Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Mexico & Central America (
-   -   Viva mexico (

Tdiddy12 Dec 22nd, 2019 06:43 PM

Viva mexico
After our six week trip to Costa Rica, we have moved on to Mexico! First order of business will Interjet still be in operation for our flight from SJO to MEX. And the answer is yes and it was a fine flight. About three months ago there were negative stories about Interjet staying in business but they are still flying.

3 hour flight to CDMX, pretty uneventful actually get in early but no open terminal. Grab our bags and exit customs, there seems to be a special exit for Americans? We were directed to a separate line and scanned our passports. Super easy. Hay no problemas. Mexico City has the best system for grabbing a cab. You go to a ticket booth, buy a ticket and show it to the cabbie. $247 pesos to Centro Historico.

This is our first time in CDMX so I’m pretty wide eyed driving into town. It reminds me of Paris, the metal stairways over streets, some of the buildings, the narrow roads at times. Of course it is nothing like Paris but the “feel” was. So as we get closer to the Center, it is reminding me more of Paris. And it’s really clean, I mean the big boulevards are unexpectedly tidy.

This may be a good place to enter my American bias. Sadly in the last three years the word Mexican has become a slur in the US. First of all, I have never bought into that BS. I have Hispanic friends in Los Angeles and in 40 years of traveling to Mexico I’ve never had any problems. However, it seems every time you tell somebody, non travelers, generally, that you are going to Mexico you always get the same, “ aren’t you nervous there, aren’t you afraid??” And they are right, in the last 7 weeks we’ve been traveling there have been about 10 shootings! ALL IN THE US. Nuff said.

Back to Mexico City, it’s gorgeous right now. The Zocalo is all dressed up with Christmas decorations, there is a skating rink, bustling with laughing, happy people. It’s simply wonderful. Check into Hotel Central Zocalo. Quite a nice hotel for us, very nicely appointed to hide the fact that you are staying in a broom closet! The room is very tiny, but they have created lots of little cubby holes to stash stuff, which is helpful, because the end of the bed just about touches the wall.

Unpack and the hotel recommends Hosteria Santa Domingo. A place around since 1860. I guess they are doing something right. The chicken Mole was dark and spicy but not over the top. It was late and they would be closing soon, so we were waited on very quickly. Worth the trip but now we are dead tired and back to the hotel to start our adventure inMexico City tomorrow!

crellston Dec 22nd, 2019 10:25 PM

A great start to your trip report Tdiddy12. We were there this time last year and loved it. Like you we had lots of negative comment re safety etc. before we left but experienced no issues whatsoever. In fact we felt as safe as anywher we have visited and the Mexicans are the most hospitable and friendly people. I see from your othe repost that you are in Morelia - enjoy! One of my favourite towns and I wish we had spent longer there. Do check out the theatre there. We chanced upon a great Argentine tango show there which was fantastic - there always seems to be something going on.

Will be following along and with a view to a possible return trip. Have been missing tacos and tequila for some time now!

Tdiddy12 Dec 23rd, 2019 02:58 AM

Hey Crellston! I followed your TR of Mexico last year with much joy!

Tdiddy12 Dec 23rd, 2019 03:29 AM

Day 2 - didn’t sleep well last night because of too much mole in my belly! We are going to have to alter our Paris “model” for this trip. Our Paris model, and I know not unique to us, is, up and out early, museum, lunch, museum, back at hotel by 4:00PM for nap, reading, relaxing, then out the door at 7PM, for sights and dinner. Of course in Paris you have to wait to generally 8 to eat. First time we went into a restaurant in Paris for dinner at 6:00, the waiter looked at us like some rabble out of Les Miserable! So this works fine in Paris where the food is rich and the portions are small, not in Mexico, where the food is rich and the portions are huge!

We start out our day with a walking tour. I generally try to start a new city with this type of tour, hooks you up with a local, and you can learn a lot. Our tour with Hermez from Strawberry tours is no exception. Start at the statue of Benito Juarez on Alameda Parque and end up at the Templo Mayor. Toured the Belles Arts, Post Office, Madera Street, La Opera restaurant to see the hole Pancho Villa shot in the ceiling! Plus a stop at a guy who makes ice cream and ended at Zocalo. Really great. I give him a healthy tip which is of course the plan, and he was off for an afternoon tour!

Had lunch on 5 de Mayo, ok not great. Eating early today, especially given the breakfast buffet at the hotel, huge. These chocolate croissants that are going to go right to my I had to eat two to maintain balance.

Walked back to Palacio de Belles Arts to get tickets for the Ballet Folklorica de Mexico. I bought the cheapest tickets, $300 pesos per person. This may come back to haunt me?

