Iztapalapa Borough

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    • Day29

      Mexico City: Sales & Marketing

      March 4, 2020 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      After another overnight bus, early morning finds me back at the Terminal Norte in Mexico City. The long-distance buses, while not always being punctual, are generally comfortable and efficiently run. They are classified (this one is first class) and by checking in at the Manzanillo ticket office, I get notification of the vehicle number. Always useful to ensure one gets on the right one. They tend to take breaks only to swap drivers which leaves no time to get food en route but most services provide sandwiches and water as sustenance. At Terminal Norte I deliberately avoid the fast food chains and find a downmarket but perfectly adequate place for the morning fix of huevos rancheros. when they ask for my name to call out when they're ready, I say Alan---quite a common name in Mexico and easier to pronounce than James!

      Back in Roma it's like coming home. Hard to believe I've been away less than a month. I get there via 2 changes of Metro, one of which involves a 5+ minute underground walk. But a bargain for 5 pesos (20p). The empty lot next door to Oaxaca 21 where there was such a commotion on my last stay has been tinned up. Otherwise no changes.

      A siesta to recover from the journey charges me up for the markets. The nearest one is Mercado Medellin, where stalls specialise in products from around the continent. By a coincidence I find Chile and Cuba next to each other both here and on street names in the city centre. The biggest one in the centre is Mercado Merced, at least 10 times the size of a football pitch and every conceivable item is sold, all assembled with microscopic precision. But how will they---both stallholders and customers---manage when the virus strikes?
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      Speak, World

      I love these pictures. The markets are such a joy. I hope we can travel again… Sigh.


      Thanks for that. It appears that Mexico isn't in total lockdown at the moment but I suppose that sadly the markets must be closed for the time being.

    • Day6

      The City of Castles

      March 6 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F

      What a treat to be in México City. The first three days were difficult on the lungs, not because of the smog but the altitude. Over 7,000ft above sea level. Sleeping was difficult and so was climbing the three floors to the room.
      This city of (from an expanded point of view) 22 million people is actually easy to get around and relaxed. I get up somewhat early and go for a walks. There are very few people about. Its not ‘til 10AM that the shops open and the activity really starts. Once it wakes up, watch the F out! Its like stepping on an ant hill. No matter what day, it just gets so crowded by 2PM.
      Our dining has been varied, street tacos (yum). Renowned Chef (yum). Pizza (yum). Sushi (not the best). Free breakfast in the mornings, what a concept. Love it.
      So far we have done the Zoo, Museums, gentrified neighborhoods, Farmers’ Market. Wait, Farmers’ market was unreal. I have been to a lot of markets and this by far was the largest. Taiwan the most interesting, but México City is by and large the biggest I have experienced. Outside of the fresh veg, meat, spices, popup restaurants and happy people, one can find everything that you can find in any market throughout the world. Plastic garbage toys, fake tennis shoes and fake everything else. It’s amazing in its volume. And sad that this is what it takes for so many of these lovely people to survive. I do ask myself over and over again, who is buying this stuff?
      The 1985 earthquake is still very evident here. Buildings still boarded up, leaning, plaster about to fall from walls many feet above the sidewalks, uneven sidewalks. It goes on and on. We as humans are resilient and it shows here.
      As few small observations before I close this out.
      1. In 1950 the population of México City was just under 3.2M. In 2020 it was assumed to be in excess of 22M.
      2. Most of what is now México City used to be Lake Texcoco, which is better known as the lake surrounding Tenochtitlán. That city was a wonderful creation of the Aztecs. Once the Spanish arrived, the lake was drained to allow for growth. This allowed México City to become the behemoth that it is today.
      3. Today, like many other cities, México City survives on its aquifer. The aquifer is being depleted way faster than the rains can replenish it. In large part due to urbanization of the region and the lack permeable soil. So the city is running out of water.…
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    • Day1

      Day 1: London to Mexico City

      February 6, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      One way to escape Brexit in Britain is to do the decent thing and make my Mexit. Mexico has something in common with the subject of my previous trip, Morocco, both countries beginning and ending with the same letter. That's about where the similarity ends. Mexico is almost 2 million sq. km. (750,000 square miles) in size and like many other big countries, is actually about 20 rolled into one. The north is mainly desert but as one travels south, the climate gradually becomes more moist until reaching the south-east, which retains some rain forest. There's also the height factor: some of the mountains are snow-capped but the coast can be steamy and sultry at 35C plus. Although the official language is Spanish, there are dozens of indigenous languages, some spoken by over a million people. Mexico is carpeted with the remains of ancient cities built by the Aztecs, Mayas and others but the Spanish legacy has left hundreds of beautiful churches up and down the country.

