Mexico City, former “Distrito Federal de Mexico”, now “Ciudad de Mexico” with the shortening CDMX, is the “32nd state” of Mexico. I was not so very interested in the capital of Mexico, but thought I cannot miss it. Otherwise I could not visit all the 32 states. When I filled my itinerary on the couch surfing app, I did not expect, that so many people would invite me. In the contrary, I thought, that it will be hard to find a host in such a big city, like it is in European capitals or bigger cities, especially at home in Stockholm. I was positive surprised and the people were very flexible. More about it in the text below.
6th August 2018
My upcoming host, Laura, had told me, that I had to be at the Metro station of the University at 5pm, where she works and from where she will pick me up. I was quite early, coming from Cuernavaca in Morelos. As my last host had told me, I had taken a bus from the Pullman terminal in Mexico City (Taxquena) to the University, because the Metro has a lot of stairs to force and with my two backpacks I was happy, that I did not need to do so. The ticket for the bus from Cuernavaca to Mexico city was for 220 MXN, if I remember right.
The direction for the bus stops for the city buses is not good signed, neither is the path to the Metro. I had to look for a bathroom, when I arrived at the Pullman terminal och could not follow the crowd, though I had to ask for the direction. I was leaving the bus too early, because I followed it on maps.me, and it seemed, that the bus would not go to the University, even it had such a sign. I took a brunch at 7eleven and was then walking to the University. I was anyway almost two hours too early and took a seat on a bus stop, because there were a lot of space for other people as well. Off and on students did ask me, if there a special bus would stop, I only could answer, that I do not know. I also sent Laura a message, telling her, where I am waiting for her. It was in between two exits of the Metro, I thought. Later I found out, that it was in between an entrance and an exit.
Laura found me anyway, but told me, that an other bus stop would have been a better choice. It was the bus stop for the so-called Puma buses. The buses were not painted with the name Puma or a puma. We were driving to her home, which was still quite far away. Mexico city has close to 9 million inhabitants and the Metropolitan are over 20 million. Though I think, you can imagine, that it takes time to drive around in the city and the area. Her street was under maintenance and it was hard to access her house, but we made it.
At her home, she showed me my “apartment”. It was a room in an extra building with own bathroom. Therefore it was no need to go outside during the night. The room was a little dark and a little cold. It also felt a little humid, but it was nice. In the house I met her gofer. She was almost 50 years old and was taking care about her daughter and the household. I also met her 5-year-old daughter at the same time.
The house is decorated with lots of crafts, most of Mexico. She had masks from Chiapas and Oaxaca, decorated old fashion furniture etc. It is a really nice home. She asked her female gofer to cook a meal for us, what she also did, before she left for the day. Meanwhile the meal was prepared, she showed me the laundry and I took my dirty clothes for washing soon afterwards. As usual I could pick it up the upcoming day. It was not only a soup with macaroni and spinach, there were also chicken with tortillas offered. I ate of all.
By the way, we sat in the kitchen and that we did also all the other days. It is like in Sweden, were you sitter with your friends and family in the kitchen and with other people in the living room. The only difference is, that a couch surfer is automatically a friend in Mexico. Later she told me, because I had ask her about, if they had felt a lot of the earthquake in her area, that her area is save, because the ground is of rocks, while the worst affected area is built on the water. She explained, that Mexico is like Venice, surrounded of and built upon water. There are tree different zones belonging to earthquakes. Additionally to the two I already have named there is another zone, which is in between. They all felt the earthquake last year in September, but different much and so different were also the destroying in the areas. In her area no house was affected, in the others were the damage more or less.
It was quite late, when we were going to bed and only around 8°C. By the high position of the city it is quite cold here, even daytime it still can be 25°C. There were lots of plaids on the bed, though I did not freeze, when I well was in the bed. I also was dressed in one of my ice breaker pants and a thin woolen sweater.
7th August 2018
I was awake at 6am or 7am, but I tried to stay in bed for a little while, because outside the bed it was still cold. Anyway I was much earlier in the kitchen than my host. I was waiting for her and wondering, if she will make it in time to her job. When she came down together with her daughter, we had a hurry and we had to go around 15 minutes to the place, where she had parked her car during the night. For the maintenance of the street, she could not park on her ground.
She bought a coffee to go on the way and for her daughter a yogurt. She even took her daughter till her job, but left me at a Metro station, though I could explore the city. She is a teacher and as she told me later, a professor and responsible for a new project, that she already had prepared last year. It is about organization of help efforts during natural disasters. She told me, that Mexico can encounter all the seven different natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis, but that nobody is prepared to take care about them. She and other project leaders, will change that.
I was going by the underground to a bus station Taxquena for the buses to Teotihuacán. I was keen to see this archaeological site as well. I was told to go to the cash number 8, but that was not really correct, because it is gate number 8, one has to look for. On the right hand site of the gate are different options/cashes. There is one for the bus to the archaeological site of Teotihuacán. I was lucky, that I could catch a bus, which was leaving only two minutes later. To read about the excursion, please go to the State of Mexico by following the link.
