Mexico City

So, here goes. First trip of the year. Phoenix, SF and LA doesn’t count as a trip anymore. This trip also happened to be right in the middle of 6 consecutive travel weekends.

I have a pathological horror of routines and regulations. I was at home for 8 weeks after coming back from Europe in Early December. I had it enough. I started looking out to travel and little did I know I’d be travelling 6 weekends back to back. I am now 2 flights away from American Airlines’ Elite Platinum status and 4 system wide upgrades to J cabin. Guess who is flying back in business from Belgrade later this summer? Anyway, I degress.

As always, long weekend was around the corner and inevitable just happened – travel. We looked at Alaska first. While it was very exciting and the drive from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay is hard to pass on, brain won over heart and we decided not to drive into rural Alaska in the second week of february . More so when the weather was at negative 30. I just got a trip to east coast for work and oh boy, 38° F   is unbearable.

Mexico was an easy option given the absence of visa hassle. I wanted to avoid Cancun, Cabo and such places during valentine’s day weekend. So Mexico City it was.

Day 0

It was a Friday. Our flight out of LAX wasn’t until mid night. That gave me enough time to dodge the 405 traffic. Or, so I thought.

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Good ol’ 405 at 10 intersection

I do not recall flying out of LAX T2 ever. Its a pretty efficient terminal over all with some good food and drink options. Our flight was a red eye with mid night departure and 5 AM arrival.

Passport control at MEX was a nightmare. It took us 90 minutes get to baggage claim.

I walked over to the car rental counter. I thought I scored a deal when I got $30 for 4 days deal. Heck, little did I know about $50 a day insurance. Well played, Mexico. Also, I couldn’t muster courage to drive around in Mexico with out the insurance from the rental company.

Day 1

By the time we got to the hotel, it was almost 9AM. Ding it. I passed out after break fast only to wake up after 1 PM. The plan was to drive to Zocalo – Mexico City square. We had no idea Pope was visiting the city as well. Darn. Pope has security detail as any head of the state does. And he was in Zocalo. That means all roads leading upto Zocalo was blocked for vehicular traffic.

Change of plans and we decided to head out the city to XochiImilco. It is a sub urbia of Mexico City and gives a glimpse at the effects of rushed urbanization over the years. It is mostly around waters akin to city of Venice in SoCal, albeit, not as hippie but pretty rugged. It’s a great place for tourists – not only to ride the canals, but to explore a smaller village outside Mexico City. We did an hour long boat ride which was pretty good.

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Thats Don Julio talking

That night I grabbed dinner from corner store. Few muy bueno tacos and a soda shot a $4 hole in pocket. You gotta love travelling to developing countries.

Day 2

Not to take chances with getting stuck in traffic, we decided to Uber to the city center. The plan was to walk around the city center and all the good stuff.

I am sucker for typical European city squares. I fell in love with Ghent, BE last year. And with Charleville Maizeres. And with Luxembourg. Well..I could go on and on. But you get my point. Mexico City isn’t much different. Doesn’t surprise me much since Mexico was a Spanish colony for a very long time.

I was in Zocalo. The same place Pope Francis was at a day before. It beautiful. I must have at least a few hundred pictures here.

We walked around Templo Mayor, Torre Latin America towers, presidential palace etc for the rest of the day.

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Zocalo

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From Torre latino tower

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Day 3

Following the heavy inebriation previous night, I wasn’t up until lunch time. It was fine because the only place we planned to visit today was Teotihuacan. It is about an hour’s drive from Mexico city and is home to some of the architecturally magnificent Aztec pyramids.

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3e

 

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Day 4

This is when Murphy’s law struck. And once it did, there was no turning back. Every single thing that could possibly go wrong went absofuckinutely wrong.

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Malleshwaram much?

Our flight back to LAX wasn’t until 8 PM. So we woke right around check out time and made a quick trip to Frida Kahlo Museum.  Frankly, it was meh. But then what do I know about museums? I found Van Gogh museum boring. Well, anyway, we got out soon enough and decided to spend last couple of hours in Zocalo. Remember, I told you I am sucker medieval city squares. We had some good tacos and coffee and before we knew it was 5 PM :O And things started to go wrong.

We started to drive to the airport. Traffic is Mexico City is not too different from that in Bangalore. It sucks. period. And it turns out the pope was coming back to MEX around the same time. Since Pope is treated as the head of the state all the roads leading up to the airport was blocked. Dang. We were in traffic in two hours. Finally when it did clear up, we made a wrong turn and added another 30 minutes. Long story short, by the time we returned the car our flight had departed. There was an AeroMexico flight at 10PM.  Mexico City airport is right up there with Charles De Gaulle in terms of passenger friendliness (or the lack there of).

With out much option left, I was on stand by for 7AM AA flight to LAX and crashed in the airport. Next morning, the stand by cleared and I drove into work from LAX. On the bright side I had best sleep in Y cabin on the flight back to Los Angeles.

And..thats the end of Mexico 2016.

My spring looks pretty dull. Other than enjoying all the good things and weather good ol’ (santa) Barbara has to offer, I am not doing anything. Work. Yes. Lot of that is gonna happen in Q2. Until I take all the saved PTOs and jet off to Eastern Europe for 20 days in early summer..Toodles

 

 

 

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