Nightime at the Zocalo, again the joy of the Mexican people is wonderful to see, I know it’s Christmas so it’s already a magical time, but still all the kids, families, skating, we are a George Bailey shy of It’s a Wonderful Life. Big concert, Mambo! Some old guy up on stage in a cool hat charming the crowd, then they bring on this skinny goofy looking guy to me, hair up in a top notch, wearing a sarong looking thing, and the crowd goes crazy. Obviously this “goofy” looking guy is someone because everyone’s cell phone comes out and they are singing along.

Great end to our first full day in CDMX.

ms_go Dec 23rd, 2019 04:15 AM

Following along and looking forward to more. We spent the Thanksgiving weekend in CDMX and stayed at the sister property, Historico Central Hotel, which we really liked. We had drinks on the roof of Zocalo Central a couple of times. We got a lot of the same ("You're going WHERE?") before our trip. A relative said something to the effect of, "I've made my last trip to Mexico!" on one of my Facebook posts. Her loss.... We really enjoyed CDMX a lot and wonder why it took us so many years to get there. It won't be our last visit.

I'm still trying to get through all of our our photos. If I ever do, I'll try getting a short trip report together.

mlgb Dec 23rd, 2019 11:50 AM

Looking forward to your reporting. Just in time for me.

Leely2 Dec 23rd, 2019 12:49 PM

Thanks for your report! I love Mexico City (the art, the architecture, the food, the people, the intensity) and would enjoy seeing the Zocalo all decked out for the holidays if you're inclined to post any pics.

Tdiddy12 Dec 23rd, 2019 01:12 PM

Hey ms go - How did you like that location at Central Historico, were the rooms small? The staff at the Zocalo were super nice, we ran into a number of them on the street and they were above the grade, but we’ll probably try another area next time.

Tdiddy12 Dec 23rd, 2019 01:38 PM

Day 3 - Templo Mayor. Bit chilly today, mind you we’ve spent the last six weeks in flip flops and bathing suits in CR, but it is somewhat comical to see all of the locals dressed in mufflers, stocking caps and winter coats! We are both from the Midwest, Chicago and Michigan, so even after 40 years in California, this is not cold to us, but chilly!

For some reason, Templo Mayor is closed today (Wednesday), but the guard says the ruins are free so we check them out. Nice English descriptions. Pretty mind boggling that this used to be in the middle of a lake. From what I understand the lake is reclaiming half of the city by the annual sinking rate. After the Templo, we head to Antigua Collegio de San Ildefonso, right around the corner. Apparently this is where Diego Garcia met Frida Kahlo, we looked for a heart with DG loves FK in it but no luck. Did see a lot of phenomenal murals and a solo art show by a Mexican, Sandra Pani, very interesting.

Dinner at Cafe Tacuba. Reviews are mixed, but it’s a pretty place, my Chile Rellenos were in a fairly boring sauce. So I guess I’m voting so-so. But it’s kind of on the way to the Palacio de Bellas Artes for the Ballet Folklorico. This building is phenomenal. Remember the $300 peso tickets, they are way up there. We keep going up flight after flight of stairs, past primarily empty seats in the lower sections but every time we show our ticket they keep pointing up. This place has more levels than Carl Jung. Get to the last section before you are outside with the pidgeons and this section is packed. Every seat is taken!

The stage screen alone is worth the admission, made by Tiffany. The Ballet is great and from this height, you don’t see anyone’s face but you get. Real clear shot of the patterns. We head out a little early and sneak into the floor section just as all of the dancers come out into the crowd and pick people out of the audience to dance with them. Very nice touch.
Late night for us, out almost to 11:30PM!

ms_go Dec 23rd, 2019 02:09 PM

Originally Posted by Tdiddy12 (Post 17034218)
Hey ms go - How did you like that location at Central Historico, were the rooms small? The staff at the Zocalo were super nice....

I did like the location. It was convenient to several metro stations. We were on a very short trip - 4 days, 5 nights - so we splurged a bit on a room with a private terrace. The room, itself, wasn't huge, but it was well designed, and the terrace was nice for coffee in the morning, afternoon breaks, etc. We were very pleased with the hotel and staff, and we were happy to be in that location with all the available services for a first visit. That said, next time - and there will be a next time - we will probably go for an apartment in a different neighborhood, which is how we usually travel. We spent a nice afternoon walking around Roma and La Condesa, which we liked a lot.

crellston Dec 23rd, 2019 10:17 PM

"These chocolate croissants that are going to go right to my I had to eat two to maintain balance." going to be using that one over the Christmas hols!

