Imagine going from one of the least populated places on earth – being able to talk to two persons only during three weeks – going straight to one of the world’s most populated cities. That’s what we did when we flew from Mongolia to Mexico. Well, we had time to think about it during our 40-hour trip (Ulaanbataar-Beijing-Tijuana-Mexico), but it was still a bit of a shock, also in a positive way.
CDMX (Ciudad de Mexico)
We had secured a cheap flight from Asia to the Americas and it entailed going through Mexico, so we assumed that the god of tacos had some plans for us and decided to explore the country. We had an outstanding welcome in the former capital of the Aztecs as a friend of Rebekka had organised a home-stay for us in a lovely Mexican family that spoke German. The first morning, we were stuffed with fresh fruits, eggs, tortillas and juice. Being back in a country with fresh food almost made us cry of happiness.
Mexico city is as you would expect it to be: huge, crowded and buzzing, but more importantly full of delicious restaurants and things to see. We visited the historical center, enjoyed the beautiful colonial architecture, the remains of a massive Aztec temple (Templo Mayor), and couldn’t resist the delicious quesadillas and tacos stands surrounding us. People are lively, welcoming and smiling. In the evening, our host family invited us for a real pile of tacos that we gulped with no hesitation.
We spent half a day in the gigantic Museo Nacional de Antropologia that gave us a better understanding of the civilizations that populated the country before the Spaniards came. Some impressive pieces are exposed there, including a giant calendar stone that looks more like a sacrificial altar (and that’s what scientists thought at first).
To get the full Mexican experience, Quentin offered his cellphone to the association of subway pickpocketers and realised that he hadn’t saved the phone pictures of Mongolia yet (guess that guy is never getting a nobel prize…). To improve the mood, we went to the Frida Kahlo’s House, except that it was 1.5 hours before closing time and there was a waiting line of almost two hours… so we ended up in a market eating Tostadas (crunchy tacos) with beef, seafood, and mole (a spicy chocolate sauce). We then met Elisa, a Mexican friend of Quentin that he met in Japan, and she took us to San Angel, a cute district with beautiful streets.
Our last day in Mexico City was dedicated to the buying of a new phone and the visit of the Pyramids of Teotihuacan, impressive archeological site an hour outside of town. The masses of tourists did not lessen the grandeur of those structures that are nothing less than the biggest Meso-American pyramids built in pre-Colombian times.
Leaving Mexico City, we headed for the south of Mexico and stopped on the way for one day in Puebla, a charming city that has maintained its beautiful colonial architecture.
There wasn’t much else to do that strolling around in the colorful streets and taking pictures. We also visited the Capilla del Rosario in the Templo de Santo Domingo, a chapel covered in gold. Although it doesn’t look that nice on the pictures, it was very impressive to look at, especially after 5 months of visiting only buddhist temples!
That evening we went to a traditional restaurant to get one of the region’s signature dish: Mole Poblano. Mole is a sauce with a cocoa base and dozens of other ingredients (different sorts of chili, nuts, herbs and fruits) depending on the region where you eat it.
Time to head south now, towards the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas!