February has been an odd month, with 3 weeks spent in the UK, which felt pretty much like what they were: Waiting for our flight to Latin America.
We got back to London from Hamburg on 1 February, and spent 10 days in London between Celine’s parents and a housesit in Hammersmith (which was smooth and uneventful). We then went to Bradford on Avon, a movie-set perfect, yet dull small town for another house sit, which did not go all that well. Communication with the owners had been difficult and we never got to meet them – instead we found a senile and mostly incontinent dog. Lesson learned: If home and pet owners do not communicate well from the beginning, stay clear!
On the 19th, it was off to Mexico, via Madrid and Bogota. Years ago, I swore myself not to ever fly Iberia again (inedible food, broken seats and no entertainment plus a massive delay on my Madrid-Lima flight), but it turned out that yet again, they were about $600 cheaper than any other airline per person for the return flight. The flight, apart from some glitches with seat assignment, turned out decent and much better than our recent experience with the much-lauded Emirates, which always seems to put me on their oldest plane.
After a 24-hour layover in a lovely airport hotel in Bogota and Mexican low cost carrier Interjet delaying our flight 4 hrs, we finally made it to Mexico City.
Mexico City - Setting a new bar for travel in the Americas
|Not sure how anything can beat Diego Rivera's murals!|
It’s no secret that I am neither a fan of the Americas altogether nor of Latin and Spanish speaking cultures. I imagine this little German engineer-accountant hybrid at the very core of me screaming and winding itself in pain whenever I spend time in any kind of “slow down, relax” and “it can’t be hurried” kind of culture. I feel the same now. I felt the same throughout my entire trip in Latin America a few years ago, as well as whenever I visit Spain or Italy. Something about these cultures is simply at odds with my personality, which ENJOYS a fast-paced lifestyle and considers London and New York chilled out, relaxed cities at 100 % my speed.
Yet, Mexico City, has managed to win me over. It’s thousands of years of history, culture, art, it’s sheer vastness, and yes, even the differences between the fancy hipster bit, the upscale banking district, working class neighbourhoods and rough and tumble “no go” zones, and even its traffic (a lot more relaxed than I would have thought). Like London and like Osaka (and probably like NY for a lot of people, and cities like Bangkok and Hanoi), it’s not an easy place and not one that welcomes you with open arms, but one that pulls you in and doesn’t quite let you go…
|We did some more low brow entertainment, too - Lucha Libre!|
I fell for this big bad city head over heels, like I haven’t for any city since London or Osaka… and I am trying my very best to not be mopey now that I have another 3 weeks left in Mexico and Colombia OUTSIDE Mexico City. I already wish I could have just spent the entire 5-week trip in Mexico City.
Now with this unfair disadvantage for every other place we are going to visit, March will see us explore more of Mexico and down into Colombia…
|But really, how can you NOT love street art like this?|