Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dancing Queen

After the Pyramids we set our sights on Coyoacan. The hippie hub of Mexico City. We wandered around an eclectic mix of stalls with all kinds of wares for purchase, grabbed a burger from one of said stalls, caught a danza arabe (belly dancing) show and witnessed an Aztec (or representation thereof) dancey-thing. Rounded off with some beer in what resembled a small fishbowl. Dee-lish!

Amongst the collection of arts and crafts, trinkets and baubles, bags, shoes and wot-nots, were more than a few areas set aside for the adventurous. Adventurous meaning getting a piercing or tattoo under dubious conditions. If I had've had any money left I would've joined in the fun, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), there were only pennies jangling in my pockets. Sigh.

'anThe Aztec display was quite intriguing. We had no idea what they were wishing to protray but it was interesting to see. And quite different to kapahaka that I know from home. (check out this one for a slice of Maori improv)

A wonderfully relaxing finish to an exhaustingly energetic day (well energetic if you're exercise impared like myself). Cold beer. Entertainment. A taxi ride to the station. What more could a girl ask for?

Stairs Up. Stairs Down. Stairs. All Around.

Teotihuacan. The Pyramids. The ruins. The crazy stairs. It was amazing.

Nothing like starting the day with a boob or two. Not the feminine anatomical kind, but the kind that make you feel like a complete prat when you realise what you've done. The first belonged to a travelling companion who herded us to the wrong rendez-vous point. But this was easily and painlessly fixed. The next was all mine...

I was stopped at the entrance to the Pyramids and told that "we" had to pay here because "we" weren't from Mexico. Now I say "we" cos I was in the group but I was never asked to pay. Course me in all my blind honesty fronted the entrance fee (which was double the bus fare from the city) and we continued on our way. It wasn't until we were within striking distance of the Avenue of the Dead that I realised that I'd paid uneccesarily. D'oh! Being a darker shade of caramel does have its advantages in this country, they think you're native. Being of a white chocolate complexion however does you no good at all.

The sun was shining with some ferocity that bonny april Sunday. The sky was brilliant in all its azulness, the clouds were suitably white and candyfloss-esque. And it was under this blanket of a fine autumn morning that we made our way towards the beckoning pyramids. Still not appreciating their giganticness in this early part of our outing.
Now I readily admit I am a pain in the preverbial when it comes to visiting places of interest. I may stroll in everyday life, but when it comes to areas where there may be plenty of photo ops, not to mention things to see, I become positively tortise-like.

The Sun Pyramid was the first sight to see on our agenda. Well it couldn't really be missed, being that it dominated the skyline when looking down the Avenue of the Dead. The stairs were a much better work out than any stair master could possibly give you. And the view from the top was superb. Which was of course appreciated at length, considering you practically induced a heart attack climbing to the pinnacle.
The trip back down is not quite so cardiac arrestish, but you are very aware that if you trip and fall, its one helluva long, bumpy and very painful arrival at the bottom that would spell the end of your holiday. Upon reaching the bottom of the Pyramid, we were greeted by a collection of panama-hat-adorned vendors plying their wares. But in a manner most reminiscent of vendors in Nepal, they delivered their sales pitch half-heartedly. This could have been due to the sun and heat (by this time I was becoming a two tone shade of strong coffee and milk tea with a red cherry atop my shoulders that used to resemble me), or just the general laidback attitude of the local populace. I personally think it was more of the latter than the former.
By now I had also developed some very impressive blisters on my feet so my pace slowed to that of a geriatric tortoise. Good for taking pics and admiring the scenery, not so good when trying to avoid being slow roasted by the sun or when there are four other people waiting for you to get a move on.

But get a move on I did (painfully aware that anything resembling normal speed spelt doom for my tootsies) and we proceeded onward and upward. To the Moon Pyramid. Thankfully which is either still being reconstructed or they've given up and you can only get halfway up. Hurrah! I found a comfy spot (hard to do on solid rock), parked my but and let the others walk around, take photos and do the touristy thing.
Back down on the ground- the Moon being much more blister friendly- we made our way to the exit where one of our party had been waiting for some time. I gave up many opportunities to buy a bow 'n arrow (of which I'm quite proud, I was dead jealous of the kids shooting each other) but couldnt resist the cowboy hat. Yes. A cowboy hat. Made from corn leaves. I love it. Course my mates (especially the Mexicans) thought it was hilarious, being that I bought it after I had turned a lighter shade of crispy. Well what can I say? Yee-hah!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Semana Santa

Easter in Mexico. It's usually Thursday thru Sunday for the working masses and of course the whole week for the students (oh to be a student again). My guide (sister) taking me to see some Mayan pyramid ruins in Teotenango and Malinalco. Bloody typical of most indeginous peoples that they built these things on top of a ruddy hill. Great for tactical purposes but absolute bollocks for lazy tourists like myself. However the space up there was great and the view on a fine day pretty spectacular. Back in the day there would have been no chance of a "sneak attack" on these places. While in Malinalco we were witness to a parade of sorts. Young and old "Roman" Centurions were ambling around the streets with "Jesus" accompanied by music. Some of the centurions looked more than a little bored, and the kids amongst them looked somewhat baffled by the whole thing. The village of Malinalco is pretty cool, quaint and idyllic although the "river" is a bit odorous, and the icecream is superb!

Also on the agenda was a day trek out to the capital city to have a look around. It was dead quiet, everybody having headed off to greener pastures for their long weekend. There was only one thing that I was dead keen to see and that was the Frida Kahlo museum. I first came to know about her at uni and I figured why not? I'm in Mexico, she's Mexican and her house is the museum, so what the hell. The house is fantastic. With a courtyard that now serves as a garden cafe, two levels, lots of exposed stonework and wood. The kitchen is huge, they've kept her and her husband's studio, her body cast is on display and the beds are so tiny. We were wondering where the original dunnies (loos, latrines, lavatories, toilets) were tho', there being no plumbing in the house and everything...

The long weekend was finished off with a veg day on Saturday (pizza, beer and loads of junk food) and a fantastic meal out on Sunday at Otro Barrio. It's a Uruguayan cum Italian place and the food... Oh. My. God.
If you come visit me we are going there. Come hell or high water. That is the place to eat.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mexican Fiesta

So it came to pass that I was involved in a bonafide Mexican Fiesta. There was family. There was booze. There was plenty of food. There was however, no piñata. Bugger.

It was my sister's boss's mum's birthday (try and get that grammatically correct when English grammar is not your forté) and we had a barbie. In the rain. The Mexican weather gods deciding that the old dear had better be inside in the warm for her big day. My sister and I were the cooks (and let me just say that if we haven't cooked for you, you have been missing out on extraordinary culinary skills) and it was up to the others to keep us suitably liquored up. Which they did with exemplary flair and panache (ok so pouring glasses of wine does not take a whole lot of imagination, but it was free flowing and without pause).

As the whanau (family) didn't speak English, Spanish was the language of communication. And it was dead embarrasing realising exactly how much I have forgotten in the years since I graduated uni with Spanish as my major. I could understand it (a bit) and speak it (even less than a bit) but most of the time I just nodded and smiled and tried not to look like the dopey relative who drools in the corner at family gatherings.

All in all tho' it was a fantastic day and a great introduction to Mexican family life. I look forward to the next fiesta where hopefully there'll be a piñata!
Well you know, simple things...