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Montreal-Mexico City: The Monterrey-Mexico DF Leg of the Journey (And Why Mexican Buses are Better Than U.S.)

Montreal-Mexico City: The Monterrey-Mexico DF Leg of the Journey (And Why Mexican Buses are Better Than U.S.)

Old Jan 22nd, 2005, 06:38 AM
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Montreal-Mexico City: The Monterrey-Mexico DF Leg of the Journey (And Why Mexican Buses are Better Than U.S.)

I spent a day in Monterrey on the way down to Mexico and 2 days on the way up. My second visit here, I must say now that I think Monterrey is one of my favorite cities I think in the world; just so *classy*. Particularly the Macroplaza and the Barrio Antiguo. With classical music emanating from the Palacio de Gobierno, a mime doing a routine that grabbed a crowd, couples strolling along the Paseo de Sta. Lucia, I just felt so *alive* and in awe of the beauty of the architectural, sculptural and artistic *class*, the joie de vivre of the humanity and the mountains surrounding. I walked from the Macroplaza to the Alameda; the vibrantness and energy of the street (Zona Rosa and Cuauhtemoc) reminded me in some respects of New York City (although different).

I took Omnibus de Mexico from Monterrey-Mexico DF (600 pesos). The leg room, assigned more comfy seats and frequency of buses generally puts Greyhound to shame in my opinion. (Greyhound who overbooked most buses by often 10-20 people I took Stateside this journey made me wonder who was 3rd world.) They showed films or played music on the journey, which some people may or may not like, but I find helped pass the time at times.

The scenery from about one hour north of Monterrey (I took Autobuses Americanos San Antonio-Laredo-Monterrey) to Saltillo to San Luis Potosi to Queretaro to Mexico DF(Autopista 57) was one of the most scenic rides I've done in my life, surrounded by mountains that were at time forest-covered, others more desert-like and closer to Mexico City more lightly grassed. Little villages tucked at the base of mountains and colourful churches in the midst of a mostly dusty cement town made me pause and wonder how life was in these faraway lands. Remnants of walls (pre-Hispanic or not, I will never know) and the outside terrain all conspired to remind me that North America is *not really a New World* but an ancient land and made me reflect of the peoples that must have walked the landscapes I was seeing millenia ago.

As we got into San Luis Potosi state, I would see families living on the side of the road with their homes consisting of 4 sticks in the ground with sheets or shirts-tied-together as rooves and the same for walls and doors. In the back of my irrational mind, I wondered if el DF would largely be a bigger version of this (this was my first time south of Monterrey).

Along the way, Saltillo struck me as quite pretty with its mountainous setting, San Luis Potosi in some ways seemed majestic with large statues of Benito Juarez and others greeting you on the sides of the roads approaching the city and Queretaro fertile with surrounding lakes and some lush, green fields. In the future, I think I might like to explore some of these cities.

It was dark as I approached Mexico City for the first time in my 33 years and my palms sweated in antipication. What awaited me in my final destination, where I would spend 6 nights? Stay tuned...

DAN

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Old Jan 22nd, 2005, 08:25 AM
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Great post--and will stay tuned. I agree with all that you write about Monterrey and the buses in Mexico. The US buses are truly like 3rd world !
I usually use the "Ejecutivo" class of service and with the fully reclining sleeper seats, actually get a good nights rest on the bus.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2005, 08:28 AM
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My comment on the buses. Was traveling from San Antonio to Laredo on Greyhound. There wasn't enough room and the driver had me sitting on the step next to her. The bus was filthy, in general disrepair, and the AC couldn't deal with heat. The driver asked me where I was going and I said "to Mexico." She said "How can you go to that disgusting place." Leaving her nasty bus I switched to El Ejecutivo in Laredo for the trip to Saltillo. Cool inside, movies, seats that fully reclined and an attendant serving drinks and sandwiches. Kind of ironic to me. Anyway- suerte- I think you will be amazed in a number of ways once you start to check out Mexico City.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2005, 09:35 AM
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I agree with you about Mexican buses - first class buses definitely more comfortable than the Canadian ones! Looking forward to future posts.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2005, 06:37 AM
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Thank you for you anecdotes and interests. I've now included my first day in Mexico City if you're interested. Dude, your story reminds me how incredible the ignorance on Mexico sometimes is with the questions *certain* Canadians and Americans would ask me (were the roads dirt? were there chickens in the bus with you?).
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Old Jan 23rd, 2005, 05:35 PM
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Daniel, I've enjoyed your posts. I had to laugh at your last comment because I've been asked those exact questions (and many others) during my time in Mexico. And I swear some of my family up north still believe that I ride a mule to the office every day! The only saving grace is that at least they realize Mexico is a different country and are curious enough to ask questions. I think I get more frustrated by visitors who expect everything to be exactly like the US or Canada.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2005, 08:37 PM
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I'm ready to hear the rest of your story!!!
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Old Jan 24th, 2005, 09:00 AM
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Thank you for enjoying the posts. That's what keeps me writing these things.

LA_FadeAway: I realize the story is all disjointed now in the US Forum and Latin America Forum, but the trip report is now complete. Probably the fastest way to find the stories is to double click on my name in Blue underline.

Thanks again!
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Old Jan 24th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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Excellent narrative! I, too, took another venture into Mexico City for the first time in over 15 years (last spring). My only regret was not eating at <<La Gruta>> at Teotihuacan, again! My significant other accompanied me this time (his 1st time to Mexico, ever), he enjoyed our excursion as much as I did! I wanted to show him all that I had seen in my younger days: Guanajuato, Guadalajara, all of DF (y los piramides), ....I could go on! Flying down this spring to San Miguel de Allende to investigate real estate options for possible future location. Can't wait to hear the rest of your experience!
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