While in the Metro I was looking on the plan for the Metro on my phone, though when I changed a German born woman did try to help me – even I already had seen, where to go. She asked me for my Whats App phone number, which I gave her, because she invited me to her ranch, close to the Popecatepetl and I would like to see the volcano from nearby.
I was back in time, when Laura had done her work for the day and she picked me up at the point we had agreed in the morning. Actually, she was a bit late and unfortunately it had start raining, but I had found a roof, where I could take protection and wait for her. We were back close to her home around 8:30 pm. We had a light meal.
This evening Laura explained for me all about Xochimilco and the different zones of Mexico city, but before I was able to pick up the clean laundry. Unfortunately she repeated the history again and again, like I did not understand her, but I had no problem with that, even she used her rusty English (but it became better during the days I was with her).
I had checked my emails as usual the days before and had got a letter forwarded of my landlady, which was the request of a life certificate for the social security in Malta (for my pension – an amount of 40 something EUR every month). I had emailed the authority and explained my situation as well as I had asked for a scan of the form. Now I had a scan in my inbox and the answer, how I could handle it. As usual the Maltese authority was flexible. I was allowed to get my signature witnessed by the Swedish embassy in Mexico city – and I was happy, that it came just in time, when I was there. Though I asked Laura, where I could print the scans and how to come to the Swedish embassy. This evening we were not to bed before midnight.
8th August 2018
Even this day I was the first up in the morning, I had been in the bed a little longer, because the air was still cold. I had breakfast before Laura came down with her daughter. On the way to the car, we visited an Internet Café, were I got my documents printed, which I had downloaded on a USB stick. I was left again at a Metro station and had got explained, that the closest Metro station was the one called “Auditorio”. From there should go a bus to the embassies, because there were a lot of embassies close to each other.
It took time (always does) to go so far by the Metro, even it is the fastest way to cross the city. I had only one hour left, before the embassy would close for the day and I was thinking, that I might not do it in time by bus, even if I would find the right bus and leave at the right bus station, because the buses have to fight a lot of traffic jams. Therefore I took a taxi. I asked before about the costs and was told, it would cost 120 MXN. I agreed and it was still a long way to go and even the taxi driver did use the less frequented streets, he needed half an hour for the way to the embassy. I was happy, I had taken the ride.
At my embassy the first thing I found strange, that I could not see the officer behind the window, because the glass was on my side like a mirror. I first did not know, if someone was behind that mirror. I only saw some fingers, when he had asked me for the passport. Further more, this officer did not speak Swedish and asked me, if I speak Spanish. Well inside, the assistant did not speak another language as Spanish either. I showed her the letter from the social security authority on Malta and filled in the Life Certificate in for her eyes. That is especially important for the signature. She contacted another woman, even an embassy officer as I got to know later. The last one told me, that they could not help me, because the document had to be witnessed by the Swedish authority for pension. I told her and showed the email, that I was allowed to get the signature witnessed by the Swedish embassy. She did call the ambassador. Meanwhile we were waiting for his answer, I pointed out and pointed on the letter from Malta, that there are different options for witnessing. She read them and decided, she could sign the Life Certificate. During this, she got even a positive answer from the ambassador. I was thinking, how much more flexible the authority on Malta is and disappointed by my embassy. They should not have questioned the email.
Well done the act, I was offered free books in Spanish and/or Swedish. It was about Swedish lifestyle like cooking, literature etc. I took two with the named subjects and was happy to have gifts for my host, because for the short time I will stay with my two hosts in Mexico city, I knew, that there will not be time to cook for them. By the way, I also had asked for the process of voting at the embassy, because this year we vote again for our Swedish parliament and I had read on the homepage of the embassy, that it was possible to make it there. I looked forward to, to go voting.
The embassy closed at 1pm and I think, it was just after I left. I was keen not to spend more money on a taxi, though I started walking and it was actually easy to find the way downtown, even it took around an hour to go there. I needed to eat something before I could think about another activity. Well done that, I tried to visit the “Blue Frida Kahlo house”. I finally also found it, but it was already 4pm and there were long queues. One for the people, who had booked by the Internet and the other, even longer, for people, who were interested in to buy a ticket of the cashier. The museum stated to close at 6pm, therefore I decided to visit it another time. I expected to need an hour before it would be my turn at the ticket box.
I walked back to the Metro and started on my way back to the point agreed. Even this evening Laura was not there at the time she promised me, but this time the reason was work related. This evening as well, it started raining heavily. Also this evening we did not go to bed before late and we had taken a look about the maps and talked about the opportunity, that she could drive me to my new host, but found out, that it would take to long time. Laura would not have a chance to be in time for work, which would start with a meeting next morning. Actually both host families lives in the South of Mexico city, but to come from Laura to Cesar, my new host, it would take more than an hour – without traffic jam, because there were no cross connection, but one like an U.
