Mexico Trip Journal – Day 2 – Mexico City

categories: mexico travel

A little mixup at the hostel. i think I may have claimed someone else’s bed, or at least someone else was in it when I went to bed. But my sheets, towel and blankets were in that bed so I did not sleep as well as I could have. The hostel breakfast was eggs with some sort of sausage which was filling but my stomach was still settling to Mexico.


I took the metro to Coyoacan to meet up with Amateur Traveler listener Ana Laura (and guest on an upcoming episode on Mexico City). I had been warned against using the metro at rush hour and it is more challenging at that hour as you push yourself onto the car and off again. Rush hour aside the metro is a wonderful way to get around. People on the train (not at rush hour) were selling CDs, tissues, etc. Seeing someone selling classical music CDs on the metro was interesting. The guys have big boom boxes on their back so you can hear what they are selling.

I got there an hour early and just watched the people go by. I was feeling a bit lonely, I am not sure how much I am cut out to be a solo traveler, so it was a treat to get a tour of Coyoacan. Ana Laura’s family came to Mexico from Argentina. She said that her mother had trouble with transitioning to a country where she could not drink the water.

Coyoacan is an old area as Cortez setup his house there shortly after the conquest of the Aztecs. It is also an expensive area as Ana Laura pointed out one house that sold recently for $2M. Coyoacan is a very pretty neighborhood which attracted artists and at least one Russian exile by the name of Trotsky who was assassinated in Coyoacan.

Cortez's church - Coyoacan

We visited the church that Cortez built and attended. It is a beautiful church with lovely murals on the walls with stories of the saints. It is a surprisingly large church. There is a stone cross outside that Ana Laura said was where they held services for the native people who were afraid of going into a church. It is a plain cross instead of the typical catholic crucifix since they did not want to remind the people of their previous practice of human sacrifice.

We also toured the local market (known for its costumes) and some of the lesser known backstreets before Ana Laura dropped me back off at the metro.

Mexico City is at over 7000 feet so I needed to rest a bit at the hostel to catch my breath before heading around the corner to find a great al pastor taco at a local taco stand. Al pastor is pork cooked in the same style as a greek Giro, a Turkish doner kabab, or Middle Eastern shawarma. Mine was served with onions and pineapple which I was told is the style in Mexico City.

After that I walked to the Chapultepec park down the Passeo de la Reforma which is where many of Mexico’s newest skyscrapers are located. The architecture of some of the latest buildings is quite striking and the avenue is also dotted with numerous monuments.

The unexpected treat of my walk was that when I stopped on a bench to rest my weary feet a 65 year old Mexican man struck up a conversation in Spanish and we talked for most of an hour about my trip, his love of opera (he is a tenor), his business (he sells insurance out of the Torre Latinamericanna), my business (more difficult to explain building online communities in Spanish). I did not know that I could hold a conversation for that long in Spanish but it helps when you have a patient listener. We exchanged email addresses. This was the sort of thing I was hoping would happen as I travelled solo.

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

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