31 August 2014

Stealth Mosques

We found two mosques in DF.  Neither is very noticeable (I still think it's ironic that the churches here often have more traditionally Islamic elements in them than the mosques do), but they're there.

I can't find the photos of the second mosque, so these are from just one.

30 August 2014

Sinking DF

Mexico City is noticeably sinking wherever you look, but it's most noticeable in the old, heavy churches.  And they don't always sink nearly.  The old Basilica in the second photos leans toward one corner (and you go uphill inside the church).  The two photos at the end show a church whose foundation had to be dug out- at least eight feet's worth of dirt.  And they're keeping track of the tilt inside the church.

29 August 2014


This site is a little different from the others we visited because it's not run by INAH, but by the Mexican Institute of Culture.  It's not quite as protected and we were allowed to explore whatever we liked at our own risk.  It's a large but simple site and we loved it.

It closes at 5 and we got there at 4:10.  The ticket seller told us that we wouldn't have time to go up since they make everyone leave at 4:30 (he really didn't want us to go up), but we went anyway.  It was a quick climb up the hill and no one told us to go down and we left a little after 5 ahead of another group.  The ticket guy was gone so I'm not quite sure what the problem was.

This is only about an hour from DF and I think it would make a great, low stress day trip.

28 August 2014


On Saturday we did one last pyramid fest and went to Xochicalco and Teotenango.  We drove right by Malinalco, but didn't have time to stop there too.  From what we could tell, it's a smaller site than Teotenango, but it gets a lot more attention because Malinalco is a Pueblo Magico.  We visited some sites that get no press and were hard to find, but were still wonderful.  The ones that get attention and signs were amazing too, but there are major differences in advertising and that's not the way to figure out what's worth visiting.

Xochicalco is a World Heritage Site and about 2 hours from DF.  It doesn't quite have the same grandeur as Teotihuacan, but the site is much more compact which makes it easier to explore.  And there were still some very impressive things there.  We didn't see anything while were in DF this time that would displace Teotihuacan as the pyramid site to see if you visit DF, but that doesn't mean that all the rest are boring.  Far from it.

Anyway.  We did a big loop, heading south out of DF toward Cuernavaca.  DF is about 2250 meters in elevation, so we just rode down the road the entire way there.  I don't think I've ever gone downhill for so long and we ended up at Xochicalco and 1000 meters in elevation.  The climate was noticeably different with new flowers, iguanas, and so many butterflies.

The Temple of the Feathered Serpent was the most amazing part of the site.  There also is an observatory with a chimney that allows the sun to fall directly into the cave for a day or two in the middle of May and again at the end of July.  Sunlight shines in the cave from the end of April to the middle of August so we should have gone the first week we were there, but you can't do everything.

There's a good museum at the site.  Also, there's not much climbing allowed here, probably less than any other place we visited.

27 August 2014

The Book of Life

I almost never get excited about a soon-to-be-released movie, and I don't know if I've ever posted about one, but I'm really hoping I can figure out a way to see The Book of Life in a theater in English.  Actually, I think I'd be happy to see this in Spanish too, but English is always nice.  Actually, I just watched the Spanish trailer and it's a little different. And a little more Mexico.

Anyway.  I may make it to a theater while I'm here.

Mexican States

I've been to most of the US states (except Alaska and some southern states) and now I'm trying to visit as many states in Mexico as possible.  We can't go to some, but last weekend we were able to drive home through Michoacan so that one is checked off. I suppose I've been to Baja California too, just barely.

Places I've been:

Jalisco, obviously, because I live here
Quintana Roo
Baja California (barely, and that was many years ago)

Places I'm planning on going:


Places I really want to go but probably won't:

San Luis Potosi

Not really likely:

Baja California Sur
Nuevo Leon

26 August 2014

Riding the Metro

I loved riding the Metro in Mexico City.  Subways are my favorite, by far, form of transportation (sorry, marshrutkas) and I'm thinking that after Riyadh, our number one goal should be to always live in a city with a decent subway station.  A good light rail system would work too.

The best part about the DF Metro is skipping all the traffic above ground.  It's also cheap from my perspective at 40 cents a ride anywhere in the city, but it's expensive for a lot of the people who are riding it.  The rate went up at the end of last year from 3 pesos to 5 which is a pretty big increase all at once.  It was 2 pesos not too many years ago.

There was usually someone on the train selling something.  The most common items were markers, ear buds, and snacks/candy.  Sometimes people carried speakers in a backpack and you could request a song while you were riding along.  Once a young couple got on with a guitar and a speaker and she sang as we were riding along.  Another strategy one woman used was to hand everyone a candy bar with a message on it asking you to buy it for 5 pesos.  She came back around and you either gave her the candy back or 5 pesos.  I didn't see any little children selling.  I only rode it about 15 times, but I hope that wasn't a fluke.

The transfer stations are large with lots of stairs to climb.  Some have interesting things to see inside (like pyramid ruins) but mostly they're not too exciting.

I never once felt in danger on the Metro.  I generally rode in the front cars which are reserved for women and children during rush hour, but available to any the rest of the day.  I did avoid busy hours as much as possible and I know how to ride public transportation safely.  It was easy to navigate with plenty of signs (and every single stop has its own unique symbol- loved that).

25 August 2014


We had a great adventure on Saturday, driving on smaller roads in Mexico and stopping at interesting places.  One thing I wanted to do was to buy a rebozo in Tenancingo where they're made.  I realized that if I'm going to be stuck wearing head scarves sometimes in Riyadh that I'd want to have some from Mexico and a Mexican rebozo sounded perfect.

I also tried alambres in Tenancingo.  They don't seem to be quite as popular in Guadalajara as some other parts of the country (or it's entirely possible that I'm just clueless) so I hadn't had them before, but they were tasty.

I now have a whole drawerful of scarves from Egypt, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, and Mexico to make the head covering thing less annoying.  I am perfectly happy to cover my head when I choose to, and have done so often in the past, but it's not as nice to be required to do it.

24 August 2014

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

We finally made it out to the Basilica.  I dragged my husband there on the metro and we got thoroughly drenched between the Basilica and the metro, but it was still a great trip.  I was impressed.

You'll see the old Basilica below which was closed for about 25 years at the end of the last century.  It still leans to the front corner and there's a noticeable incline inside the church, and cracks in the ceiling too.

There are many buildings on the site.  We were there in the evening when most we closed, but the main ones were still open.

23 August 2014

Centro Historico Churches

I wandered from church to church around the Historic Center one day.  And picked up a few scarves (the lightweight ones are called palestinas here) for Riyadh.