9th August 2018
I was mentally prepared for carrying my luggage up and down the stairs of the Metro. Laura tog me to the Metro again, but I was lucky that I did not have to carry my big backpack all the way up the stairs – down was not such a big problem. A Mexican worker (after his clothes) helped me to carry my bag upwards. At the station, where I had to change Metro line, there were escalators, making it easy for me. I was picked up by Cesar and his driver at their Metro station, though I did not have to carry the heavy backpack here as well. By the way it is not a long walk from the station to the house, where he lives.
Cesar is an industry designer and freelancer. He still lives with his mother in her house. It has three bed rooms on the upper floor and a kitchen and two living rooms on the lower floor. When I asked Cesar, if they did not have had problems with the earthquake last year in September, he told me, that the garage had been damaged, but that he had repaired it. Actually I could not see, that it had been damaged. My question was related to, that Laura had told me, that the area was one of the worst affected of the earthquake and also that this area was not safe. For me it looked safe, even all people had big ports and fences respectively walls around their houses, but that is usual in Mexico of different reasons.
As soon as I had entered the door, I was presented for his mother and Cesar told me, that she wears hearing aids. Though I answered, that I do as well. Maria is an 80-year-old retired teacher. She still loves to teach. She does not speak English and do not like that language, which meant for me a chance to become better in Spanish. She is a wonderful woman and I hope, I will be like her in that age, but still travel alone. Fun fact: We both were born in October, even with some days and many years difference. I have got a room on the upper floor and even Maria has still her room on the upper floor. The driver actually is a kind of gofer. He also make the dishes, helps with the cleaning, accompanies Maria, when she goes to the grocery and other shops etc. He fits well into this family.
Cesar had to work, but Maria took time with me. She asked me about my life and later, we were going to buy food. She explained all the names of the fruits and vegetables for me, we saw like I not had been in Mexico for six month already. I think, I should stop to say, that I speak a little Spanish, just answer “yes”, when I am asked, if I speak Spanish. That give me a better chance to use the Spanish I already know. One of the first things Cesar explained, was,
I have got a cold, I think it depends on the cold house at Laura’s. I am afraid I will infect Maria. In her age maybe she is easier infected and maybe it also takes harder on her. I really hope not.
At the end of the lunch, which we ate between two and three in the afternoon – as it is usual in Mexico, there were a little rest of some food and the driver was asked to eat it. He did say no, but at the end, he ate it all. He is an unusual long man and heavy, but not fat. I told them, that they should not asked the driver to eat all the rests and added, that he is not a dog. Though I got explained, that in that house neither food is thrown away nor given to the dog. After lunch I asked Cesar, if the area is save after 9pm, because I had signed for the weekly CS-meeting. I also asked, which Metro I should take to go there. Suddenly his mother told me, that she will follow me to the meeting. I am used to from home, that hosts also visit this meeting – mostly travelers are also hosting. I was positive surprised and looked forward to it.
In very good time the driver took us to the meeting point. There were some challenges on the way like traffic jams and that it was hard to find that address, but we were so early, we took a walk in the park Alameda, which were nearby. Though I have seen the Palace of beautiful art as well. We also entered it, but we could not see the murals, because it was closed, but the entrance hall. We stayed outside for a longer time, even we already had taken a look at the restaurant, we would meet. It actually was not a really restaurant, more a bar – just for drinking. Anyway, when we finally entered, there were only high bar chairs, where the member from CS met. I still have no problems to enter such a chair, but Maria has. A waiter promised to find a way, that she could share the table with us, but he never did. Though Maria left with the waiting driver and told me, she will be back 20 minutes to 11pm. She had asked me first, how long I would like to stay and I thought I would stay for 2 hours. It had been raining in between, by the way, but that was no problem for me, because I had my rain cape with me.
A young man and a younger girl were partly interested in my story, most about Sweden. We tried to have a conversation, but it was difficult tor three reasons. For the first it was so noisy in that hall, that it was hard for me to understand their questions. The other reason was, that I had problems with my voice. I think it was because of the humidity in the room, where I was sleeping at Laura’s. In addition to that, I did only get short answers on my questions of them, because they had not had the opportunity to travel a lot. Another guy joined as later. Anyway I felt, that there was not more to say and it seemed, that all the other participants were not interested to talk with me, though I thanked the three for their time and left. On the way out, I was thinking, how to contact Maria for telling here, that I already leave. I did not have any phone number of her or the driver and I tried to contact Cesar via Whats App, but without success. Though I asked a security man for the direction of the closest Metro station and he pointed in the right direction. It was very close. This evening I got a picture of, how crowded it can be in the Metro, but that was fortunately not the line I had to take. By the way, the first two cars are always reserved for women only, even sometimes a man or two are coming in here. It feels a little strange with women only, but I am sure, it is saver, therefore I use these cars as well.
Well back at the Metro station for Cesar and his mother I sent him a Whats App message and he met me there after a while – by car again. This time his girlfriend was driving. I asked Cesar, if his mother was back, but he told me, she was not and was wondering for the reason of my question. It took a while, before he understood the whole situation and contacted his mother. He then also told me, that his mother only had followed me for safety reasons. She did not like, that I would take the Metro so late. Luckily Maria understood, that it was because of a linguistic confusion, that I had not waited for them. I was afraid, that the driver would be angry of me, but if he was, he did not show it. We were soon afterwards to bed.
