Last week, my wife and law partner, Andrea Lamere, and I were in Mexico City for seven days. Follow the continuation below if you're interested in reading a duplicate of the first report I wrote and posted on the (private) weblog I share with my extended family. (Photos, too. I also took a trip to Mexico City last year with my daughter Lydia; photos and post here).
Andrea and I arrived on Monday. Here we are at the main square, the Zocalo, as seen from a balcony restaurant at the Holiday Inn where we ate lunch. (Lydia and I were there in the same place a year ago.)
There are a lot of skyscrapers in Mexico City. Here are just a few--
So far, we've seen the historic downtown district and a neighborhood called Polanco where the rich residents of Mexico City shop. In Polanco, we walked through Lincoln Park (that's Abe Lincoln) and ate some ice cream. That was on Tuesday.
Today, on Wednesday, we had a driver and guide named Ricardo. Ricardo is a friend of our friends in St. Louis who are originally from Columbia (the country) but are now living in the United States. We didn't meet Ricardo until today, although I (Evan) set up our meeting on the telephone from St. Louis -- in Spanish. Ricardo only speaks a little English, though he is a self-employed engineer who has taken courses in Florida and Chicago. All the communicating today was in Spanish, with translations for Andrea.
With Ricardo today, first we met for breakfast at our hotel and planned the day. Then we did the following--
- Bought bus tickets to go to Puebla tomorrow (without Ricardo) -- the fourth largest city in Mexico that is famous for its pottery. It's two hours away by bus. The first class bus ticket cost only $25 per person round trip.
- Drove south to UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico. It was founded in 1551 and is the largest university in Latin America -- about 280,000 students. It was hard to find a parking space, but Ricardo haggled for one, and we walked around and went to one of the bookstores -- a bookstore that sells books published by the university press. I bought a book about American politics and the challenges for the 21st century from a Mexican perspective.
- Toured the house that Frida Kahlo shared with Diego Rivera. There is a museum there now.
- Toured the neighborhood of San Angel and ate lunch there. We saw some churches and a typical Mexican market (a huge building under one roof with stalls with hardware, clothes, fresh fruit and other produce, chickens, whole fish, etc.)
- Drove around looking for a Ticketmaster outlet that could print the tickets I bought in the United States over the Internet for the Sin Bandera concert on Friday night. We could have got them at the will-call window on Friday but I wanted to do it ahead of time -- a mistake, because the first Ticketmaster location sent us to a second, and both required lots of time to find a place to park, and lots of driving around. (The traffic in Mexico City is terrible. Tomorrow we're going to take the subway for the first time -- it's probably the better way to get around Mexico City.)
Here we are at the university -- Ricardo is leading the way in the dark clothing in front of Andrea. Next time we come to Mexico City, we're invited to his house for dinner.
One more story. When we returned to our hotel today, the Four Seasons, there were metal detectors set up to get back inside. We asked why, of course. We were told that the President Calderon, the Mexican president, was going to be speaking at an event a little later. When we went down to the hotel bar later in the evening, the metal detectors were gone -- the event must have gone off okay.
Eso es todo . . . That's all for now.