Mexico_City

1. There is a kangaroo on the Metro – and we’re not entirely sure why… The Mexico City metro works on a great system of icons for each station as well as names, so you know that you have to get off at the stop with the Big Gun or the Viaduct, rather than remember ‘Salto del Agua’ or ‘Juanacatlan’. We like this a lot. But we were rather surprised to see a kangaroo as one of the station icons. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to investigate, but we suspect that if we had got off there we would have found Eddie McGuire dressed in a wife-beater, flipping snags on some kind of barbie while humming the theme from Bunnings Warehouse commercials…

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2. Mexicans must have the shiniest of shiny shoes – there were shoe-shine stations EVERYWHERE in the city centre, all doing a roaring trade. Kirralee did discover that no, they don’t do pedicures as well….

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3. The whole place is sinking… The Aztecs built their original city, Tenochtitlan, on a small island in the middle of a lake. When the Spanish arrived they razed the original city to the ground – as you do – and built their own capital on its ruins – todays Mexico City. So far so good. Except that the lake was drained as the new city grew and grew. And unfortunately when you put all that weight pretty much straight on the water table, well, you find yourself sinking. Many of Mexico City’s buildings are suffering – streets are wobbly, the Cathedral sits at a slight angle, and the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes, a particularly weighty marble masterpiece, has sunk over 4m since construction began in the early 1900s. So much so, the ground floor is now the basement!

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4. It’s high – really high… Something we didn’t realise, Mexico City might sit in a valley surrounded by mountains and extint(ish) volcanos, but it is actually one of the highest cities in the world. Even with the sinking (see above) it comes in at around 7350ft above sea level. Which means that for the first couple of days after you arrive you feel like Dennis Hooper in Blue Velvet.

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5. Pashing in public seems to be a national pastime. Seriously, old and young are at it. Everywhere. Especially on the Metro. It was all kind of cute until we were queuing to get into the room where Soviet exile Leon Trotsky was assassinated. Picture the scene – his office is as it was on that fateful day in 1940 when one of the foremost political personalities of the 20th Century (whatever you may think of his politics) had an ice-pick smashed into the back of his head. In that very room. Wow. Except, what’s that in front of us? a couple of young Mexicans overwhelmed by the inherent romance of the place who can’t fight the urge to have a quick snog. I mean puur-leese, get a room…. (and preferably one with less historical significance).

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6. Now we know there are no-go areas for tourists in Mexico City. The nice areas are lovely and pretty safe. The tourist areas are pretty good. And one reason for this is that cops are everywhere. More than shoe-shiners. The Municipal Police. The Federal Police. The Bank and Industrial Police. The Traffic Police. The Tourist Police. They all drive around – slowly, not on the way to an emergency, with their lights flashing – just so we know they are there. And every building has it’s own security as well. I know Mexico has it’s crime problems – Kirralee was very much taken with the Alarma magazine that just shows the crime photos of that week’s murders (I guess it would make a change from photographing weddings – “can we have one with the father of the victim please, looking at me….”). Anyway, imagine if they could fix their issues and re-direct all that GDP into something better than security…

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7. Mexico has the World’s hardest to draw flag. Most countries get away with two or three colours – think France, Italy or Sweden. Obviously when the easy ones have gone you have to go stars and stripes, Southern Cross, maybe a hammer and sickle. Pity the poor Mexican school child who has to learn to draw three colours – plus a picture of an eagle eating a snake, oh, and we’ll have it sitting on a cactus tree as well please, just to make sure the Bolivians don’t copy us…

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8. Talking of school kids, it seems a pillar of the Mexican education system is to make them learn English by running up to foreigners and firing pre-prepared questions at them while being video-recorded by an enthusiastic parent. “What do you like about Mexico?”; “Why?”; This happened to us twice, once while perched on the top of a 2000 year old pyramid as we recovered, Dennis Hopper syle, from the climb!

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  • Elizabeth Martin says:
    April 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm Reply

    Hi Guys,
    I particularly liked point number 5; snogging Mexicans mmmmm!! At least you know they’re a ‘loving culture’?? Well at least some of them.
    Amazing architecture in some of those buildings, so elaborate. Are you both keeping well?
    All good this end, love to you both
    Elizabeth

  • Larissa Danders-Wicke says:
    May 1, 2014 at 8:10 am Reply

    Hi Kirralee and Dave,

    we really enjoy reading your blog. It’s an amazing work and a very special travel guide. You both should really think about publishing a book. Kirralee your fotos are fantastic and we can’t wait to be part of your Blog in a few months. Dave’s descriptions of the several places are so detailed. Well, I am sure that I am not getting every single joke, but I am happy to live in an country with an easy to draw flag. 😉

    We really hope both of you are well. Have a great trip to Tucson and give Philipp a big hug!

    Lots of Love,
    Larissa

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