8. Mexico City (Day Four)
You know when you're on holidays and you lose track of the date? It's a great feeling. Couldn't do that today. Today was Valentine's day, and Mexico was showing that they would NOT be outdone by their northern neighbours. There was Valentine's crap EVERYWHERE! We've never been a couple to celebrate the Hallmark/Retailer's day and we do everything we can to avoid being caught up in the hysteria. So that was a perfect excuse to head out of the city and explore Teotihuacan.
We arrived early, even before the tour buses, but we didn't beat the 20 or so hot air balloons hovering over the site. We even saw a blimp in the sky (I guess someone was really trying to impress their girlfriend). Ruins were definitely on our list of things to see throughout our travels, but Teotihuacan was not high on that list. Looking back, it should have been. The place was enormous and awesome! We walked for several kilometres around the grounds, plus up and down hundreds (thousands?) of stairs, which I claimed as my workout for the day. The citadel and smaller structures were worth the effort, but it was the two pyramids that left us awestruck. It was hard going reaching the top (I blame the altitude), providing us with incredible views. Once the place started to become mobbed by tour groups, we took it as our cue to leave and headed back to the city.
Danny went off in search of a brewery (this was a recurring theme on our trip) while I visited Bosque de Chapultepec, a sprawling two kilometre long park. About half of this park was taken over by stalls selling all sorts of mindless garbage and junk food. Once I had walked past 10 stalls I had seen everything that was on offer, as the stalls started to repeat themselves. The only items I indulged in were water and cut up orange covered in red powder, which I discovered was paprika mixed with sugar. If you did that in Australia, they would look at you like you had gone mad. I don't mind the chili, but the sugar I definitely didn't need. The rest of the gardens were nice, with a botanic garden, cacti farm, a large lake with the obligatory paddleboats, a castle and dozens of dried up fountains. The coolest part was a tiny walled off garden called the Audiorama. Signs were plastered around asking people to be quiet, while gentle music played out of the speakers. People were lounging around like they were at home, reading books or listening to iPods. If I had either with me I would have joined them.
Chilling out in the Audiorama.
Dinner wasn't easy. There was a free concert in the centre square for Valentine's day, which every man, woman and child in Mexico City attended. I don't think I had ever seen so many people together in one space before. Most restaurants around town had lines out the front, but eventually we found a relatively quiet joint with a menu entirely in Spanish. By this stage we had picked up maybe 10 food-related Spanish words so we could make out about 20% of the menu. A very nice man on the table next to us acted as our translator, allowing me to order veggie enchiladas. Post-dinner we caught a bit of the concert but it was definitely not our sort of music (perfect for 14 year old girls though), so we fought the crowds back to our hotel for a semi-early night.
Valentine's Day concert in front of the cathedral.