10th August 2018
I was finally looking for the Templo Mayor, but I was not up very early that day. Though it must have been around 11pm, when Maria and her nephew Carlos did bring me to the Metro by walking. Maria had asked her nephew to follow us, because she needed him for the way home – and the driver had a day off. Meanwhile I had become used to the Metro system and sometimes I also was lucky to go by a modern train, which announces the stations inside the train – a similar system like we have in Sweden. I always preferred Underground trains for the reason, that it is easy to know, where I am.
I left at the stop “Zocalo”, which is the main market place in the cities, though even in Mexico city. The inner city was crowded by polis and the government building was cordoned. I had to find a bathroom, before I could start with the cathedral. I asked a police, which named a nearby street, where I actually also found almost one place with bathrooms. I walked back to the market place and entered the cathedral – even this one very baroque and built on an old pyramid. It was not easy to take photos, because there was service at this time. Afterwards I was looking for a mug of Agua de Horchata, but I only had a 500-MXN-note, though I was looking for a place to eat instead. After walking a couple of streets I found a place called Tortulla or Tortullas. They had an unusual kind of “tortas” – the difference was mostly the kind of bread they use. I had a mug of Agua de Horchata as well, but it was a little mug. I always get disappointed, when I got served such small mugs. The meal was to big for me, but this time I did not ask for a doggy bag. I just left it. This meal was for 80 MXN and I left the usual tip of 10 MXN.
Now I was looking for the “Templo Mayor”, my main wish to see this day. I rounded the cathedral the wrong way by using the GPS, because I did not have any idea about, where it was. Anyway I found not only the ruins, but after a while also the entrance to the museum. After I had paid the admission fee of 70 MXN, I was not only allowed to visit the museum, but only came closer to the walls of the ruin. On same places were murals. These were not possible to see from the street. The museum has eight rooms with different themes, but all about the founding of Mexico city. The old town Tenochtitlan was the first dwelling at this place and the ruins are even under the nowadays government building. Here are two interest fighting each other – the archaeologists and the power of the town. In addition to that is the government buildings also worth to save. I left the time as one of the last visitors, because I also had to pick up my backpack, which I always carry with me for such important things like water and toilet paper.
It was still daylight, when I left and because I needed new eye drops, I was looking for a pharmacy. It was hard to find one, even usual you have one at every corner. I was to three of them, the two first did not even habe similar eye drops. At an Ahorra pharmacy I could finally buy them. Meanwhile I was looking for the eye drops, my smartphone had run out of charge, though I connect it with my extra battery. The cable was very well to see and in some circumstances I could get ranked as a terrorist. The Mexican police may have seen that more often, they did not even asked me for it, even there were police everywhere now and the embassy of the United States were surrounded of policeman.
When I was back at the Metro station for my host, it was dark again. I send a message to Cesar, asking him, if he could meet me, but this evening he had a meeting with a customer, though he could not. I took a taxi to his home, which was for 35 MXN. It could have been a little cheaper, if the taxi driver had known the street and found the number of the house. If I had not helped him with my GPS, he would not have found the street at all. When he had driven the street two or three times in both directions, I told him, I will go and walk to the house. He told me to be careful. I was not afraid, because there were still stalls selling tacos as well as a grocery shop open. I asked a woman, coming from a house near the grocery store for the number. She asked me after, whom is living there. I told her both Cesar’s and Maria’s name, though she asked me, if she was a teacher. She also had called her husband and asked him, if he knows. He knew Cesar somewhat. The husband did follow me to my hosts home for security reasons.
Maria was surprised, of course. I told her the whole story and she was concerned about the taxi driver, because they have the number on the port and also in front of the port on the pedestrians way. Furthermore she explained, that the street earlier was called 4th street and added, next time I should call her, though she can explain for the taxi driver. I was mostly happy about the Mexicans, who care about strangers, even they in other situations can be inconsiderate, e.g. when entering and leaving the Metro or when people with luggage are walking on the pedestrians way and there is no space for more – in those situations they are very selfish (like people in Europe as well). I was soon to bed this evening, but after a tea. I still have problems with a cold, I have got at Laura’s. i had to sneeze all the day.
11th August 2018
Already Laura had recommended me to go to the Museum of Anthropology. When I told Maria the evening before, that it is my goal for this day, she told me, that it is a good decision and that she had been on a course there. During six month, one day a week, she had learned about all the permanent exhibitions there and she told me, that there, after the instruction about anthropology, are different themes like the archaeology, the ethnic and more. She explained for me, what that means. I tried to tell her, that I already know all that. I do not know, what she think about the education I once have had. It seems, because I am not perfect in Spanish, she things I do not know a lot of other things either. Actually, that is a common think thank. Immigrants have to deal with that as well, I have seen at home.
