Mexico City is one of my favorite places in the world. The first time I went, I didn’t know what to expect and was blown away. Second time was no different.
Uber is readily available and cheap. It cost me about $5 each way to get from the airport to Reforma where I had a 2:30 pm lunch. Yes, this is a city where 2:30 pm lunches are completely acceptable. At home, I eat lunch at 11:05. If I can hold out that long.
We chose the Market Gourmet Cafe located inside the Hotel Marquis in the middle of Paseo de la Reforma. 4 tacos (shrimp + octopus), a ceviche, 2 shots of mezcal served in champagne glasses and $20 later (wish I got a picture of my face when I saw the bill), I was stuffed and enjoyed my first meal of the trip.
Polanco Area: The last time I was here, I stayed in Condesa and literally did not leave the area. I was obsessed. This time, we hopped over to Polanco which is right next to Condesa for a group dinner at Restaurant Los Almendros Polanco, a traditional Yucatan restaurant. Moles are typically not my thing, I don’t like feeling like I’m straddling the line between dinner and dessert in one plate. The mole we had as part of our giant appetizer was so amazing I ended up ordering cameron chimoles for my main course! Add in a mariachi band, phenomenal margaritas (seriously!) and football on the TV and you have yourself the perfect dinner in Mexico City. WARNING: When they bring out the haberno sauce and say use sparingly, they’re not joking. My mouth was numb for a good 5 minutes. Thank god two others at the table decided it was in their best interest to try to beat in other in how much they could consume. #hotsaucesweats
Teotihuacan: A must do in Mexico City. I didn’t do this last time because it’s tough to drag people to go with you if they’ve already done it. And I get that.
- Transportation: We opted to get an Uber (because we’re that lazy) and we thought $35 for the one-hour ride was well worth it. And it was. The driver didn’t speak any English and the only Spanish we spoke was cerveza, cameron, fideo, taco… so he used a translation app to do the few sentences of communication he needed to. One was “Do you need me to stay with you or just drop you off?” We asked him just to drop us off. When we got there, he used the app again and what came up on the screen was “If you King Arthur Samsung Galaxy II, only if you forgot a printer.” What he meant to say was “I can’t take you any further, you have to buy your ticket and enter here.” #lostintranslation
- The Pyramids: Perhaps not QUITE as impressive as Egypt, but pretty darn close. We started hiking up the couple of hundred of steps to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. Mexico City is already a bit of a higher altitude so these steeps steps definitely remind you that you need to remember to breathe! You can spend a good couple of hours wandering the area, including a half way hike up the Pyramid of Moon which is slightly smaller.
- Souvenirs: Like any other tourist attraction, locals are trying to sell you things. I was VERY amazed that the vendors were not overly intrusive. They asked if you would like anything, and if you said no, they respected that.
- Lunch: We decided to stay for lunch here and walked out Puerto 3 where we had seen some establishments when Uber dropped us off. We walked along a bike path (seriously? we don’t have bike paths in 95% of America), saw a decent restaurant El Ranchito and thought that could be a winner. We decided to walk just a bit more to see, and the very next establishment was a tarp attached to a tree with 5 sets of outdoor lawn furniture and a family running the show. Bingo, we found our lunch spot. 2 flor de calabaza (squash flower – thanks Blue Apron!) quesadillas, 2 tacos, 1.2 liters of Corona, a coke and 125 pesos later (seriously that’s $6.50. The Corona costs more in a grocery store here) we are full and ready to head back to Mexico City!
- Wonk Factor: We didn’t really think about the fact that our cell phones might not work the best or that Uber might not have cars. So we walked about 1 kilometer on this amazing bike path and flagged down a cab. He wanted 900 pesos, but between what we could scrounge in cash (Uber has ruined my need to carry cash, ever!) in pesos and USD, we agreed in a price and hopped in the car. 5 minutes later we’re on the highway and I’m scrolling away on my phone looking through photos. I look up and buses that are 85% broken down are whizzing past us and the speedometer on the car is at zero. We are definitely moving. He pulls over next to a dead dog (ugh, it wasn’t a pug at least) and checks under the hood. Not the spark plugs (or something, I don’t know anything about cars) so he keeps driving at “zero mph” towards the next exit. He’s “cruising” and making phone calls, and we tell him just to stop and let us out because we’re now going back towards the pirimades, not towards Mexico City. We are walking around tiny town here and see what I would vaguely classify as a taxi rank, with cars that don’t say taxi on them. We ask to go to Mexico City Aeropuerto, and one of the other driver explains to the first “taxi” in line where we want to go after I show him on a map. We get in and aren’t sure this one will make it either. All of a sudden, we realize we are further North than Teotihuacan (Mexico City Airport is SOUTH!), and he keeps telling us the airport is this way. He stops, turns left between 2 concrete walls and we end up in the middle of a dust bomb from another truck that has sped away. Once that settles we see that we’re in the middle of a crop field, with a school. We ended up where the hot air balloons take off.
So we ask him to take BACK to the piramades, and he does. We get out of the cab, at the EXACT SAME SPOT WE GOT INTO THE FIRST ONE, two hours later. We ask a guy, where should we get a cab into Mexico City? “Oh, just go to that tent there and wait for the coach buses that come every 20 minutes. It’s $2 per person.” 5 minutes later, we’re on a comfortable coach bus and 40 minutes later we’re in Mexico City. Why did we not listen to the 10 local people we met over the last few days that told us that was the best way to get to there?!??! #liveandlearn #wewantedadventure