the new experience). Their food arrived after a leisurely wait, each item large to intimidate the average human being and delicious enough to attempt to finish before stomach rupture. The entire meal cost around three American dollars.

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Despite physical exhaustion from their day trekking ruins, a nap and a shower were enough to motivate Dave and Lee to venture back out into the City. Their mission? La Opera.

The cab ride toward the Zócalo shocked the hell out of the pair, for it introduced an entirely new side of Mexico City to what they had been exposed. This region was downright European and cosmopolitan. Despite the late hour, couples, families, and friends strolled down the sidewalks. Upon seeing the sheer beauty of the Palacio de Bellas Artes lighting up the night, Dave and Lee abandoned their cab, opting to enjoy the sights and sounds up close and personal.

La Opera sat close to Bellas Artes. They entered for Pancho Villa’s bullet hole. They stayed for the ceviche, drinks, and general swank.

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