I was late this day again. Partly it is my own fault, because I am often not up before 9am, but it has also to do with, that I have to cross Caesars room to enter the shower and his day does not start early either. Anyway after I had been in the Metro for 1 1/2 hour – I was using the whole line number 12 and had to change then, to come to the station “Auditorio”. The museum is quite close to it, but the GPS showed me another, little longer way. In addition to that, I did not find the entrance of the museum. I walked around the whole museum without success. I only had found an entrance for employees.
Though I was hungry and bought, because I did not see something else, but sweets, a big bar of amaranth with peanuts on the top. I think they also have honey in this bars. It was for 15 MXN only and lasted for two times. While rounding another time I saw to groups of people walking close to the museum. I hoped, they also will go there and followed them. Even the first group was going to one of the stalls on a platform, I saw the bridge, which all have to use to enter the museum. Though it was a lucky decision. There was no admission fee this day, not even for strangers, which is very unusual. I could not find out the reason.
I walked three others in the museum. The introduction I left soon. That one was made for people, who never had been to a museum of anthropology. From the other room, which was about the Olmec people, I used the escalator to come to the second floor, because I thought, there will be more to see about the Olmec people, but there were ethnic explained – their life, celebrations etc. I followed the exhibitions on that second floor all the way. Coming downstairs again, I saw that I had missed the subject I mostly were coming for, but my head was tired now of all facts and new information. Therefore I decided to come back the following day.
This time I was back in daylight. It started raining, when I just had left the Metro, but that did not bother me. I dressed in my rain cape and started singing in the rain ;-). I actually did not find the way we were coming the day before, when we were walking and this day the driver had brought me to the Metro. By car another way has to be used. When I remembered, that we had walked there, were I was at that time, I met the driver, who was speaking with another male Mexican in his age. The driver told me, that I had to take the second to the left, but I counted different to him, though he came after me and followed me then all the way to Maria’s house, even he had no protection against the rain and got really wet. By the way my cold was better this day. I nearly had to sneeze this day. Now finally Maria also accepted, that I was not freezing in their home, but had got the cold at my earlier host.
Maria and I had a nice chat again this evening and a light dinner. She told me, she will follow me and guide me. When Caesar came home, he was interested in following as well. It became quite late that night again, especially before Caesar and Maria were to bed,
12th August 2018
By the late night, we also started late, but I already have had my breakfast around 8am. I have had a dream, where I cared about a little child and for the child needs had parked my car on a pedestrians way. The car had been towed by the police. It is unusual that I dream and if, I do not remember my dreams. Though I was wondering by myself, what that dream can be about, because I do not have to care about a child anymore, I do not have a car anymore and I did not know the place in real, which I had seen in my dream.
Caesar was driving his private car, even he told me before, that he hates driving in Mexico city. I have got the seat in the front. though I could see better and I have got explained the different landmarks. There was a bicycle concurrence and streets blocked, therefore it did take much longer to go there a usual. Even this day there was no admission fee at all. Finally arrived, Cesar was following us off and on. It seemed, he was waiting for someone.
After a while I felt very weak. I know that feeling, when I need something to drink, though I asked, if he could find some water for me. He asked me, if I need something else, but I told him, that I only need some water. Before I got water, it became worse, though I had to sit down. I never have had it so hard before. I was wondering, if I might have got diabetes, but I have this little problem for some years now and now medicine test had shown diabetes. I would have taken my water bottle into the museum, but that is not possible. All things like handbags and small backpacks has to been left at the wardrobes. In addition to that it is not allowed to drink or eat there.
There is a restaurant on the area of the museum, which is relatively expensive, of course – under such conditions, it is easy for them. Cesar, who had gone to the car for his mothers jacket, called, that we will meet at the restaurant. It was already more than 2pm, thought it was a good idea. At the restaurant, Cesar’s girlfriend joined us as well. Maria did recommend me the whole menu – one of each kind: Entrée, soup and main meal. I had a watermelon drink as well, after I have had a bottle of natural water – which had made me feel better. I did not eat all of the soup, because it would have made me unable to eat of the main dish. Nobody said anything about it, when I left it back. For the main meal I had chosen a chicken dish with ratatouille, but the ratatouille was spicy, which I had not expected, because the original is not, but they had added chilly in this one. Both Caesar and Maria do not like spicy food, though they did understand, that I did not eat the vegetables. Afterwards dessert was ordered and Cesar’s girlfriend as well as his mother had a cappuccino. The cappuccino was not so nice decorated like it is usual in Sweden. I told them, that I had expected a nice decoration in such a high-price restaurant, but it seemed, they were not used to decorated cappuccino. Caesar and his girlfriend shared a chocolate cake, which was like a whole meal. Maria had a cheesecake and I had an egg-toddy-gelatin. I do not eat gelatin often, but I just wanted to taste it because of the egg toddy. In addition to that, it was not such a heavy dessert.
