Zocalo and Teotihuacan and the Last Day of Vacation

I forced Jamus to wake up early yesterday in order to maximize the amount of time we had seeing Mexico City. After a breakfast of fried tortilla chips, cheese and some salsa verde (I can’t recall the name) we headed from our hotel (on Isabel la Catholica) to the Zocalo, the central square of Mexico City. It’s an imposing sight, with the huge cathedral on one side, the National Palace and other such buildings on all flanks. As we walked through the general Historical Centre district old well preserved colonial buildings were everywhere. A bunch of the museums in the area (which we didn’t get time to see) were housed in these buildings.

Our plan for the day was to head to Teotihuacan, the pyramid most recently used by the Aztecs. Since we only had the day, we took the subway over to the North Bus Station to catch a bus to the complex. The subway system in Mexico City is awesome. To start, it’s two pesos (roughly $0.20) to go anywhere on the map. No worrying about transfers or zones or anything. Just two pesos and go. The signage is unlike any I’ve seen before. Each station has a unique icon and the lines have both numbers and colors. So when you’re on a train car and looking at the line map inside, the icons are there for each station, and if it’s a transfer station they are half (or one third) colored with the connection’s line color. The fonts and colors used in the labeling are also very 70s-ish, but in a way that does not look tacky instead looking like it was intentional. Lastly, the train cars were those not-often-seen rubber tire types like you see in some lines in Paris. All the rolling stock looked exactly the same across lines, which is also unusual (Bombardier manufactured).

The last line we transferred too was shut down during the weekend for work, but they had bus replacement service, which we took to the Autobus station and bought tickets for Teotihuacan. The ride was short (I slept for most of it) and we started to explore the area around Teotihuacan. Jamus and I both felt, that while imposing and grand, the temples of Teotihuacan seem to pale in comparison to the ones on the Yucatan. The Temple of the Sun is undoubtedly huge (third largest in the world) and took quite a bit of effort to scale, and the Temple of the Moon quite attractive and more interestingly appointed. But in general, they just didn’t seem as elaborate as those of the Mayans. In any case, we spent a good amount of time walking and exploring the grounds, many of which you could see excavated apartments and homes, which were definitely cool.

We left Teotihuacan around 430 and found a bus heading back to Mexico City. While waiting, we ran in to some Japanese guys who asked Jamus where to buy bus tickets in excellent Spanish. We were quite amused by the exchange. On our way back, we got out at a bus stop too early since we saw a running metro line near were the bus pulled over. Figuring that it was close enough, we got off and ended up stuck at some other bus station. After some searching we managed to find the entrance to the metro and got some tasty beans/cheese/onion tostadas from a street vendor. We made our way back to the Zocalo where there were a some random Saturday festivities going on. We stayed and watched them for a while, then headed back to our hotel.

For dinner, we ended up at a hole in the wall where I ordered some sopas with queso Oxhaca and a gordita. Tasty for sure although super oily. Food in Mexico did not disappoint at all. After dinner we went back to the Zocalo and went to the rooftop bar/restaurant of the Hotel Majestic (owned/operated by Best Western, gag) to have a drink overlooking the streets below.

Thus ends five weeks of traveling around the world. Starting in Shanghai, to New Delhi, to Mumbai, to London, to New Jersey, to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and to Mexico City, I’m on the flight heading back. I can’t complain much, having had such an awesome trip and now returning home in style. I’ll post some of the cool pictures to the blog later this week.

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