Great stuff, keep it coming!

Tdiddy12 Dec 24th, 2019 05:40 AM

Crellston - Indeed, thinking we would miss out on the usual Christmas food orgies in the States by spending time in food “impoverished” Mexico was a rather misinformed rationalization!

Tdiddy12 Dec 24th, 2019 06:24 AM

Day 4 - Later start today given that our legs are tired from simply watching the Ballet Folklorico. If you have seen the group you will understand, there is a lot of stomping going on down there. Today we head to Museo Nacional de Arte in a magnificent building, the former Ministry of Communications and Public Works building, which leads me to wonder, just how much Gold and Silver did they pull out of this country, that the Cell Phone guys and the Plumbers had their own building with a statue of Charles the IV in front of it!

If I may, let me talk about Mexican Museums in CDMX. The government, or some entity has taken all of these fantastic old buildings and turned them into museums, every kind of museum you could want. Yes I know the Louvre was a Palace before it was a museum, and the D’Orsay a train station, but no one does it to the level of Mexico City. And generally the prices are minimum. With a few pesos you can get into a lot of museums.

So, for the Museo de Arte, we set a plan, let’s go to the top of the building and work our way down. Good plan, except the top floor represents all of the 1600’s artwork which of course is a ton of Madonnas and Jesus, which usually leads me to wonder, how did a kid born in a manger, get to be so rolly poly? There is however nice translations about how art was intertwined with politics at that time. The salons and the politics of Mexican vs. Spanish artists.

Next floor down is where the good stuff is, IMHO. We go through rooms and rooms of excellent art all of it by Mexican Artists. Funny thing, the guards are super serious here, nary a smile. So, the museum is $70 pesos to get in and an extra $5 pesos to take pictures. At first I balked, don’t even ask, brain freeze I guess, as I’m checking my bag, I realize $5 is a quarter, so I pay up to take pictures. Now this is what I love about Mexico, if I can explain it. I am given what is obviously a folded up paper ticket that has been stapled to create a ring that you slip on your finger. So I’m walking around with a little origami on my finger, and believe me the guards are looking for that ring if you are taking pictures. Wifey took a picture, no origami and she was chastised!

Dinner tonite was at a taco stand with seating on the second floor. Awesome. 6 tacos, 1 cerveza, 1 Fresca = $5 US. Quick little calculator for everyone. In Costa Rica right now the exchange is about 550 colones to $1. So you multiply everything by 2 and that is what it costs. So that $6 hamburger is actually $12! Not cheap. In Mexico, right now roughly, $1 is 20 pesos, so you divide everything by 2 and take away a zero. So a $200 peso entree is $100 minus a zero = $10! In St. Maarten there is a saying, you stay on the Dutch side and eat in the French side. It doesn’t work that easily with Mexico/Costa Rica.

Daniel_Williams Dec 24th, 2019 02:24 PM

A trip to Mexico City back in 2005 changed forever the way that I saw North America and sparked an interest in pre-Columbian civilization that has never abated. An amazing trip that made me feel that I was in Europe at times, that also brought me to visit numerous other fascinating Mexican cities in later years. Thanks so much for your trip report, for bringing back memories of the vibrant capital!

Tdiddy12 Dec 24th, 2019 03:23 PM

Thanks Daniel! We have been Coastal Mexican travelers for about 40 years, sometimes 10 years between trips, so you can imagine the experience we are having in the hinterlands. I also understand the fascination with Pre-Colombian history, it’s amazing to think that Tenochtitilan was like the biggest city the world when the Spaniards came in, stole all the good stuff and paid the bill with smallpox.

Tdiddy12 Dec 24th, 2019 03:39 PM

Friday, Day 5 - Caught a little bug somewhere in the last day or two so am a walking food processor at this time and have a little trouble with energy, but this afternoon we go to the Cathedral. I can see why Daniel Williams felt he was in Europe. Been in a lot of Cathedrals and this is up there with the best. After the Cathedral we walk down the Calle that runs down the north side of Palacio Nacional, it’s called Moneda. Right after the Palacio, it got crazy, there are streets and streets full of people and merchandise, on the sidewalks, in the middle of the streets, vendors hawking stuff, but not in your face, just yelling, “I’ve got underwear, $10 pesos”. Reminds me of Rommel during WWII, who said “men everyone gets a change of underwear”, big applause. “Fritz you change with Erich, Heinrich you change with Albert”. Be here all week tip your waitresses.

Anyways, it was a huge amount of people unlike anything I’ve seen since Vietnam. Crellston you would have loved it!