We continued afterwards, now all four of us, to visit the exhibition halls of the museum. We skipped some vitrine, because Maria and Caesar cared about to show me the Aztec calendar, which are quite different from the Mayan calendar. We used every single minute, we had left to look at as much as possible of the Aztecs. Caesar and Maria loves photographs with themselves at tourist attractions, though they did take a lot of photographs of me as well. The photos they took with their own cellular phones, they send me by Whats App, which I cannot reach now :-(, because my smartphone broke. Before finally driving home, we were to the Café El Jarocho, which shall be famous. We all had a chocolate, if I remember right.
That evening at home (mi casa es tu casa) I did not eat something more, I did not even had a cup of tea. I was happy, that I felt good again since the late lunch. We also had talked about, when I will leave the upcoming day. I had planned to leave after breakfast – that means for me nearby directly, but Maria asked for a time, when I will take the bus. I agreed for high noon.
13th August 2018
I was early awake and up around 7am. I prepared as much as possible and also had my own breakfast. After I was back in my room, I had my door open, in the hope, that almost Maria would awake soon. It took not a long time, before she left her room and asked me, if I first will take a shower or first will have breakfast. I told her, that I already have had breakfast, though he fixed the shower for me. When I was dressed I carried both my backpacks down – one at a time and hoped, that I soon will be on my way to the bus terminal. This time one, which is called Tapo. Maria told me, that the driver will bring Cesar first to a customer and pick me up afterwards for driving me to the bus terminal. By the way had Maria found out, that there is a bus every half an hour from Mexico city to Tlaxcala my next destination.
When we finally were on our way, were it all of us, but Maria. She needed to visit her bank and had taken a long and tender good-bye from me. She hopes, to see me soon again. She also had told me, that she will send me the sun and moon I like so much, when I am at home in Sweden again. I had told them the first or second day there, that I like the suns and moons, they have on the wall outside and Maria had asked me, which one I like most. Afterwards had she told me, that she will give me them as a gift. I thought, he will forget that again, but it seemed today, she will not and I am wondering if I ever dare again to tell someone, that I like their decorations etc. The day before I also had got a present of her, when we were talking about ethnicity. Two very small plates with nice paintings and the belonging holders. These I already have in my backpack, because she told me, I could take it straight away for the small size and the low weight. With the carefully wrapping it became bigger anyway. I am very happy and grateful for all I have got of them and all my other hosts, but I also have a bad conscience. I am afraid I never can give back so much as I have got.
The driver stopped in front of the bus terminal. I was nearly falling over a “diablo” a broad push-cart. By stepping back, my backpack was there, where I could have been. Cesar was already holding it. Fortunately I did not really fall. Cesar was expecting, that the car has to be driven to the parking space, but that was not necessary. Though he was going back the steps we already had done and left the backpack to the driver instead, which surprised me. I was wondering, what he is thinking, but for him, it may be natural. Cesar also asked at the terminal’s info-desk, which bus is going to my next destination. It was only one company, though we were directly walking there and also this time I just caught the next bus. Cesar did ask for the ticket, like I had not done it already in six month time by myself. Sometimes these guys are a little too much caring. On the other hand side, it is a nice way to be. I had to wait for a couple of minutes, before we were allowed to enter the bus. I took good-bye the Mexican way of them – even of the driver, but he had held his hand up for me. I do not know, if I made a big mistake there, but he felt for me like a family member and not like a “slave”.
Mexico city has so much culture and I have seen so little of it, though I decided to come back here, after I have made my detour to Xalapa in Veracruz. There are different hosts waiting for me already, among them Cesar and Maria, but first I have to arrive in Tlaxcala and also see that big party the upcoming day.
About my few days in the state of Tlaxcala you can read by following the link.
26th August 2018
I was coming from Taxco in the state of Guerrero by bus. The trip had taken around three hours and I arrived at 4pm. It was my second time in the city and I knew the Metro system well. My new host lived also in the area of Mexico Sur and fortunately the bus arrived at the station Mexico Central Sur. I walked to the Metro and was lucky, that I have got help with my backpack upwards the stairs. There are elevators, but they are only allowed for people with a special ticket. They need to have a disability of any kind like pregnant women can get this special card or really disabled people.
My host lived not far from that station, but I had to change the Metro line anyway. For the change I had to force a lot of stairs, even it was downwards, it is not easy. For the first staircase two Mexican were helping me together with my big backpack – the smaller one I always carry on my back. What was more helpful was, that one of them asked me, where I will go and helped me all the way down the stairs. I told him, that he is an angel. He was very happy about it, even he answered “de nada” – you are welcome.
I was going in the women apartment at the Metro again. They have changed a little – to the better and police is now checking, that no men are entering these two cars. Police also talked to a young man, who accompanied his girlfriend. The policeman told him, that they had to go into the other cars if they will be together. Unfortunately I have seen, they do not check all the lines.
