Archive for January, 1996

Tokyo & Mexico

During Winter Break, I spent three weeks in Tokyo and one week in Mexico City and Puebla. I really liked it. Quite a change from Tijuana!

Mexico City is a real city with interesting neighborhoods, restaurants, museums, etc. Lucie and I also wandered around UNAM, the largest college campus in the city. It was interesting to note that almost all the cafés in D.F. are owned and run by Chinese.

And it was a lot of fun being there just before Day of Kings, with all the elaborate displays with Santa Claus and the Three Kings for the kiddies. Here are all the gritty details…

I woke at 4. Checked e-mail & news. Woke Lucie. Yes she wants to go. Called Cloud 9 Shuttle. Shower. Packed. 06:30 shuttle (just us) to SAN. Checked in. Shared a bagel. AM489 to San Jose del Cabo, went thru immigration, back on plane to DF. ATM in airport. Picked up Metro map. Took metro to Allende and checked in to Hotel Canada (Av. Cinco de Mayo 47), room 102. Rested. Metro to Zona Rosa to look around and find dinner. Went to tourist office where employee gave us some eggnog. Walked to Sheraton. Walked along streets but most stores were closed because New Year’s Eve. Only open restaurnts were fancy places. Checked out Tower Records. Metro back to Allende. Walked around but almost nothing open. Ate across the street at Pollo place. Half chicken, sausages, tortillas, potatoes, onions and soft drinks for N$22.50 (about US$2.50) for two. Back to hotel. I watched TV while Lucie showered. To sleep about 23:00.

Watched Rose Parade on TV. Out of room about 12. To Zócalo. Back to room to get sunglasses and sunscreen. To Zócalo. Catedral Metropolitana and El Sagrario. Looked around. Walked. N. to public markets (stalls). Ate lunch at an indoor stall place (Seafood Soup). Lots of walking. Rested on a bench just off a street. Eventually back to Zócalo. Saw murals in Palacio Nacional. To Supreme Court to see murals there but closed. Lucie not feeling well, so we rested on steps of the Court. Lucie back to room while I watched flag lowering ceremony. Saw some traditional dances. Bought water. Back to room. Out to dinner at Cafe across street: Enchiladas de Pollo en Mole and some special w/ thin beef in green sauce. Out for a walk after: Sanborn’s bookstore & more. Church service. Outdoor market nearby (lots of people). Walked back to hotel. I fell asleep while Lucie showered.

Left room at 10:30. Bought some sweet breads across the street. To Supreme Court again, but they no longer allow public inside. Metro to Viveros and spent a few hours walking incl. streets w/ nice houses and supermarket (bought juices and drank). To University (UNAM). Not in session so buildings closed. Looked around a bit then headed North on Insurgentes Sur towards San Ángel w/ stop for lunch (sopa de pollo, tacos de chorizo, quesadilla). Thru market at San Ángel, then to church, thru neighborhood, back to market (looking at Telephone bookbag), across Insurgentes to park. Small streets. Used toilets at restaurant where we had eaten lunch. Gift shop (Lucie bought gifts). To Avenida Revolución. and headed North for long walk, stopping for drinks/bread at another Chinese Cafe. Walked back to a Metro stop. To Zócalo. Wandered back to hotel.

Left at 09:00. Bought some bread & sweet bread (didn’t have “pan chino al vapor” as advertised in window), and took Metro to North Bus Station. “09:45” bus to the Pyramids. N$16 admission, Started exploring and listening in to tour guide. After a while, he invited us to join in. Climed Pira’mide del Sol. Drink stop. Underground. End of tour (he asked for N$60; we paid him N$70). Climbed Pira’mide de la Luna. Down. Walked to museo. Went through. Bus back to Metro, to Hidalgo. Walked for several hours incl. bakery near Wal-Mart affiliate. KFC toilet stop. Night market. Ate dinner at Pozole restaurant. Walked back thru markets all the way back to hotel.

To Café but still no Chinese bread. Ate there: Huevos a la Mexicana, y revueltos c/ queso chihuahua. Chocolate. Metro to Tren to floating gardens area. Walked around before taking boat ride from guy whose house we passed while walking. Took “2 hour” ride, but it was only 1:30, including a 30-minute stop. Walked back to train station. Tren to taxi (green VW) to Cayocan. Saw video crew shooting scene of woman at payphone. Walked around checking out the various “menu”, but by the time we decided to eat, they were all over. Sat down in one place, but left when we couldn’t order menu (it was a trick). Left another place because they weren’t serving much food. Dinner in Chinese restaurant (pretty bad). Walked around that area some more, then pesero to a Metro station and Metro to Zo’calo. Back to hotel. I looked through LP guide for a place to go to while Lucie showered.

Bought bread and, finally, Pan Chino al Vapor! Metro to TAPO (Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente). Bus to Puebla. Taxi to Hotel Colonial (N$190/night). Checked in (room 5, on first floor). Walked to Museo Amparo (lots of pre-Hispanic artifacts). Walked. Big fruit salad w/ cream and ice cream. Walked more, and stated scouting for fixed menus. Set dinner at 18:00 in a pretty popular place: Caldo Cameron, Caldo Gallego, Calamares Fritos a la Mexicana, Chile Relleno, Bread, Jello, Tea (N$18/ea). To tourist office: Got advice from worker and talked to American guy from Providence w/ Let’s Go book (“It’s garbage”). Walked around town: toy stores very very crowded because tomorrow is Day of Kings when kids get presents. Back to hotel about 22:30. Watched Picket Fences, then bad movie “Viaje Con La Muerta”.

Alarm set for 7, but we got up after 9. Bought corn/chocolate drink on street. Bought mushroom blue-corn quesadilla on the way to small bus station for bus to Cholula. To Cholula, then another bus to Tonantzintla to see Templo de Santa Maria (elaborate inside), then walked 2 km to Acatepec to see Templo de San Francisco (elaborate tile on outside) (used toilet there too). Walked a few blocks around church, then bus back to Puebla Centro. To train museum (Museo
del Ferrocarril). Lunch: Ate a sausage quesadilla, a quesadilla modote, a potato modote and a Gran ??? (we were very hungry). Bus to Guadalupe Hill: sat down by Scouts. Walked to fort. Sat. Walked. Other fort. Walked back to Centro. Looking for set meal and it’s getting late (18:30). Walked into one place just before they closed. Soup, arroz, tacos de pollo, breaded pork, and two half-flans. We didn’t realize it, but this place was right near our hotel. To hotel for a few minutes. Explored the hotel. Out walking, thru a few department stores, to Teorema (intellectual hangout/bookstore w/ live music). Stayed there a while before going back to hotel.

Lucie woke me at 05:45. I got up at 06:15 and showered (took 10-15 minutes for el agua caliente). Out about 07:30 and starting walking around Puebla on a quiet Sunday morning. But Lucie was cold and my stomach hurt, so we had breakfast at a restaurant (Ham Omelette and Huevos Rancheros). Then out to walk to Ex-Convento de Santa Rosa & Museo de Artesanías to see old pottery, clothing, and the kitchen where Mole Poblano was supposedly invented. After, walked through food market area and eventually back to hotel. Cleared out safe. Lucie checked out while I finished packing. Taxi (N$12) to bus station. 12:00 bus direct to airport (watched “All-American Murder” and ate cookie they gave out). To MEX about 13:30. Checked in for flight and ate in bad cafeteria (but the enchiladas were OK). AM488 to San Jose del Cabo (1 hour stopover) then to SAN. Shuttle home with other UCSD students. Home about 19:40. Checked class schedule and saw I didn’t have any classes until Tuesday.