Simple dinner tonite of Aztec Soup, I would call it Tortilla soup, nice amount of Avocado, tons of tortilla strips. Nice little jazz band on the street outside Cafe El Popular playing a nice mix of the real stuff, Brubeck, Miles. Good to be alive.

Tdiddy12 Dec 25th, 2019 07:36 AM

Day 6 - Last Day
Yesterday was a lost day, planned to go to Chapultepec but didn’t make it. So off to the Palacio Nacional. No line, heads up, you have to give them an ID that they keep while you are inside. Crellston hipped us to this. Guard took one drivers license for both of us. The draw here as most know is the Diego Rivera staircase murals, but the inside courtyards are a very nice touch of peace in a bustling city. The staircase is actually closed for restoration, but you have a pretty good view of the murals. On the second floor however, there are a second set of murals that surround the courtyard that I had never read about by Rivera. IMHO you have much better access to them, also you can see the staircase murals from the second floor. This is such an amazing amount of work it’s hard to describe.

Checked out the reproduction of the Congress Hall, original burned, and Juarez’s apartments. Again, no charge for all of this. Would do it again! Late lunch at Sanborn’s in the Casa Azul. You have to go check this building out. It’s a standard on the tourist trail but well worth it. The food is not gourmet, but practicing our Spanish with the waitress who has been there for 38 years was a delectable dessert.

Back at the hotel to practice our Booing, that’s right, tonight is Lucha Libre, Get Ready To Rumble! OMG this was the most amount of fun. Went to the Coloseo which is close to Historico and a lot smaller than the Arena. $5 tickets put us 6 rows back. We laughed so much, it is super camp, but some of the gymnastics these guys pull off are really amazing. Of course there are the barrelhouse punches that miss there target by a foot and the receiving wrestler goes flying to the canvas. Too funny.

What a way to end our 6 days in beautiful Mexico City! Last night I read the two Fodor’s streams about Politics and traveling and the Age old question of vacation vs. traveling. I was impressed that the Politic stream stayed polite and a lot of good points were made. Isn’t the word polite somehow the basis for Politic? Don’t know but it sure isn’t today. Met a guy from San Diego who asked about the Red or I guess 4 rating for Guerrero, where we are headed at the end of our trip. How does Guerrero get a 4 and Texas doesn’t at least have a three!

As for the vacation/travel question. I’m not going to make any new points here, but to me travel means to look for something new. I want to think I am a traveler not a tourist, but in reality I have been within a 20 square block radius in Mexico City. The only glimpse I saw of the non shiny Mexico City was on the way in from the Airport and our brief walk through the lovely chaos of Christmas shopping behind the Palacio Nacional yesterday. Traveler / Tourist / Vacation / Travel , who cares, all that is important is the Doing It. Respecting other people and knowing we are all One and trying to see the touch of humanity in all. Tomorrow Morelia! Viva Mexico.

mlgb Dec 25th, 2019 08:27 AM

Thanks for the report and tips. Have fun in Guerrero.

We didn't have any issues in Downtown Acapulco off our cruise last month. OTOH, in supposedly safe Puerto Vallarta there was just a headless body on the exact beach at the Ameca River mouth (Boca de Tomates) where we finished our birding tour! And I'm pretty sure it wasn't a crocodile that did it (although my friend was sorry he watched one of those finish off a chicken).

baldone Dec 25th, 2019 12:02 PM

Random comments.
First, thanks for the excellent TR. We haven't actually stayed in Centro for many years, but I think next time for sure.
I agree about Sanborn's and the Casa De Azulejos. It's a beautiful place well worth seeing even if just for coffee. Or a beer as was our case hiding out from a downpour.
We liked Cafe Tacuba for breakfast. The waitress let us buy one of copper pitchers that was on each table. Still have it almost 20 years later.
Likewise we were beach people for about 10 years until discovering colonial Mexico. Such a rich history. I've read comments such as 'I love Mexico' by those that have never ventured inland. They don't know what they're missing.
While in Morelia, you should try/buy some coffee from La Lucha. My very biased and subjective opinion is it's the best in Mexico. It's sourced only in Michoacán from local growers, but not in quantities enough for export or even distribution to the rest of Mexico.
The post office, or Palacio De Correos, in Mexico City's centro is a fabulous building.

Tdiddy12 Dec 25th, 2019 03:11 PM

Thanks Baldone! We did go into the Palacio de Correos on our walking tour. Fantastic building. When we were there they had a display on people emigrating to Mexico, very interesting. They have a giant eagle in the Museo part of the post office that is maybe 5’ x 6‘ and when you get up to it you can see that it was made of postage stamps. Real cool.

