MEXICO CITY
Nov 15 - Virtual Mexico

I don't think the Mexicans understand the power of the internet yet. Before I came to Mexico City, I was looking online to find everything I needed to set up shop here. I could not find a lot of people advertising for gyms, furnished apartments, sim cards, spanish lessons, or guitar lessons. Before I moved to Buenos Aires before, I had everything already researched and booked before I even landed in the city!

Maybe I'll find more stuff as I live here longer, but so far Mexico City has been a black virtual box.

MEXICO CITY
UPDATE: Dec 15 - Virtual Mexico

Craigslist for Mexico: Mundo Anuncio

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MEXICO CITY
Nov 16 - Damn, It´s Cold!

Before I came to México, I thought it would be a tropical vacation. But I didn´t do my research--it's cold here! Like 5C at night. And this becomes freezing cold because none of the buildings have any central heating. So I'm totally bundled up at night. But during the day it's 25C so I'm walking around in my shorts. It's a bit crazy.

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NUMBERS 10.11.16 MEXICO CITY
Mexico City
- population: 21 million
- altitude: 2249 m (7350 ft)

MEXICO CITY - PASEO DE REFORMA
Nov 17 - Getting Settled

So I'm staying in a nice part of the city called Roma. It's a generally more affluent neighbourhood right in the core of this massive city. I did a hop-on-off bus tour of the centro just to get my bearings. The city is chock full of art. Stone statues line the street. Museums are everywhere. Both huge and tiny parks show off local artists. It's all pretty impressive.

The city itself is like a grungier version of any American city I think. Although there's lots of poverty here, it's not as in-your-face as it was when I was just in India. So walking down the street doesn't prove too scary yet--I think the bad stories give the city more bark than bite.

I spent the last couple of days trying to organize myself and set up some basics. Like I said I couldn't find a lot of information on gyms online, but there are tons of them in the core. From glitzy multistory to small grittier ones. I ended up treating myself to the biggest and nicest gym I have ever seen in my life, called Qi. It's about 4 stories of workout space, and includes a busy weights and cardio room, a full climbing wall, meditation room, multiple group class rooms, and even a sensory deprivation tank. But I swear that the place is full of porn stars (both male and female). I think it's because the gym is so expensive, the people that come here are really serious about working out. For C$200 a month and all the porns stars I can handle, I plan to go there every day!!

 

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NUMBERS 10.11.17 MEXICO CITY
ticket for Turibus: 150P
month to month Qi membership: 2222P
Eurogym, 1 month: 200P

MEXICO CITY - ZÓCALO
Nov 19 - Celebrating Independence

Last night I was at the main square in Mexico City, the Zócalo, with my friend Jason. This year marks the 200th anniversary of México's independence and there was a huge show to commemorate. Hundreds of people and families packed Zócalo watching a multimedia light and sound show describing the history of México, from the beginning of the ancient rainforests to the country today.

It was awesome although I couldn't really understand the story being told in Spanish. Hundreds of performers danced along three big stages. A high-tech light show created the most amazing effects I have even seen--I never believed that a building could move until last night, but the light show just turned the buildings into undulating living things.

It's pretty awesome that I got to see the bicentario celebrations here as well as in Argentina. Apparently Chile, Venezuela, and Colombia also had their bicentenarios this year. It sounds like it was a bad year for the Spaniards!

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LEARNING SPANISH in MEXICO PART 1
Nov 24 - Lost in Translation

I'm not one to be dramatic, but today I went a bit nuts. I started my first week of classes at the Frida Spanish School here. After a straightforward multiple choice test, I was put into Advanced 2 which seemed a bit high but I thought I'd give it a try.

Wow, the class is basically 4 hours of talking non-stop. I don't even talk in English for more than 10 minutes at a time! I was getting so frustrated because I couldn't understand the conversations. So today we were doing some exercise discussing magazine articles. The other student in my class, Miss K.I.A., was talking on and on about her article and all I was thinking was "What the FUCK is she saying??!". Then the teacher starts discussing back with her and I'm thinking "Now what the FUCK is SHE saying??!". And then she asks me to talk about my article while I'm in this WTF funk.

And that's when I just broke. I was in a sweat. So I left in a dramatic fashion--packed up my stuff suddenly while the teacher waited for my answer, stood up to their bewildered faces, and told them I couldn't do this anymore, and walked out. The teacher and the other student were in shock and I'm not sure if I feel comfortable going back to class tomorrow! I feel a bit guilty about it all. But I was in fight or flight mode at that point.

I'm so frustrated now. I just can't understand what the fuck people are saying after all this time learning Spanish. If I show my face at school tomorrow I'll probably ask to get downgraded a level or two.

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NUMBERS 10.11.24 MEXICO CITY
Frida Spanish School:
- signup fee: P650
- 20hr / week group class: P1950

MEXICO CITY - CAYOACÁN
Nov 28 - Free Hugs

I was in a pretty area of the city called Cayoacán with my friend Jason and we were having a tasty Mexican buffet lunch beside a lush green park. It's nice to watch people more relaxed and away from the frenetic chaos of the busier areas. Jason gave a happy sigh as he pointed out a family with "ABRAZOS GRATIS" ("free hugs") signs in the park. It brought back some humanity to this massive city as we watched them give hugs to others in the park.

After lunch we walked around the area checking out the bootleg dvd stands, the vendors selling corn cooked in 5 different ways, the infamously disgusting arbol de chicle (tree of gum), and preachers giving sermons on the streets and actually attracting a crowd. I was approached by the Family of Free Hugs and gave them all hugs, the little kid was the cutest.

Well, a few hours later, I realized that my cell phone had been swiped. I presume by this band of hugging rogues. I called my phone to try to offer a reward (It's unlocked!! I need it back!!), but Jason told me a story about a coworker whose phone was stolen, put on the market, and sold to an unsuspecting Mexican within an hour. They're very efficient here.

So moral of the story is never accept a hug from a stranger. Even if they tell you it's "free". I'm so naïve sometimes.

LUNCH BUFFET: 160 pesos
MOVIE TICKET: 72 pesos
CORN IN THE PARK: 15 pesos
FREE HUG: 2000 pesos

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NUMBERS 10.11.28 MEXICO CITY
movie ticket, Jackass 3D: P72
lunch buffet, Cayoacán: P160
free hug: C$180
Cheapest cell phone at Movistar: P280

MEXICO CITY
Nov 30 - Get Out of Here You Disgusting Wuuuuuurm!

Just to show that taking a year off to travel is not always as glamorous as it sounds....today I think I found something crawling in my poop. I freaked out a bit after reading about all the parasites that you can get from drinking bad water or eating contaminated food. It's actually possible I picked this up in India since the life cycle of some of these buggers is up to 2 months!

I was considering keeping them for a bit longer to help me lose the extra lbs from all those tacos I've been eating, but decided to evict my little guests instead. I sprinted over to the local pharmacy and picked up a dose of Vermox Plus--a couple of pills that will kill the worms and amoebas in your body. Apparently everyone in Mexico takes does an anti-parasite regime every 6 months. Wow, I'm glad I live in Canada!

I did find an interesting website with natural remedies for parasites like papaya seeds and probiotic yogurt.

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NUMBERS 10.12.01 MEXICO CITY
1 dose Vermox Plus: 60P

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