Mexico - Viva Mexico, viva la vida!
How could this have happened to me as a Travelnerd? The woman in stilettos had forced me into a luxury holiday (without a tent or bicycle) and I could not even say "No". And that in Mexico, a country with almost unlimited possibilities.
It all started with a colleague from work who got an expat contract and stayed together with his wife in Mexico City for a year. So it was obvious that we would have to stop by for a visit. We booked a cheap flight and soon after were sitting on a plane heading into the direction of the country, which is famous for its abundance of tacos and tequila.
Firstly, I and the woman in stilettos wanted to explore a little bit of the country before we would meet up with our friends in Acapulco.
Introduction in Oaxaca
Ancient City of Monte Alba
We picked Oaxaca as an easy and nice introduction to Mexico. A really great little town in the southern highlands. It does not only convince you of this with it’s ancient culture, such as the ruins at Monte Alba, but also with the lively Mexicans there. So we were lucky as there was a concert at the Zocalo, "THE" central plaza in almost every Mexican city.
Concert on the Zocalo in Oaxaca
Apart from the many churches and other historic buildings, it led us to a small energy fair in the pedestrian zone. There, alternative forms of energy production were presented. It ranged from power generation, hot water to solar cooking, everything that we Germans have not achieved yet.
Energy fair in Oaxaca
We Europeans, especially the Germans, tend to think, that we are way ahead in the organic sector and that other countries do not really deal in this field. This exhibition showed how wrong we can be with such assumptions.
Holiday feeling on the Pacific
Although it was only mid-March, it was already quite hot in the sun. So we went down to the Pacific to cool down. Once it became clear that there should be no "normal" vacation this time, I had my fate now completely assembled and we went into the
Holiday feeling in Puerto Escondido
"tourist stronghold" Puerto Escondido. Thankfully to turned out that it wasn't that bad after all. Mass tourism was limited, the view from our room was fantastic, and as it was low season, there were not really many "gringos" around. The animal "neighbourhood" was also interesting.
Keeping on good terms with the neighbours
The woman in stilettos would have stayed for several weeks, if not months. Amazingly that she didn't bring her stilettos. And that was the kind of holiday, that came closest to her understanding of it. She could (and probably would) have spent hours tottering up and down the promenade... if they only had one.
But the really good food and lots of fresh fruit shakes could not hold me here for a long time and I convinced my girlfriend to grab the backpack again, find a bus or pickup truck and head up the coast a little further north.
We didn't get far though and at Laguna de Chacahua we had already stopped again. A true paradise. Since there is no direct road connection from the "mainland” you have to cross the few meters with a small ferry. As a result, only a few true surfer dudes were there hanging around.
'Tis early practice only makes the master
Also the accommodation was great: Simple bamboo huts with palm leaf roofs and mosquito nets over the bed.
We had booked the luxury edition: A hut with concrete floor - without electricity of course. We did not need a fan anyway, as the Bamboo huts do not heat up during the day and because of the many gaps between the bamboo stalks through which, a constant breeze was blowing.
So the days went by and we spent the time with hours of walking up and down the deserted kilometres of long sandy beach.
In the evening a small restaurant had opened with a manageable, but delicious menu. Simple, but amazing!
But then we had to head further north, because we wanted to meet our friends. So we squeezed in a short pitstop in Playa Ventura, before we finally met in Acapulco.
Undaunted or just plain crazy
Acapulco. Somehow the word creates some pictures in our imagination. But when we were there, we found it just terrible. We had not even got to the Zona Hoteleria. What we could see from a distance was already enough for us. What a contrast to the almost deserted Laguna de Chacahua! And even the woman in stilettos felt no desire to trotter on the promenade.
Utterly fearless cliff diver at Acapulco
But the only real attraction of Acapulco we simply had to see: the death-defying cliff divers.
I must admit that I respected them for their courage. Apparently they too, as they prayed at a small shrine and asked for divine assistance, just before each jump. Then they went to the front edge. Down at sea level was someone who watched the waves. When they arrived at the right time and place, they gave a sign and the diver got going. Respect!
After the presentation we went straight on to Pie de la Cuesta. It is only a bay further than Acapulco, but it seemed to be light years away. There were no high-rise canyons of concrete bunker hotels. Although nothing to dream about, it was, at least in contrast to Acapulco, bearable.
On the way to Mexico City the four of us splurged ourselves one day in Taxco. It fits perfectly into the hilly landscape and invites you to explore its narrow streets.
Taxco at night
Despite it’s culture Taxco has great cuisine to offer. Unlike on the coast, where we almost only ate fresh fruits, there was again some "solid" stuff on the plate. The woman in stilettos was back in her element!
Last but not least: Mexico City
And then finally Mexico City. What a behemoth of a city. In contrary to our expectations it is fairly clean, but as expected, it was still a noisy, hectic mega metropolis with all the trimmings.
Palacio de Bellas Artes
The sights were seen quite fast: the Cathedral, the Torre Latinoamericana, the Palace of Fine Arts and the Castillo de Chapultepec, just to name a few.
And, even though Mexico City is known as a shoe paradise, the two ladies certified that it was a piece of cake in comparison to Italy. Well, the comparison with Italy is probably unfair, as each country in relation thereto may not keep up. But that should suite us men, because we do not have to wait for hours in the midday sun in front of the shops.
But after all that noise in the city, we simply had to leave. So a trip to Teotihuacan just outside of Mexico City came just right. Impressive what the Aztecs had done nearly 2,000 years ago.
Impressive what the Aztecs achieved
Also great was a trip to Puebla. It convinced with colonial streets, how we imagined traditional houses would be in Mexico: Simple, with a small balcony and colourful, bold colours.
Puebla: Brightly coloured
Although Puebla has 1.5 million inhabitants, it is not exactly a small village. But we were lucky again, as the shopping qualities did not seem to meet the requirements of our ladies.
And then in Tepoztlan, it turned out to be a sweaty affair. The town is located on the foot of a small mountain with El Tepozteco, another historical site on the ridge. And this needed to be climbed. Of course in the midday heat. Hmmm, it seems like we did all sporty activities at lunchtime. I think next time we should reconsider it.
After a few days we had to catch our return flight. As always, time was flying too quickly. But on one thing we all agreed, Mexico has taken us under it’s spell and we would return soon. And this time, we would make it a "real" vacation...
Mexico City at night
I am very much looking forward to your questions and comments in the guestbook.
More photos from colourful and lively Mexico are here.
Addendum: In fact, once again we left for Mexico at end of the year. This time to explore the Baja California by bicycle and tent.