Tdiddy12 Dec 26th, 2019 11:28 AM

Sunday - Morelia Bound
We wanted to spend Christmas somewhere other than Mexico City. As I remember we looked at Puebla and Morelia and chose Morelia. Clean get away from the hotel, Uber to the Poniente bus station and it is busy! Check in to ETN, they have a little waiting room with chairs and a bathroom like an airport. Very clean, everyone is excited to go home for Christmas?
Our bus shows up, I know many of you have taken these buses, first time for us. It has the circumference of a bus, but it is totally sleek. what a bus might look like if it was made by Apple, except it’s black and you can’t see in, very Darth Vadarish, Luis, Feel the Force! Load up and they are on the road, no time wasted. I have seat #1 right in front on second deck. Great view. Travel through the city, very foggy today, then as we hit the hills there are pine trees! I’m in Lake Tahoe. A lot of different types of landscapes between CDMX and Morelia, beautiful trip.

Get to Morelia bus station. They have a similar system to the CDMX airport, you buy a ticket and get in line for a taxi. We had read it was 60 pesos, but due to the increased tourism and good economy the price has soured to...65 pesos. The taxi at the front of line was the oldest car I’ve seen. It was a Datsun, which is a Nissan from 30 years ago. The guy is yelling “Aqui, aqui”. We load up, get in, and there isn’t a single gauge working in this car. There was a hole where the radio was supposed to be, with a Bible in it. Let us Pray...that we get into town. The guy is off to the races, were bouncing a long, get off the freeway, checking out Morelia. The first thing that hit us, there is a ton of graffiti in this city. Too bad. Getting into the City is on one way feeder streets which are completely gridlocked. Every time we stop in a long line of cars, our driver turns the car off! We’re praying it starts each time, luckily we have a bible. Then we take a left and we are on Francisco Madera and there is our hotel. The Holy Land!

Hotel Casino Morelia right across from the Plaza de Arms. Our window opens up on the Plaza, it’s a party down there. This is home for the next five days!

MmePerdu Dec 26th, 2019 11:40 AM

Bus sounds great. I've never done a bus as I tend to go 1 place & hang out. But not yet Morelia so I'm interested in this one!

baldone Dec 26th, 2019 11:42 AM

The restaurant at Casino is one of our favorites. Lu, I think it's called. And the bar and restaurant at the Hotel Juaninos has a great view.

Tdiddy12 Dec 27th, 2019 03:53 AM

Yes, the restaurant at the a Casino is Lu and it is excellent. It is really the whole package, presentation, quality and big portions. Right now it is hopping because of the season. Packed everyday.

Tdiddy12 Dec 27th, 2019 04:22 AM

First Full Day - Morelia
I get up early for a walk but it is actually too early because it is still dark. Cathedral is all lit up though. How to compare CDMX with Morelia, well you can’ let me try! First of all we stayed / are staying on the “town square” in each location. The Zocalo is a giant flat space and Plaza de Armas is filled with trees, benches, pigeons and Christmas decorations. The Cathedral in Morelia opens up on the street not facing the square which seems odd, but I don’t know the history of that. Also the Plaza de Arms is maybe 1/8 the size of the Zocalo. I prefer the Plaza de Armas because it feels really traditional.

That’s why we came here, we wanted something more traditional and it sure is. I guess Colonial is the constantly used word. Where in Mexico City you can feel Diego Rivera and the Socialists protesting for their rights, here I’m looking for Zorro! Even though as I will learn, this is the heart of the Independence movement in 1808.

The buildings are generally two stories high. You walk around the square in the Colonades like CDMX, but there a no jewelry stores here. Restaurants, strolling musicians who seem to be on some sort of circuit, lots of hawkers. Some guys selling Pot pills! It really is charming and it feels like a lot of Mexicans come here for the holiday. In the Plaza there are a bunch of people dressed up in costumes trying to get you to go to a Leyenda. Some kind odd show. Seems to be a number of companies because they all start at different times. There’s a Horror show, Magical show, Legends show. We talk to a kid in a Dragoon costume and decide to go. We won’t have any trouble understanding this with our superior Spanish skills, why, didn’t we just say Gracias to someone! We meet at the Cathedral and follow our guy and a woman in a period costume down a bunch of streets into an old building. Each get a shot of Mezcal, nice. And we watch the show. A little dancing, puppet show, a number of short acted scenes, and we don’t understand a single word. Nary a Pero! Well we just put $10 into the local economy and there is nothing wrong with that!

