The best way I could describe Mexico City is as a full-on acid trip. It´s been that amazing and bizarre at the same time. My first day in Mexico City, my mate Sam and I started out by checking out the Zocalo, or city square. It´s a massive square in the center of town surrounded by historical buildings, but unfortunately at the moment, you can´t see the main square itself because there is a massive outdoor ice-skating rink in it. For some reason, I´d never put ice-skating and Mexico together, but there it was. From there, we checked out the Government Palace, which in itself was a bit boring, but the murals painted on the stairwell and second floor by Diego Rivera were amazing.
Also in the Zocalo are the first major cathedral in Mexico (built right over the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan by Cortez), an old Aztec temple they found ten years ago under a church, a bunch of shops and organ grinders everywhere. From there, we walked around the city some more, just checking out the buildings and neighbourhoods. That night, we ended up having tequila poured down our throats by the hostel staff and getting completely annihilated, before I headed out on the town with my mexican amigo and some other people. First, we went to the Spanish Cultural Center, which had a decent DJ but started to close right after we each bought a drink. Then, we went to a club on top of a building near the Zocalo, which had an amazing view, but not many people.
The day after, we got a bunch of people together and headed to Xochimilco, a series of rivers and floating gardens that has been around in some way or another since the Aztecs. We rented a boat for a few hours and went sailing around the rivers, and I have to say, it was one of the maddest things I´ve ever seen. Trippy, fluorescent colored boats sailing down the rivers, with Mexican families dancing on the boats, boats full of mariachis that sail up to your boat to play songs, floating street food stalls, and all other kinds of mayhem. We even went to a tree that had a bunch of mutilated dolls and stuffed toys hanging from it, as an old Mexican fished them out of the water after a local girl drowned to appease the "river gods".
After that, we went to the Dolores Olmeda Museum, and it honestly has to be the trippiest museum I´ve ever seen. The museum is a walled complex, with huge gardens and the buildings themselves looking like an old castle/ mansion. The gardens have sculptures all over the place, with peacocks and small, black hairless dogs running around everywhere. I walked out of one of the exhibits and there was a peacock standing right in front of me! The museum itself is separated into a bunch of different galleries with a lot of work by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and one of the exhibits in a building that looks like a castle is full of man-sized skeletons surrounded by bright, fluorescent artwork. There was also another building in which you could only walk a certain way through the exhibit and you had the staff there telling you exactly where to go.
The next day, we went to Teotihuacan, the ancient Toltec site about 45 minutes outside of Mexico City. Teotihuacan is comprised of two giant pyramids, the pyramid of the moon and the pyramid of the sun (which is the third largest pyramid in the world), a long avenue called the "Avenue of the Dead" and a large temple complex on the south end. The view from the temple of the moon was amazing, and we spent the day wandering around the ruins and climbing the pyramids.
On Tuesday, Sam, Ying and I went to the National Museum of Anthropology, which is supposed to be the biggest and best museum of its kind in all of the Americas. On the way there, we walked through a giant park and Sam and I decided to buy "Lucha Libre" wrestling masks and started to pretend to wrestle in the park. The Mexicans around us looked at us like we were completely mad. We then went to the Museum, and we posed in various places in the exhibits with our masks. The museum itself was pretty cool, but it´s kind of hard to keep your excitement after you´ve looked at the thousandth piece of pottery or figurine. The replicas that they´d made of some of the ruined temples and statues (like the Aztec sun stone) were extremely impressive. That night, Sam and I went to the Mexico Arena and caught a live "Lucha Libre" match. It was insane. The acting was about as bad as in the WWE, but it was way more entertaining and the crowd was really into it. After that, we went back to the hostel and joined in the party there with our masks - the whole night was pretty mad.
Now, I´m off back to Canada for a week for the holidays, so I´ll start blogging again when I´m back on the road.