Mexico City is huge and has a lot to offer. A few days are not enough to see it all. Hence, we renamed Mexico City into “Fomo City”. Fomo is the abbreviation for “Fear of Missing Out”. There are things you absolutely should not miss – at least that’s what we think: Besides the cable car in Iztapalapa, of course, Chapultepec Park and the anthropological museum, the ruins of Teotihuacan and the wrestling spectacle Lucha Libre. And of course, a Greta van Fleet concert, should there be one when you’re there, that is.
As soon as we had returned from our trip to Iztapalapa, it was time for the concert! The band Greta van Fleet has been with us for a few years now. The 4 guys from Michigan thrill us with great retro rock album after album, but somehow, they never made it to Switzerland. Well, then we had to visit them in Mexico City. A concert in Latin America had been on our bucket list for years. Ch-ch-check! Another thing off the list! The concert was great, the audience anyway, the beer “Indio”.
While Dave and I jumped into the fray a bit further forward (Co*** is a thing of the distant past, isn’t it?), Nic and Janine stayed a bit further back. After the gig, we left the concert venue sweaty and in a good mood (the Pepsi Center holds about 7000 people and must have been half full). Outside the venue, we noticed noise and commotion coming from the street.
Another spectacle awaited us. Noisy like a bazaar, various traders were offering all kinds of Great van Fleet merchandise in the streets around the Pepsi Center: mugs, cushions, shirts, pens, jumpers, stickers, bags – you name it! We’re pretty sure it wasn’t official merch 😉 We had never experienced anything like this before. We imagined the sellers getting out the heat gun the next day, removing the band logo and sticking the next band’s logo on the fabric.
Although Mexico City is a metropolis of millions, much was within walking distance of our flat. And it’s worth walking the streets. There are great restaurants, street food and street art on every corner and lots to see. No two houses are alike, and the streets are flanked with trees, flowers, and lawns. As we wandered the streets towards the National Museum of Anthropology, we treated ourselves to taco snacks, admired a pretty sweet skate park (and we’re not even skaters) and found the Milagros Temple.
At some point, we must have taken a wrong turn and found ourselves in front of a large, locked gate at the entrance to Chapultepec Park. So, what to do? Without further ado, we slipped through at the bottom of the big metal gate. We didn’t feel like going all the way back and looking for a different entrance, so we decided to break in like the gangsters that we are.
The National Museum of Anthropology
The National Museum of Anthropology houses an extensive collection of archaeological and ethnographic pieces documenting Mexico’s development. From room to room, different peoples and eras are on display, from prehistory to the present. So, we could marvel at pottery from the Mayas or the Teotihuacáns. After looking at clay figures, plates, and arrowheads for 2 hours, our heads were spinning. Who made what and when again?
The Spaniards again
What amazed me was that the Spanish had already started colonising Mexico in 1520. As a result, many adventurers and settlers from Spain came to central Mexico, and the Aztec religion was displaced by Christianity and much of the indigenous culture was wiped out. On one hand, I was not aware that this had happened so long ago. On the other hand, I found it impressive how much the Spaniards had destroyed during their invasion. Nevertheless, it was exciting to see how missionised Christianity was integrated into Mexican or indigenous customs. Incidentally, Moctezuma’s revenge, the traveler’s diarrhoea, dates from the time of the Spanish invasion. Moctezuma was an Aztec king who took revenge for the Spanish raids and destruction by giving the Spaniards digestive problems. Or maybe it wasn’t him at all, but just a bit too much chilli. Who knows?
Another highlight was the wrestling event of the Mexican league “Lucha Libre“. At 30 USD per person, the entrance fee was not exactly cheap. But we were first searched by a person at the entrance. Then a second person checked our tickets. A third person led us to our seats. And a fourth person immediately took the drink order. Also, the second-row seats that we chose would cost many times more at wrestling events in the USA and Europe.
The evening started with a men’s “junior” match. This was followed by a very entertaining women’s round. 2 teams of 3 female fighters each, with names like Metalica and La Seductora, fought for victory. With, in my opinion, also nasty methods like hair pulling. With each round, the audience heated up more and shouted all kinds of insults into the ring. Esfinge (Spanish for Sphinx) was simply renamed “Pikachu” (the yellow Pokémon). The highlight of the evening was supposed to be the fight between the reigning champion Templario and his challenger Soberano. But shortly after the fight started, Templario held his ankle after kicking Soberano. We all thought it was part of the show, even when the doctor in the typical white coat came into the ring. But Templario had really hurt his foot and had to give up. That was an abrupt end to the evening!
The ruins of Teotihuacan
The last attraction we visited in Mexico City was the ruins of Teotihuacan. It is home of the third largest pyramid in the world: The Pyramid of the Sun. It is located about 1 hour’s drive outside the city. Thanks to Nick and Janine’s rental car, we didn’t have to worry about a taxi or a bus. We followed the recommendation to take a guide, who walked us through the impressive site for 2 hours. The 2000-year-old ruined metropolis with its stepped temples and pyramids is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The huge complex was built stone by stone by hand back then. And the fact that this was only one of countless buildings of this kind throughout Central America only makes the visit even more impressive.
A lot of effort went into it
Since the arrival of the Spanish, archaeological excavations and restorations have been carried out at Teotihuacan – sometimes in an amateurish way. For example, the Pyramid of the Sun now has 5 steps instead of 4 because one of the restorers made wrong assumptions. Also, when the walls were rebuilt, small black stones were inserted, so that the restoration is clearly visible today, but no longer corresponds to the original. After the tour, we could taste Xoconostle liqueur, which is fermented in the stump of the agave where all the leaves come together. It tasted like sweet kombucha. Although we are not usually fans of such drinks, we would have bought a bottle if we hadn’t been travelling only with hand luggage.
Our great stay Mexico City had come to an end. Our days were packed with work, sightseeing, relaxing, and eating. We treated ourselves to Indian food a whole 4 times – why not? We were surprised at how diverse, green, and clean the city was, and even in the poorer neighbourhoods, the streets were paved everywhere. Early in the morning on the day of our departure, we got a parting gift as Nick drove us to the airport. The police stopped us, checked the vehicle documents, and found that the registration had expired. Presumably the car rental company had failed to provide the latest printout. We were only allowed to drive on after paying a “fee”. Many thanks for that! Without further incident we were able to board the plane back to La Paz and were already back with Milagros in Puerto Escondido in the afternoon.
Aaaaaand we started planning our last 6 weeks of this sailing season. Stay tuned!
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