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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mexico City and Vera Cruz, Mexico

Hi all,

So after Christmas 2014 I flew down to Mexico City to visit my best friend. This was my second time in Mexico City and it now feels like a second home to me. I stayed at my friend's house, enjoyed home cooked meals made by his wonderful mother, and hung out with his sister and friends. I also watched him play a lot of video games, haha. I rang in the new year at a friend of a friend's place in downtown. It was a really fun night that included a home cooked meal, karaoke, eating grapes and making wishes as we counted down to 2015, singing traditional Mexican folk songs, and greeting the sun on our way home.



Mexico City is definitely worth visiting. I always enjoy the great food options - various fine dining, GREAT sushi, and of course Mexican street food. There are many, many fabulous museums and the vast green spaces.

We (my friend's family and I) drove to Vera Cruz a few days after New Years to visit his cousins and their family. It was really nice being welcomed into their home and feeling like part of the family.

While we were in Vera Cruz with my best friend’s family and his extended family he decided to play a trick on me. Their family has a favorite restaurant near the beach so we went there for dinner one evening. As we were waiting for our drink order the waiter brought over a platter of salsas and baskets of chips. There was a white dip, a red salsa, and a green mixture. I say mixture because I didn’t look at it closely. I tentatively tasted the red, the white, and ignored the green. My best friend saw this and apparently decided to mess with me for his own amusement. He’d tasted it and knew that it was very spicy green salsa, and he likes to tease me that I don’t have much of a spicy heat tolerance (not like a born-Mexican). Basically he told me that the green mixture was guacamole, which is a favorite of mine so I was all “yum!”, got a big scoop on a chip, and then…spicy fire took over my mouth. He was rolling with laughter and I was just thankful that I had a water bottle in my purse. The lesson here is that while I trust him completely, I shouldn’t trust him to not take advantage of my palate. 

After that meal we went across the street to get ice cream. My Spanish is not very good, but I have learned how to order food (mostly due to my same best friend refusing to do it for me). I hadn’t used Spanish much this trip though, due to not going out to restaurants much at all. So I was really proud of myself when I went up to the counter, ordered an ice cream treat, understood enough to clarify the size I wanted, and paid without having an “uhhh…” language moment. Yay! 

We had a few days in Vera Cruz and one of those days we tried to go to the beach. However, it was crazy windy! Actually the weather the whole trip was pretty windy. So don’t pack skirts if you are going to Vera Cruz! (Or wear shorts under them like I do.) 

We went to the fort of San Juan de Ulua. This was really cool because I’d never learned this history in school. Actually, there is a lot of history you don’t learn in school (and a good portion of it is related to the US military in Mexico). The US occupied Vera Cruz and this fort first in 1848, but the significant involvement was in 1914, namely the Battle of Veracruz. I was quite surprised that this was the first time I’d heard of this extended conflict. The fort itself is now a museum and, while windy, it was nice to visit this historic site. 

The drive though central Mexico was also pretty nice.

On my last day in Mexico City we wandered around Chapultepec Park near the Anthropology Museum and happened upon the Danza de los Voladores, then we wandered the parks and main streets downtown. The weather in January is fantastic. For dinner we went to my favorite sushi place (Mexico City has GREAT sushi options). I'm sure I'll be back to Mexico City soon, considering it is my home away from home.

Thanks for reading, happy teaching and traveling!
- Christina

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