Given a total of 14 hours on the ground in Mexico City, of which the majority was during sleeping hours, there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity for grand adventures or expeditions. Things got even worse when my phone lost data service on arrival and I couldn’t find the address of the hotel to tell the cab driver. A quick phone call back to a buddy in Los Angeles solved that problem (Thanks, Damien!) but I was still left with a few hours on a Monday morning that I had to fill. I wasn’t willing to just sit in the hotel room until I had to head back to the airport – what fun is that?!?! – so I set out on a very limited exploration of a very small part of Mexico City.
My hotel, the Wyndham Garden Inn, is in the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City. About 30 minutes from the airport, the area is very accessible and also happens to be a reasonably nice neighborhood to wander about. Even putting aside the significant number of points I earned for the hotel stay I think that the property is a winner. Free internet that is a pretty decent connection, great towels (very soft) and a pretty good location make the property a winner to me.
I got some great tips from a friend in terms of what I should try to see and I managed to do pretty well overall, I think. I still need to get to El Moro, the churros shop that was recommended, but I did get to see El Angel de Independencia and a couple other sites while wandering around the neighborhood for the couple hours I had that morning. Plus, I’ll be back in six weeks and should be able to get that bit of fun in on that visit.
But on this visit I simply walked up one of the main streets of town for a bit and was exposed to an enjoyable snippet of the city. Plenty of folks out on the street and I watched their completely crazy means of dealing with traffic circles (they just go on whichever side gets them to the destination faster rather than in a circle!). Overall, it was a rather enjoyable way to spend a bit of time in the morning getting acclimated to town.
Plus, I had a ridiculously delicious breakfast on the street. As I walked past the guy on the way out for my rambles I had a very good feeling about the situation. He had several meats, each kept in a very neat pile on the griddle. Plus the whole rig looked to be very clean. Still, there was no one else out eating so I was a bit apprehensive. I got over that when I returned from my excursion and saw a couple others around the stall eating off of plates that were covered in a disposable wrap. So he runs a very clean shop. That’s a good sign.
My initial order – in my version of very broken Spanish and his much better English – was for carne y queso; steak and cheese. Served on a couple tortillas and then topped with onions, salsa and a squeeze of lime juice from the condiment bar that he had on the cart. Half way through consuming that delicious I managed to order a second round, this time with chorizo rather than carne. It also had a different cheese though I really couldn’t describe the difference with any reasonable accuracy.
The two tortillas overfilled with meat plus a soda were about 30 pesos. That’s just over two US dollars. The food was great and at the price there was really nothing better out there. At least not that I could figure out how to order anywhere. After all, I barely speak Spanish.
And then it was back to the airport and then onto the circuitous routing back to New York City. Having the same flight crew for the Mexico City – Panama City flight as the night before into Mexico was fun. So was meeting a guy in the lounge in Panama that I vaguely knew from a previous trip. But that’s all a different story.
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