Daniel_Williams Dec 27th, 2019 06:25 AM

I enjoyed hearing about your experience with a Leyenda tour. My Spanish is good enough that I recently did multiple archaeological site and nature tours in Mexico and Central America entirely in Spanish, no problem. But when I did a bus Leyenda tour in Zacatecas given by some young women dressed as Condesas, although it was fun, I struggled understanding. Not sure why.

crellston Dec 27th, 2019 10:07 AM

Really loved Morelia when we were there last year just before Christmas. I wished we had stayed there rather than moving on to Guadalajara. We have fond memories of a very camp Grinch who insisted we pay him for photos. A fun town.

Tdiddy12 Dec 27th, 2019 05:13 PM

Hey Crellston, this year there is a Grinch and a number Jokers because of the movie I imagine. Also a pretty big Batman.
I saw one of the Jokers scare the crap out of a little girl and Bat,an was no where to be found.

Tdiddy12 Dec 27th, 2019 05:39 PM

Christmas Eve -
The mornings are quiet here but by 11AM things are starting to pick up. As stated our room is right across the street the Plaza so we can open the door to our balcony and here all of the sounds from the Plaza De Armas. We are getting the experience without even walking our lazy buts across the street!

We do go for a walk and the Plaza is filled with families, there is a big bandstand in the middle of the park. Reminds me of the Music Man, or more appropriately El Hombre De la Musica. This is kind of what we were hoping to find. I grew up in a farm town and the idea of the County Fair was huge each summer. This isn’t exactly like that, but the concept is, entertainment for the kids, music and all kinds of food treats.

One thing we didn’t find was a procession to Church. We were thinking there might be a bigger ceremony based around the Cathedral, the Cathedral is busy but it seemed like a typical mass. I guess they don’t sing Ole Man River much in Mississippi!
We stop in to hear a little of the service, a fallen Catholic and a Lutheran, ( Catholic Lite). We don’t stay long but we notice there is baby Jesus in the manger. Guess he shows up later.

Go back to our hotel and We actually turn in to the sounds of “My Sharonna” blasting on the stereo across the street. Our room has a noise cancelling window and wooden shutters so it cancels out a lot of the frivolity, that goes on to midnight!

Tdiddy12 Dec 28th, 2019 06:51 PM

Post Script to Christmas Eve.
During the day we visited the Palacio Clavijero, not too far off the square. It is a community art center but had some amazing exhibitions. It was really eclectic for a “local” cultural center. On the first floor was a 120th anniversary to a Frenchmen named Gaumont, who created a huge film production company. Mostly French movies but apparently they produce Narcos. Also produced, I think it was called the Professional with Jean Reno and Natalie Portman at age 11. They had her costume and it was so small! On the top floor was the balcony which was covered in the coolest posters for every kind of event from around the world, a beautiful display of Kimonos and the most amazing art piece by a guy named William Kentridge called More Sweetly Play the Dance. Portions are on YouTube, very brilliant.

Which leads me to say a few words about Mexican museums and art. I’ve always said I live in a big city, LA, because if I wake up some morning and say I want to see a Monet today. I can do it, if I’m willing to pay the $20 for LACMA. Mexican museums are fantastic for the cost of a few pennies, many for free, and the quality of the Art is always colorful, innovative, sometimes provocative and often down right fun. Plus there are so many good ones. Many more to see on our travels.

MmePerdu Dec 28th, 2019 06:57 PM

"Léon: The Professional"* One of my all time favorite movies.

Tdiddy12 Dec 29th, 2019 06:32 PM

Hi Isabell080 -
Night and Day! Costa Rica is very expensive compared to Mexico. Food costs a lot in CR, not so in Mexico. I’m a former Financial Planner and Excel addict, so I keep records. Dinner in Costa Rica was hardly ever less than $50. Luckily all of our hotels had breakfast included. The other night we had a great meal in Morelia, order of Quac, Steak and Salmon with drinks and it came to about $25. Museums are super cheap here in Mexico as I stated above. We were going to go to a few museums in San Jose and they were all $15. Lodging is a also cheaper in Mexico.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many reasons to go to Costa Rica. Saving a buck isn’t one of them.

Tdiddy12 Dec 29th, 2019 06:59 PM

Christmas Day - The Search for Bananas
Our Christmas present is sleeping in until 9:30AM. Probably because we stayed up watching the Huntsman and the Winter Storm in Spanish and listening to the crowd in the Plaza. My stomach is still acting up so I require bananas. We have been given a couple of options, directions to a store, directions to the Mercado Independencia or look for three wise men. Now anyone who has taken Mexico 101 knows what a Mercado is. We have somehow gotten this all mixed up and are looking for a Store called Mercado Independencia. I can hear some of you laughing as I am typing! After walking 11 blocks we end up in this big market which is starting to close for Christmas, find bananas, a whole bunch for 17 pesos and are wondering why we couldn’t find the store. It ‘s right there on Google maps. Suddenly a light bulb comes on in both of our heads, a dim lightbulb, that we were just in the Mercado! Sad but true.