I did not really know how far away my new host lives from the closets Metro station, though I took a taxi. Too late I have seen, that it was not an official taxi even a young man called “Taxi? Taxi?” He told me, that it is safe and it was. The amount was only 20 MXN. It actually was not a long way to go, but that was less than usual. I do not know if it was an “Uber” or a “wild taxi”. Neither me nor he was aware of, that there are more than one street called “Calle Sur 101” and he let me out at the right number in the first of them. I talked with a man living there and asked for Brenda, my new host. He told me, that there is no Brenda living. Though I showed him the address I had got of her. He saw the mistake and told me, that there are more “101” and that I am in the “101”, but had to go to the “101 B”, which is a little further”. I thanked him for the information and walked further. Soon I found the right address. Now I also understood, what “interior 1” meant. It is apartment number 1 and the numbers of the apartments are written on the side of the bells. I do not know if it is usual, but here, the bell for apt. number 1 and 2 were in the highest row. The higher numbers were under there. The highest number was in the first row.
Brenda came to the balcony and welcomed me and told me, she will come down directly – what she did. She lives together with her mother in a 2-bedroom-apartment. Soon after my arrival she told me, that they had an air mattress for me and will open it for the night in the living room. It is not the first time for me, though it did not matter. The apartment was clean like at most Mexican homes and I felt very welcome. Brenda’s mother was in a concert this evening, though she was not at home, when I arrived. A little later Brenda tog me out to Coyoacán, an area of the city. It is a historic area and also the Frida Kahlo Blue House is situated in this district. Many people enjoy this area, especially at the weekends.
When we parked the car a guy “helped” us to find the place and to park there, even Brenda did not need that help. We were first walking away without giving him a tip. An alcoholic talked with Brenda and she went back with me to the car. She did take the car to another place, where not such guys or young women are trying to make their living. Brenda told me, that it is illegal, what they are doing. Some of them have the allowance to do so, but not to ask for a lot of money. She told me, that there is so much corruption in it and also policeman are involved – they would get a share for not charging these people, when they ask for too much money. Brenda told me, she tries to get against this corruption and she never give these people a tip. Unfortunately she got her car scratched of that reason, therefore she moved the car to a place, where these people are not, even we had to walk a little longer. I was surprised, when she told me, that she tries to work against the corruption and think, she is very brave.
She were practicing her German with me, because she will marry a German guy in November this year and move to Germany. She also asked me questions about the German lifestyle for married people and explained, that in Mexico the husband pays the rent/house and also the food even when the wife earns money. Her boyfriend had told her, that she has to pay as well and her mother will not accept that nor think her aunts, that it is correct. Though I told her, that it is usual that married couples share the costs by the income, that means, if they earn the same amount, the share the costs 50 – 50. If the wife works at home and with the kids, the husband pays 100% of course. She was surprised about it, but happy to know, that it was not only an idea of her boyfriend.
We were walking around, had a light meal at a café and walked around again in the area. Brenda also tried to meet a woman, who sells Brenda’s artisan jewelry. Unfortunately she could not met her, but she sold some of them by herself. She told me, she sold so much in such a short time, that it was because of me. Actually I had not been with her at that time, she asked me to stay at a market and take a look around.
Later at her home again, she told me about her travels in Central and South America. She was traveling with a friend and her dog and she often sold of her jewelry for her living. Another time she was traveling with her friend, a girlfriend and her mother – and the dog. She told me, even they were four and she had the dog, they were couch surfing and it worked well. One time – it was in Rio de Janeiro, if I remember right, they were hosted of an Australian girl, living in the slum. Her mother did not stay there and I think, I would not have done that either (between rats and more).
For the night I have got a warm cover and I thought, I will sleep well, but it was so cold, that I could not sleep at all, even I had my ice breaker pants and my wool sweater on.
27th August 2018
I was up early and left after breakfast – around 8am, because I had planned to vote for the Swedish governments (in our community, state and national) at the Swedish embassy. It was the last day but next for the voting. The way there by Metro and bus would take 90 minutes I had found out on Google maps. I was happy, that I could find there all what I needed, even the name of the bus and the direction, where it has to go. To go by Metro around 8am is not what I recommend. I had to wait for the third Metro before I could come in. Another woman was in before me, even I had the longer waiting time and even she was much younger than me. I was happy anyway, that I was able at all to get into the Metro car. I had to change Metro and that was no problem, than I had to find the bus and even I knew, where I had to go and where the bus had to go, it was not so easy to find the right bus. There were long queues for the buses and I asked people in the queues to get to know, where the bus stop for just my bus was. There were many bus stops for buses to different destinations. When I well had found it, there was a very long queue and it took time, before the first bus arrived. Even a second and a third bus were not coming quickly, but thereafter five buses to the same destination arrived. When the bus entered the street for the Swedish embassy, I checked the numbers of the houses and I also saw, when we arrived at the Swedish embassy. By a traffic jam I was let out before the bus stop – three steps ahead of t he embassy.
