Mexico, Part One

Bienvenido, loyal reader. Please join Bruce and Mary as they explore the capital of Mexico, commonly called simply Mexico by locals or Ciudad de Mexico or D.F. (Day Effe) for Distrito Federal. Do I look like I’ve been up since 5? We’re flying VivaAerobus for the first time as they had the cheapest tix (that we could find) from our home, Puerto Vallarta, to DF at only $112 USD per round trip. But there are no frills. They are about to weigh our carry-ons, we are barely under the 10 kg weight limit.

We have passed through security and I am enjoying a 140P Bloody Mary. What the heck, we’re on vacation! In this lounge we are surrounded by spring breakers from Detroit. Our server, an older guy, shares with us that these situations are a nightmare for him, big tables all asking for individual checks. So, naturally, when we get our check, I say, “Las cuentas separadas, porfa.” He threatens to strangle me and then offers me a job.

Our flight took off an hour late but made up a half hour in flight so we find ourselves at this taxi station, inside the airport, a little after 11. This is where we purchase our ticket for a taxi ride to Hotel Cartagena. Mary had researched and found that this taxi outfit is highly regarded.

We’re a little early for check-in so after stowing our luggage we visit the hotel restaurant for beers and…

Grub, this is Mary’s sopa de cebolla, all yours Mary: Look at all those onions! This onion soup is slightly different than the classic beef broth base, and I approve. Very tasty, and the onions are covering up a piece of bread covered in cheese, I find this bread and have at it. Wonderful.

This is my tuna stuffed avocado. It is amazing how filling this appetizer is.

While we are eating we’re told that our room is ready. Let’s check it out.

This is a pretty nice room, it’s big with a king size bed and the cost is only 600P about 30 bucks/night at current exchange rates.

After settling in we go for a walk and try to get our bearings. When Mary had booked this place, Google gave her the impression that Centro Historico was walk-able from here. I don’t think so. We end up taking a taxi to Centro and it is about a half hour ride, for 100P. We are fortunate in that our taxista is a well read man and we get a heck of a tour in the process.

We arrive at the Zocalo, the main park, and as it is beer thirty we allow ourselves to be hawked up to this third floor bar/restaurant. At 35P/beer the prices are a little higher than we are used to.

This is our view of Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de Mexico from La Terraza.

On the horizon is the PalacioNacional. To the right is the northern edge of Plaza de la Constitucion, second only to Red Square as the largest square in the world. This weekend there is a “buy local” fair, featuring arts, craft and of course food.

At this point, late in the afternoon, on a day that started at 5am, we decide that this is where we need to stay. So the search is on for a hotel, here in centro. We check a lot of hotels and in the process we find that a 400P hotel is pretty much exactly what you’d expect. Finally we find El Principal, an older but well maintained property. With an upgrade to a king size bed the cost is 800P. Sounds good but Mary wants to check one more hotel that intrigued her, online. We do find it and like many hotels, as this is the weekend, it is booked. So back to El Principal but wouldn’t you know, I got turned around. How that can happen walking a grid, I cannot explain. Finally we find it again and book it for tomorrow, Sunday night. Next course of business, supply our hotel room. With beer and vodka, that is. We find an Oxxo a half block away and stock up. We quickly hail a taxi and are on our way back to Hotel Cartagena.

Mary’s beer and my vodka are on ice, back at the room, it is time for food. All yours, Mary: Again with the soup, but I do love it. This version of the quintessential Sopa de Tortilla has the addition of pasilla peppers. Deliciously smoky, sweet and slightly spicy.

Despite the length of the day and all our running around, I don’t have much of an appetite. This very tasty Chicken Consomme fills the bill just fine. We have found that consomme down here is not the clear broth you would see NOB, it is packed with chicken, rice and vegetables.

Back in our room we binge watch Modern Family until a little later than we intended so we sleep in the next day. We are on holiday, after all. After an excellent breakfast it is time to…

Taxi to El Principal in Centro Historico. We see that DF, just like Vallarta and Merida, also has the Sunday Biciruta.

Remembering that I have a fish eye lens, here is our room at El Principal. It is beautiful and super comfortable. Check in was pretty simple. We told them our names, they gave us a key. After settling in we head down and reserve this room for the next three nights.

After a light lunch we find this trolley car tour just northwest of the Plaza. At only 30P it seems like a pretty good deal so we hop aboard. It is about a 20 minute tour, following are some of the sights.

This is the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

This is Mexico’s House of Representatives.

And this is the Tomb of Presidente Benito Juarez, the father of the country. Mexico celebrates his birth today, Feliz Cumpleaños Benito.

Our tour is concluded. This is a street view of the Catedral…

We are inside the Catedral. That is quite the set of pipes on that organ, eh?

After freshening up back at our room we have walked a half block to a restaurant row and settled on Restaurante Antonella. This is my Filete Pescado ala Diabla. Our server, Raul, was concerned that it might be too hot a dish for a gringo but I assured him that I love picoso. Little did I know that I had issued a challenge to the chef. This is the spiciest fish fillet I have ever had. But very tasty!

Mary has the Filete Empanizado. Let’s hear about it: Not a big fish fan, this is the one dish I am safe in ordering. Breaded, nicely crispy and huge. This feeds me and Bruce!

After dinner we stroll back to our room and, guess what? Binge on Modern Family, once again.

Thanks for visiting, gentle reader. Mexico Part 2 is coming up next. Hasta proximo Domingo!

March 19, 2017 · Bruce · 20 Comments
Posted in: Life in Puerto Vallarta