Hola de Mexico City and El Salvador
Trip Start Apr 30, 2008
30Trip End Apr 17, 2009
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We wish we had more than two days to explore Mexico City. We took a double-decker tour bus to get a sense of the city. Many of the city's broad streets were modeled on the Champs d'Elysees in Paris. On our second day we took a tour of an interactive museum of economics sponsored by the Central Bank of Mexico.
After the museum we walked through the city while trying to buy tickets to Lucho Libre (The masked-Mexican wrestling). Our seats were far enough from the action to be safe, but close enough to recognize that even though it´s fake (sorry Phil), it still really must hurt. Our seats, ironically purchased at chain of bookstores in Mexico City named "Gandhi", were in the last row of the box seats. Behind us was an 8 foot tall chain link fence to separate the section from the general admission. We did have to hold trays of popcorn and beverages while the vendors climbed the fence and then we would them their products...
In many cities in the US, you find neighborhoods like Chinatown or Little Italy. Well, a suburb of the Twin Cities is called Little Canada, yet we´ve never been able to find any Canadian food--until now. Near our hotel in Mexico City was a place called "Jugos Canada" (Okay, it was a juice bar and restaurant near the Hotel Canada). While it may not be the authentic Canadian food we've been searching for, their tortas (grilled sandwiches) and fresh squeezed juices (orange, pineapple, and another 10 or so) were amazing. We ate or drank there at least three times.
It was an interesting time to be visiting Mexico City. Our understanding is that the current administration is working on reducing corruption in Mexico (a portion of which is due to the demand for drugs in the US). High ranking law enforcement officials were recently assassinated. All around the city were banners of support for the cause. Hopefully, the reaction we saw has been a genuinely unifying event for the people of Mexico.
The beginning of our stay in El Salvador was an experience we will remember forever. The country´s international airport is about 30 miles from the city of San Salvador. We took the advice of our guidebook and took a mini-bus into the city. Without a doubt, there were 40-50 people in the van. Ray was "lucky" and was pushed to the back bench with his backpack blocking all forward vision. Candy stood surrounded by people who just kept coming. Did we mention that El Salvador is mostly mountains with very narrow valleys? Ray and Candy disagree on whether this experience tops the "maxi-taxis" in Romania. We do agree that we would like Eric to visit El Salvador and settle the dispute for us.
San Salvador has a significant American influence from all the guest workers in the US who have returned to El Salvador. (On the map to our hotel was a landmark for "Texaco". At first, Ray thought this was yet another Mayan/Aztec word that he couldn´t pronounce. Then he saw the signs for Wendy´s, Burger King, and Tony Roma´s.)
We took a day trip out of Juayua to other towns on the Ruta de las Flores. Weekends are great days to be in these small towns as it seems everyone from nearby comes to the area around the town square. In coffee country, all the men seem to have machetes (often with elaborate leather "holsters").
We also hired a 15 year-old guide (Ilmer)
Our El Salvador waterfall hike turned out to be great preparation for our adventures in Guatemala. Tune in next time to hear about our adventures climbing a volcano and to see Candy´s unique way to toast marshmallows.