      I have travelled to Mexico several times and this time have decided to confine myself to a relatively small area, starting in the capital and moving overland to the states of Veracruz and Oaxaca to the south-east. It's a direct overnight flight from Heathrow to Mexico City. The flight is scheduled to land there at 5 a.m. but as fate would have it, the head wind is light and I arrive an hour early. Much too early to brave the city so I kill some hours in the departure zone. It's not all sit and wait however and there is some culture to enjoy: an excellent black-and-white photographic exhibition entitled "Afroreggae" by one Daniel Taveira based on young musicians in a favela (slum) of Rio de Janeiro---which as it happens, I visited less than 6 months ago.

      When dawn breaks, it's still too early to check into my accommodation so I use the time getting a taxi to the northern bus terminal to buy an onward ticket. From there I take to the Metro. The system, built in the 1970s, is a bit rough and ready and there is a 10-minute walk at one interchange station but for 5 pesos (20p), who can grumble? And so by 10 a.m. I am safely indoors and half an hour later, breakfasted at Any's, a hospitable guest house in the Roma district.
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      Speak, World

      It's so much fun to read your blog—informative and witty. No pictures of Mexico DF at 5 am?!


      It's OK---I found some photos now!

    • Day2

      Days 2 & 3: Mexico City

      February 7, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      Any's have given me a huge room with one double and one single bed, a table and kitchenette with fridge as well as the bathroom. This part of the building probably goes back to the Porfirista period, named after the dictator who ruled the country from 1884 to 1911. Whatever one may think of his politics, this period left a legacy of pompous vaguely French-looking buildings; high ceilings, flowery cornices, chandeliers and creaking floorboards are standards.

      After a lie down I start to explore the neighbourhood. The streets are named after other Mexican states so I feel half-way to Oaxaca and Veracruz already. I have the good fortune to be there just after the release of the film "Roma" which is named after this quarter and I make a pilgrimage to Calle (Street) Tepeji where much of the filming took place. Roma is an up-and-coming neighbourhood with quiet, leafy avenues, bars and restaurants, and reminds me of San Telmo in Buenos Aires and Barrio Brasil in Santiago.

      The next morning Daniel prepares huevos rancheros, which are so good that I have them nearly every morning in Mexico. They're fried eggs bulked out with spicy "picante" sauce, sitting on tortillas (not the Spanish ones, these are prepared from maize and look like small pancakes) and the indispensable beans. And here, beanz meanz not Heinz but refried black or brown! There's a pleasant family atmosphere downstairs. The TV is showing videos of Latin American pop songs. Shakira is shimmying across the stage floor, leaving little to the imagination. Does she still do this or was this video made years ago?

      It's a day for the city centre. Although huge tracts of Mexico City are dirt-poor, the nucleus is sophisticated as befits a 20 million strong city. In a former bank I visit a brilliant exhibition by Graciela Iturbide, who photographs in black-and-white, the subjects mainly of ordinary Mexican people, either at work or in carnival mode. Nearby, the main Post Office is a fantastic creation recalling the late Spanish Gothic period and it's worth the entrance just to buy stamps for my postcards. The service is amiable but at the time of writing, the second half of March, the cards still haven't reached their recipients; in contrast my brother sent me a card of a Maya site in the Yucatan which arrived home in a week---because he posted it in the USA. Outside there's a profusion of people in army uniforms playing the mournful sounds of barrel organs but I prefer the rock group round the corner, thumping out 1960s classics. Try to imagine "Born to be Wild" with a strong Mexican-Spanish accent!
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      Speak, World

      Isn't Mexico City wonderful!! I saw a brilliant exhibition of Graciela Iturbide too—last year in Portugal. She is fabulous. I find many Mexicans I've met to be so creative, polite, and well-spoken. A joy to be in the country.


      Yes, the city has grown on me since my earlier visits. James.

    • Day29

      Days 29 & 30: back to Mexico City

      March 6, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Leaving Tlaxcala takes a climb up a flight of 200 steps so I need to get my breath back before arranging the next and final leg. The bus to the nation's capital takes an easy 2 hours to the eastern terminal. The metro to Sevilla station is anything but easy however; due to delays it's a 15-minute wait to get on the train and the nine stops take a further 45 as more and more people try to pile in. Never again!

      It's a relief to make the short walk from Sevilla back to Any's. Sadly I don't get one of the rooms in the old block but the bonus is that Alfonso the proprietor is back from a business trip. He offers a wealth of information on things to see in this Roma district. And it's not hard to find quirky sights such as this charming statue amid the urban bustle, and how they advertise a burger joint while the lights are red.

