Saturday, December 28, 2013
Mexico City Pt. 3
Read more: Part 1 Part 2 Part 4 Part 5
Friday, December 13, 2013 (morning): That morning I had breakfast at a really cute cafe called El Ocho. It was a bit of a walk from my hostel, but by that time your body was so numb from walking it didn't even matter! It was near a park called Parque México, which is similar to Parque España. The restaurant had a fire place along the back wall and when you sat down you got a basket of pan dulce (sweet bread) similar to receiving dinner rolls or chips and salsa in the states. I ended up ordering an omelette, orange juice, and coffee. The omelette was Mexicanized with refried beans, which is actually really good paired with eggs. In Mexico you have to ask for your bill, which I never got used to because I hate asking for things.
(early afternoon): After lunch I headed back to Castillo de Chapultepec. I really wanted to go to the castle. Before I went in I was sitting on a stone wall and a squirrel came right up to me! I could have touched it it was so close. The squirrels there are crazy, but so cute. The castle had a long walk up a hill, but the view of the city was so worth it. You could even see Six Flags!
Because I went in December I was able to see so many Christmas decorations, which I think was a great bonus because I was able to see how a different culture celebrates the holiday. Much of it was very similar to America, but they definitely added the Mexican influence into everything. The ornaments on the trees were gorgeous.
The castle itself was pretty amazing. I have a fascination for monarchs and royal families. I've always wanted to go to Versailles, but this was definitely a good substitution. It was amazing to see how the families lived, and it was interesting to see all the Catholic influence. I grew up Catholic, but it was definitely a different feeling when you see how prominent it once was in the lives of the people here. It's not like anything that you'd see today, unless you went to the Vatican.
(mid-afternoon): After visiting the castle I decided to head to the zoo. Yes, this is all within Bosque de Chapultepec. Like I said, it's massive! I was so surprised to find that the zoo was free to get into, which was also interesting because I don't really know how they could afford to keep the place running. Although I did see a lot of parking meters where the animals were that you could put money into as a donation. There weren't many animals, which was kind of sad, and many were hiding. The funniest part of the whole visit was all the little kids running towards the gorilla and screaming because he was moving around. I've never seen kids so excited to see a gorilla!
My body was so sore for walking the past two days that after walking in the zoo I decided to head back and relax at the hostel. I ended up walking a different way, but the path ended up taking me through more of the actual forest part of the park, which was really nice to see. Another difference in Mexico is that the people are very affectionate, so every where you go there are couples kissing or laying in the grass. This was definitely a culture shock to me.
(evening): That night my cousin's friend, Sandra, and her husband picked me up and took me down to Coyoacán. It was really interesting to see more of the city outside of Condesa. There is SO MUCH traffic. No joke. Before we got to Coyoacán they showed me the National University of Mexico. I only saw a little bit of the university, but it was very expansive. I took a picture of the library with the murals on it. We also saw the soccer field which was built for the Olympics. It was huge.
In Coyoacán we walked around the square and there were a lot of street venders and kids singing Christmas carols. There were also a lot of shops and restaurants. I thought it was pretty busy, but apparently it wasn't that night. We walked around some of the shops and I bought some souvenirs. Inside the area with all the handmade items American music was playing but they added mariachi music to the background of the songs. It was really funny. Then we ate at a restaurant called Corazon de Maguex. We all ordered tortilla soup and I also got sopes de corazon. Sandra ordered a Mango water for me which was so delicious! While we were eating we watched fake snow falling outside on the plaza. If only they knew how cold it actually got when it snowed. Afterwards they brought me back to my hostel. Sandra and her husband were so nice, and I was so glad I got to meet them. Sandra helped me out many times during my trip, and I am so thankful!