This time I knew better, what was expecting me. I showed my passport for the security and told him, that I would like to vote (deseo votar). He checked my passport and let me in. Arriving in the customer care area I did not see any assistant, but she had seen me and told me, that I would like to vote. I answered, that I do not have a “röstkort” (documentation for voting), though she replied, that I could already vote meanwhile she is printing the “röstkort”. I first asked for the bathroom and when I was back from there, other people had entered to vote as well. Though I had to wait a moment, which did not matter for me. When it was my turn I was a little surprised, how the voting card looked like, but I chose the once for the party I was voting for, put them in the special envelops and were going to the assistant. She put my three envelops together with the voting documentation in another, bigger envelop, closed it and showed me than the registration number on that envelope and her list. This registration number makes my vote anonymous. I took a book about Swedish cuisine from the shelf and left the embassy.
I was following Brenda’s recommendation to visit the Chapultepec Park with it’s castle. Unfortunately I was leaving the bus too early, though I walked to the park, passing the World Trade Center. I eventually found the park, not aware of, that there are two sections. In the one I was know was a lake as well and there was a restaurant. It was lunchtime already and I decided to eat at that restaurant, even I understood, that it might be expensive. I thought, what is expensive here, is not very expensive for me anyway. At the restaurant they still served breakfast. I ordered a dish with potatoes, chorizo, bacon and fried eggs. The fried eggs were on the top and all was served in a little pot. The eggs were only fried from one side and the yellow running. There were a slice of bread as well, but it was so hard toasted, that it was very hard, even it was not burnt at all. The potatoes were not fully cooked, but I decided not to try to make me understand in Spanish and just eat the smallest of them, because they were a little better. The bill was for 238 MXN, because I also had ordered a healthy juice. Though I had to give a good tip as well.
I used the bathroom before leaving and already outside the restaurant I remembered, that I had forgotten the book. I hurried back and one of the waiters were already coming with the book, though the tip had been worth it.
I continued in the direction of the other part of the park and finally found it. Unfortunately the museums were all closed, because it was Monday. In addition to that the park was closed as well and policemen were there to tell that for the people, who tried to enter the park – I was not the only one. I cannot understand, that we were not allowed to enjoy the park. The policeman told us, that the park is maintained on Mondays. From the outside I saw some workers enjoying their rest, but I think, I would have been possible for us visitors to enjoy the park as well, because we would only use the path. It is really strange for me, that we were not allowed into the park.
I walked to the closets Metro station. It had the same name as the park and I had to change line an extra time. I was using the last amount on my Metro card. Unfortunately I was reading wrong while I changed Metro line the first time on this trip and had to leave and pay another time. Though it is not possible at the end of the line to go back again without paying one more time. The cars are going to the rails of the other side. I was happy, that it did not happen another time for me.
Well back only Brenda’s mother was at home. We had a really good conversation about my travels, when Brenda came home. Unfortunately she interrupted us, though I could not tell about the whole trip so far in Mexico for her mother. I left my “business card” to them, though they can read about it, if they want. I also told them, that I will leave the upcoming day around high noon. I had thought I maybe could make something of the hours, but decided later that night, that it will not be time enough. By the way, Brenda had taken my dirty clothes to the laundry, so I could spend my day in the park. During the evening meal, she asked me, what I will do the upcoming day, though I told her, that I will pick up my clean clothes from the laundry, but Brenda run away to pick them up. I had to pay 60 MXN, that was a good price and it was well done. There was nothing missing either I saw the next morning.
I was asked about my further travel and I showed Brenda my route. She told me, what I should see more than I already had written in my blog. I asked her, to write it down in my blog. So she did. Brenda had to do things with the computer – as she told me, though I used that time for updating my blog somewhat. She gave me then an extra cover for the night as well as she put an extra sheet on the air mattress. I hoped I will not be cold that night, but I had to put on my fleece jacket as well, before I was warm enough and could fall asleep.
28th August 2018
I was awake early in the morning and took my medicine around 7:30am. I thought to take a shower, but remembered, that Brenda had told me, that she has to put on the heater for the warm water, if I will shower. I became also hungry. Though after a while I tried to wake her up. Eventually she came out of her room and helped me and also asked me, if I wished to have coffee and breakfast. I was thankful for that, because I was really hungry now.
The rest of the hours, which were left, she showed me photos from her travels. Both her mother and she told me, that they were unhappy, that I already leave again and told me, that I am welcome back whenever I want. I also could call her, Brenda, if I would get in trouble.
I left nearly exactly at 12pm for the Metro. On the way there I was to the Oxxo and topped up my cellular phone. I have got help again with my big backpack in the stairs of the Metro station. I never ask for it, but a lot of Mexicans are so kind. When I had to change Metro line I was lucky, that there were escalators. Only on the way out of the last station I had to force usual staircases again and that time nobody helped me. I had to asked for the bus station and I asked the right person, because he had to go there as well and was my guide.
I soon found the bus company serving Toluca, State of Mexico. I asked for a ticket for the next bus and had to hurry to go there. I also had to ask two times before I found the right place, where they leave. I got a seat in the other row – there were no seats adjusted by the tickets. The bus was mostly going throughout city areas, but some kilometer I could see nature and it was beautiful – there were mountains and hills here as well. It started raining throughout the 80 minutes ride.
About my arrival in Toluca and the time there, please click on the link Estado de Mexico.
PS: More photos will be added to this site as soon as possible.