Tag Archive for 'Rebeca Perez'

The plan was to bike out today…

But we’re going to stay one more night. Yesterday, Aran had some pretty amazing stomach troubles (no, it wasn’t the water. We blame a particular torta stand at Garibaldi subway stop.) Then we stayed up late with Oscar brainstorming some ideas for a Mexico City tour guide business he is considering! Then, we slept a little too late this morning to catch Becky before work to say goodbye, and Aran’s stomach is better but not 100%. So we figure, one more day here is a great idea.

Our second week here included a trip to the candy market, where we discovered that they sell large chunks of candied starchy vegetables, like pumpkin and yam. We went to a few other markets and hunted for some spacers Aran needed for her bike racks. Leo invited us to a party at his house, where we met a bunch of his engineering student friends. Andrew observed that engineering school students in Mexico party a lot like engineering school students in the US – lots of dudes sit around cracking dorky jokes. Things really got going, though, when we spotted an ENORMOUS fire from the roof, and heard on the news that a Walmart was burning down. We even tried our Spanish and the engineers practiced their English, and between the two we met some great folks.

Over the weekend, we made a journey north of the city to see Oscar’s camp in the mountains. The site is absolutely beautiful. The mountains and their forests are quiet and pristine, and they make it very easy to forget that Mexico City is only 90 minutes away by car. Unfortunately, it rained all day, and showed no sign of letting up. While Andrew and I are prepared for the rain, Oscar and Becky don’t have much rain gear, and Becky hasn’t camped much. We decided to avoid a cold, rainy night in the woods, and instead drove down the mountain 30km to Pachuca, where there was the Hildago State Fair. We paid 30 pesos each for entry (~$2.25) and all the attractions inside were free. Including the rides. Again, Mexicans know how to have a good time.

Sunday, before heading back to Mexico City, we visited the Toltecan ruins at Tula. Apparently, the Tolteca civilization’s governing power was military instead of religious, unlike a lot of other civilizations. One of those others, the Mexicas, took over the region after a few hundred years. The ruins were cool, though a lot smaller and a bit more tumbledown than Teotihuacan.

Since the weekend, we’ve been gathering momentum to climb aboard the bikes. Oscar has requested that he ride along with us on his new bike which was a thank you present from us. He’ll come as far as Puebla or a bit farther. It will be great to have his company and advice for a few more days. On Tuesday, we made one more trip to the market for road snacks (bars made of nuts, seeds, and honey; peanut butter, tortillas). Yesterday, we packed and Andrew re-assembled his neat-o solar charger. Today, we’re laying low, saying goodbye to the street vendors who come through and serenade the residents here a few times each day.

Tomorrow, we hit the road!

Hanging out in Mexico City, drinking the water, eating the lettuce, having a blast.

There is something amazing about an invitation to “stay as long as you want to. Please. Really.” First of all, it eliminates all pressure to plan (though some say A&a could use a little pressure here). Second, it opens up the opportunity to get to know a city little by little. Oscar loves his city like few people do, and wants nothing more than to have us fall in love with it too. He seems to know how everything works first-hand, and regales us with stories of his time as a bus driver, an internet cafe owner, an English teacher, a cactus fruit picker, and many other things. It’s like walking around with a warm, generous, hilarious talking guide book. His girlfriend Rebeca is equally warm and generous and is teaching us to cook all the things we buy in the markets.  There are markets here  for everything from candy to pets to clothes to kitchen supplies. Food is of course very available and very delicious. The way Rebeca, and many Mexicans, cook is enviable — they do not use recipes. They just know what to do. We’ve eaten out very little, but the street food is awesome, too.

Lucky for us, our amazing hosts like to walk around and look at stuff as much as we do. Most of our tourist-ing has included long walks through varied neighborhoods and parks. The city is so enormous, but there are so many different zonas that take on their own personalities.  There are a lot of opportunities to see free art, theater, dancing, music, etc.  We went to a castle on a hill constructed during Spanish colonization, which was impressive in itself, but then also stumbled onto a free performance by the ballet folklorico.

Yesterday we visited the Mayan pyramids at Teotihuacan, north of the city.  A couple of high school girls approached us half way up the Pyramid of the Sun and asked us if they could interview us in English for a school assignment.  We said of course, and they asked us questions including “What do you like to eat the most in Mexico?” and “What is your goal in life?”  Heh.  They thought our bike tour sounded pretty awesome. After the official interview was over, they also asked us whether we were married and whether we had a son they could meet.  We told them no, and then one asked whether we could adopt her. When we had joked about this for a bit, another asked if we would come to her town in the evening for their festival to honor the patron saint of her church.

We are learning that it is good to say yes to everything, so we did indeed venture over the the small puebla Xometla.  We didn´t see our new friend, but we did buy a cotton candy the size of a small horse, listen to a peppy band, and watch 14 year olds crawling around to check the wires of the rides (regulations are a bit looser here).  Today we hunted for some spacers Aran is missing for her bike and went to a party that a friend of Oscar´s was throwing at his house.  We had a lot of spanglish conversations with drunk engineers.  Pretty neat.  Tomorrow, we plan to rent a car and head off to the mountains for the weekend with Oscar and Becki to see the site Oscar has secured for a summer camp he is trying to start.  It will be our first glimpse of the hills to come.

¡Vamos a México!

[this post was written on Friday, 23 September]

We have done it! We’re in Mexico with our bikes and panniers. Here’s how we did it:

On Monday, we got a ride to Washington with Andrew’s parents, and then we chased down a part for Aran’s bike, and delivered our bikes to the Nova Bicycle Doctor in Falls Church on Tuesday afternoon, with the help of aunt Lois. On Wednesday evening we packed our panniers and then packed them into two boxes from UHaul, and picked up the bikes from the doc. TSA had a look in each of the 4 boxes and passed them all on to Air Canada, who got them to Mexico City at the same time as us, even though we had been rebooked by the time we made our connection in Toronto (they re-rebooked us, and loaded the bikes).

Once in Mexico, we breezed through Immigration and Customs, and found our friend Oscar waiting just outside the doors of Customs. He helped us drag the boxes to a corner of the hallway where we were more or less out of the way, and we reassembled the bicycles, reattaching forks, stems, racks, fenders, and pedals before loading up the bags and walking over the highway. Oscar led us to his home on bike, and we’ve been touring the city on foot with him since. Yesterday we saw the Zocalo, National Palace, opera house and downtown, and today we went to the market a Merced and bought enough food for 5 days, which we’ll help our hosts Oscar and Rebecca cook into delicious meals.