Back to the hotel, call all of our family and friends on FaceTime, so we can show them the Plaza. See how scary Mexico is, there’s a Grinch and two Jokers!

What a joyous Christmas it is!

Tdiddy12 Dec 30th, 2019 11:57 AM

Dec. 26 - Ruta 5
When you get to Morelia, see if you can find the tourist map with 5 Rutas. They are color coded and each take you a part of town generally a rectangle with each taking maybe an hour. Great way to see all the sights. Some overlapping. Today we are taking the last Ruta 5 which goes to the aqueduct. Very nice walk, make sure you go down the Calzado Fray a San Miguel. It’s a tree lined pedestrian street that ends at the square with a huge statue of Jose Maria Morales. It’s to the left of the busy street that the aqueduct runs along. Just around the corner is the Museo Alfredo Zalce. They had an exhibition, Francisco Onate, what a great artist in an old mansion, maybe Zalce’s old house not sure.

Had dinner at La Conspirician 1809 which was the house of Mariano Michelena, who was a leader in the Revolution. He also brought coffee to Mexico from Arabia! So this is the other cool thing about Mexico, we are having a fantastic dinner in the house of a former National leader, it’s like your at Mt. Vernon, and they waiter is going , “ yeah, yeah George Washington lived here, did you want pasta or the fish?” OK, it’s not quite like that but still really cool.

Tomorrow we head back to CDMX city for two nights in Coyoacan!

Tdiddy12 Dec 31st, 2019 04:22 AM

Hey Baldone, I forgot to mention we bought a kilo of Coffee and some chocolate for friends in Oaxaca at La Lucha! Also the Rutas are walking tours, wasn’t real clear on that.

Tdiddy12 Dec 31st, 2019 05:04 AM

Morelia to Coyoacan -
Pretty early morning, breakfast, Uber to-bus station, four hours on the bus back to CDMX. I looked up a post I did a year ago, and Baldone recommended booking the bus early to get the two front top seats which we did and it was great. Back in CDMX and taxi, for it seems a long way. Probably only 40 minutes, 5:00PM on Friday!

Arrive at the designated address on Centenario. Casa Molcajete is an apartment in a building with no markings and a big steel door. Haven’t we all been there, we’ve been communicating with the owner but left out that crucial piece of info, how do we get in? So I simply knocked and a guy opened the door and said last apartment on the left.

Our last two weeks in Mexico were a necessary build up to Coyoacan. If we had visited here first, CDMX would have seemed too big and impersonal, Morelia would have been too quaint, and finally, we might have never left Coyoacan!
We are a block from the Jardin Centenario and it is alive. Same stuff as you might see in Morelia, Christmas lights, couples, families but it is some how more happening. The street performers aren’t you average clown type, they have an edge. The restaurants spill out onto the sidewalks and there are more of them. We eat at an old restaurant on a side street El Morral, we have a fine meal, not gourmet and watch an endless stream of Vincente Fernandez videos, old time Mexican music. Only have two days here but the first day has been a trip.

Tdiddy12 Dec 31st, 2019 05:21 AM

Coyoacan Day Two
Our Apartment is in an old building with maybe 6 or 7 other apartments. We found this on It’s right down our alley, inexpensive but unique. Mauricio, our host is a violin player and we don’t meet Monica, his partner/wife?, but they both must be artists because this place is old but every little touch is done by an eye toward class. Small kitchen, bedroom, a little outside garden, that if we were here longer morning coffee would be there every morning.

As it is we have a walking tour. We are to meet up at the Viveros/ Coyoacan Metro station. Google for directions, all routes lead around this big blank square, that simply says Viveros Coyoacan. What is this square? Turns out it is wonderful park with a grid system of trails and a pathway around the perimeter where people run. We cut straight across and it takes us to the Metro. I mention this because in all of my research, I’ve never read about this park. I think because there is no church, no Jardin or any historical reference.

That being said, Coyoacan is a historical treasure, our walking tour is a joy. We have a young Mexican woman, Carmina, and she is great guide. I won’t attempt to summarize but from Hernan Cortes to Frida Kahlo and Trotsky, this area is a must visit when in Mexico City.

