Mexico City, Mexico – By the time we got to Mexico City, three and a half weeks after arriving in Mexico, we agreed one on thing (there is a first for everything): we LOVE Mexico. We originally thought we would spend about a month, 6 weeks tops, in Mexico – but we kept amending our timline and decided to stay 10 weeks – and that barely seemed like enough time to do all we wanted.
It really is a shame that more Americans don’t travel to Mexico. The stories about violence and crime are all we hear in the States, so I don’t really blame people for not visiting, but it really is a shame.
Mexico has a great mix of culture, art, architecture and beaches. In many ways (OK maybe in all ways) it is SO much easier to travel here than it is in Asia. It’s cleaner, the language is way easier, no one tries to rip you off or lies to you to get business. Mexicans are friendly and helpfull and there is music everywhere. Of course, it’s way more expensive than Asia, so I guess you get what you pay for.
One thing Asia has over Mexico is the food. The food is consistently good here, but we haven’t had these amazing experiences like we did when eating phò in Vietnam, curry in Thailand, or at the fancy Indian restaurants.
Stuart’s college roommate and his wife live in Mexico City, and we were invited to stay with them. Mexico City is almost overwhelmingly big but manageable if you visit one neighborhood at a time. It’s also a little bit of everything all mixed together, there are ruins in the city center (Temple Mayor) right next to some of the city’s most interesting colonial buildings. There is a huge anthropology museum, chronicling the history of pre-Spanish Mexico, alongside great contemporary art museums, and of course the art of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is everywhere.
We spent a few days in the city visiting some outstanding ruins, museums, churches and plazas. We ate some good food, including guacamole with crickets. In keeping with the “history of Communism” theme of our past two trips, we toured the house that Trotsky lived in (and where he was eventually hunted down and killed by Stalin) after he had a falling out with with the Riveras. Just outside Mexico City we climbed the 3rd highest pyramid in the world, the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotichcan. We even managed to fit in some pizza and the new James Bond film.
But, after all that big city life, we needed to relax so we headed for the beach in Zhijutanjo. The town might sound familiar, it’s where Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman escape to at the end of Shawshank Redemption (although the scene in the movie was actaully filmed in the Virgin Islands). We stayed in a nice place run by a Mexican-American from Texas just above the beach.
Zihu had nice beaches, great food and lots of Canadians. (Psst.. Americans the Canadians seems to know about all the cool beaches in Mexico that aren’t overrun by big resorts, we gotta get on this!) Our visit happened over Thanksgiving, and we were wowed by or hotel’s owner who prepared a huge thanksgiving feast with Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and the works, for his guests and friends. Spending the holidays away from family can be hard, so we were very grateful for his generosity.
We headed back to Mexico City – and Stuart stayed with his former roommate for a few days, while I made a quick trip to Minnesota for my grandmother’s memorial service. It was quite surreal to go from warm Mexico to ice cold Minnesota, but I was grateful to have the means and opportunity to fly there and be with my family.