      With my final full day in Mexico City, I'm headed for the Mercado Merced, a covered market three times the size of a football pitch. Everything imaginable is available here and the sweet tooth is indulged with a honey stall and sweets sold in 100 gram measures. I can't resist the chocolate---after all, it was first cultivated in Mexico by the Aztecs as "xocoatl". Everything is arranged with meticulous precision. And three football pitches aren't large enough to accommodate it all, spilling out into the surrounding streets all the 15 blocks to the Zocalo.

      After an enquiry of Alfonso about Mexican female singers, he has recommended six, some no longer with us but others very much so. None of his names coincide with another six singers listed in the Rough Guide, so entering a record shop on the pedestrianised Avenida Madero, I am in a quandary. After an hour I find a double CD of a concert performance by three of them (Tania Libertad and Guadalupe Pineda (Alfonso's list) and Eugenia Leon (mine). AND it includes a feature-length DVD. Perfect!

      On the final day I walk to another of Alfonso's suggestions, the Mercado Medellin, less frenetic than the Merced but with a local neighbourhood flavour. After lunch at a Sanborn's in the city centre, I hike down Reforma, a multi-lane avenue shaded by trees and punctuated by pompous statues and monuments. At the last one I run into an all-female demonstration and remember that it's International Women's Day.

      It's a pity to be leaving Mexico City but it's been a hugely satisfying trip. What would be the high spot? Maybe the Oaxaca carnival but there would be many other candidates. The overnight flight to Heathrow isn't the most comfortable and I'm relieved to get home. Waiting for me is a postcard from my brother of the Yucatan site of Chichen Itza, but it's probably only because he posted it from the USA that it's got here. My own postcards sent from Mexico City at the start of the trip still have nearly a month to go!
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      Speak, World

      Oh, I want to go back to Mexico City! Roma seems a very nice colonia indeed. One of the singers you mentioned, Tania Libertad, is also one of my great favorites. However, she is also Peruvian—evidently a dual-national. Her earliest work is the best for me—no rock accompaniment.

      Speak, World

      That Minnie Mouse top, short skirt and high boots is quite an outfit for a market!

    • Day8

      Neue Aufgaben! Projekt Nr. 2

      January 14, 2017 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C

      Ich wurde gefragt ob ich nicht auch das andere Projekt "Sharing Languages" unterstützen kann, da keiner der Teilnehmer fließend englisch sprach und sie dringend jemanden für diese Aufgabe brauchten. Ich dachte mir warum nicht und habe erst einmal zugesagt. Völlig unvorbereitet stand ich dann also vor 21 Studenten der größten Universität Mexikos (UNAM) und versuchte ihnen die Sprache beizubringen. Insgesamt lief es ganz gut und ich glaube alle haben etwas gelernt. Nach der Vorstellungsrunde sollten die Teilnehmer in Gruppen einen Vortrag zu verschiedenen Themen halten. Dabei habe ich mir natürlich Themen ausgedacht, die ich selbst sehr spannend finde. So haben wir bspw. über Korruption in Mexiko, soziale Unterschiede, Geschichte, Traditionen und das politische System diskutiert.
      Ich habe unheimlich viel dazu gelernt und verstehe und kenne die Kultur nun deutlich besser.
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      Sabrina S

      Das zweite Programm solltest du vielleicht doch weiter verfolgen, um Land und Leute besser zu verstehen, aus Sicht der Studenten und um deine Englischkenntnisse zu festigen.

      Romy Swan

      Freut mich riesig dass du so viel von deiner Arbeit für dich selbst mitnehmen kannst Süße!!!Weiter so Mrs. Ulrich 😉

    • Day4

      Mexiko City der Zweite Tag

      September 14 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      Heute waren wir am xochimilco Park ein beliebter Ausflug Park für Mexikaner mit bunten Booten. Danach haben wir noch 2 Mercados besucht. Am Abend waren wir noch auf einer Dach Bar.

    • Day18

      Kayak in Xochimilco

      July 13, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      My friend and i went to view the canals in a different manner to the usual embarcaderos.
      For the love of kayaking and for the love of the tranquillity it offers.
      After an hour of paddling we had a very quick stop at isla de munecas (island if the dolls) which is a local legend of horror story quality, and then we were caught in the rain.
      Soaked head to toe we came back to 'dock' as quickly as possible, indulged in flautas and beer drank and besides being cold and uncomfortable, overall we were merry.
      However, the hot shower I had when i got home was priceless.
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    • Day10

      Picnic in a bag

      July 5, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Following more travel guides into uncharted territory.
      The grounds of this ex-convent were recommended as a great location for a picnic.
      Went to the supermarket, found the world's smallest portion of Philly cream cheese, a tomato, bread roll and some kind of Turkey ham.
      Bob's your uncle - picnic in a bag
      The lake is a little lacking but i make a garn good sandwich.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Iztapalapa, Iztapalapa Borough

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