Dinner tonite at Los Danzantes on the Jardin Centenario. Great food and service. We only have a half day left.

Tdiddy12 Jan 2nd, 2020 02:22 AM

Oaxaca - The $5 Lesson
Our flight to Oaxaca doesn’t leave until about 3:00PM, so that gives us plenty of time to pack and walk to breakfast. Mauricio, our host has recommended Alvere Cafe, about four blocks away. It is excellent. This is why I want to come back to Coyoacan, it’s a small cafe on a corner, obviously filled with locals, it’s bustling but out of the fray. So you can have excitement and music and lights in Coyoacan, if you want them, but walk just a couple of extra blocks and you have a very neighborhood feeling in a quiet section of town.

We are traveling with I Pads. I check in for our Aeromar flight and we get the boarding passes electronically, sent to my phone. I’m not a fan of these, but I don’t have a printer. Funny thing about this trip, since we are checking bags, neither Alaskan or Interjet would issue us boarding passes. Get an Uber, ezy peezy, and he drops us off at Terminal One. We need to be at Terminal Two! Which if I had a paper boarding pass, I probably would have read that on the pass, but I don’t. Here’s the $5 lesson. I stop a young porter walking by, how do I get to Terminal 2? Well, you can take a taxi, which is very hard, ( according to him). Or you can take the Tram. Do you have your paper boarding pass? No, OK you can’t take the Tram without one. But for a nice tip, I can get you past security to board the Tram.We think a second and say OK. He takes us to the train, shows us the sign that says! You need a Paper boarding pass for the Tram, talks to the unsmiling security guard, we pass through security and I give him a $100 pesos. Hence the $5 lesson, always read your boarding pass, electronic or paper. It says very clearly on my boarding pass, Terminal 2.

Second lesson! At our apartment, I opened up my boarding pass but I didn’t open up my wife’s pass. We get to our check in, no problem. I show the check in person my electronic boarding pass and he takes our luggage. We get to Security, I can’t open Elizabeth’s boarding pass, clocking, clocking. I run back to check in, luckily not that busy and the attendant gives me two paper boarding passes. All is well.

Smooth flight on. Prop plane with about 40 passengers. Picked up at the airport by pre-arranged car and off to our AirBnb. We generally stay in cheaper places, but we are in Oaxaca for two weeks. Wife finds us an amazing apartment on the edge of Reforma. The owner’s nephew meets us, takes up the elevator to the 7th floor and there is Oaxaca spread out before us. Four giant sliding glass doors, 7th floor looking south. The apartment is super modern. Giant, bigger than our house, great kitchen with island, 3 bathrooms. We’ve been on the road for 9 weeks now and we are going to do some serious relaxing here. Grab 1/2 kilo of carnitas at a small restaurant around the corner. Wife says do we really need a pound of Carnitas, yes! We finish about a third of it, take it home. Go to the grocery store and we are set.

Welcome to Oaxaca!

Tdiddy12 Jan 2nd, 2020 06:07 AM

Oaxaca- Day 2 Dec. 30th
I start the day by taking a good long walk. Find El Llano, nice park not too far from us. It’s Monday so many things are closed on the museum front but we have decided to take a down day. After 9 weeks and 9 different places we are very happy with our current abode. Even though we are in Oaxaca, there is nothing remotely quaint or traditional about this place. We are in Manhattan! But it is only. $3 cab ride to all the splendors of Oaxaca, but we are not taking part of it yet.

Wife has an appointment tonite with her friend Bill, so we go downtown. It’s close, on the map, to Benito Juarez market so we ask to be dropped off there. Maybe a mistake? It is so busy, we look for a place to eat around the market. Without going into it. Find a little place with a board outside announcing all the specials. Lot’s of Pollo! OK,so we go in, order chicken, and the waiter says, we are all out of chicken! Have tacos I instead.

I walk over to the Zócalo, it’s packed with people. One thing here I’ve never seen in Mexico so far, here in front of the Cathedral, they have all of these sets,, fake camels, donkeys and “actors” dressed up as the Wise Men, then they assemble families around these sets, abuela up on a donkey, someone holding the baby, they take a picture, then print a calendar, with the picture as the cover page while the people wait! It is such a crazy combination of old and new.

After wife is done, we head back to “Manhattan”. Wife says I’m not feeling Oaxaca yet, but we will. We are still on that internal forward motion of traveling and need to unwind. We start by looking at the skyline from our penthouse.

Tdiddy12 Jan 2nd, 2020 06:10 AM

Re-read last post, by saying there is nothing remotely quaint, I am referring to our Apartment not Oaxaca!!

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:50 PM.