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Mexico City

Another hour to kill at the airport in Mexico City

Another hour to kill at the airport in Mexico City

— After nearly four weeks in Mexico City, I checked out of my room at 3 am in anticipation of my 6 am flight. I figured I’d need about 15 minutes to wait for an Uber, a half-hour for the ride to the airport, and another half-hour for check-in and security, putting me at the gate an hour before the 5:15 am boarding time — a comfortable cushion. Instead, it took two minutes for the Uber, 20 minutes for the ride, and less than ten minutes for check-in and security, putting me at the gate about 45 minutes earlier than planned.

Embracing the suck

— For the past four weeks, every Monday at 10 am, I’ve started a new level of Spanish classes here in Mexico City. Monday has typically been, for me, the hardest lesson of the week as my brain struggles to adjust. This Monday was the first week of lessons at the intermediate level, which was an even bigger jump than previous weeks. There were eight students in my class. Instead of starting the day with a grammar lesson, we dug right into a reading comprehension and discussion exercise.
First time for lucha libre in Mexico City

First time for lucha libre in Mexico City

— Seeing a lucha libre event was high on my to-do list for this trip to Mexico City. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it was because I was fascinated by American-style professional wrestling when I was boy, leading to a desire to see how it’s done in Mexico. Maybe it was because I’d enjoyed the movie Nacho Libre more than I care to admit. Whatever the reason, by the end of my second week in Mexico City, I still hadn’t dragged myself over to the arena yet, even though the events are three times a week and less than a half-hour walk from where I’m staying.
Street food in Mexico City

Street food in Mexico City

— The first time I was in Mexico City, back in 2018, I had some pretty amazing food. However, I never got a chance to experience the street food for which Mexico City is so rightly famous. On this trip, I may have overcorrected. Lunchtime torta. I forget which meat I ordered. The chipotle Fritos were a personal touch I added when I got back to the house. Almost everywhere I’ve been in Mexico City, I’ve been intoxicated by the delightful smell of food cooking.
Two weeks of Spanish classes down, two weeks left in Mexico City

Two weeks of Spanish classes down, two weeks left in Mexico City

— I’m halfway through my four-week Spanish course in Mexico City, so I feel I’m in a position to review the first two weeks somewhat objectively. Honestly, I didn’t have a whole lot of information about the school before I signed up to come here. I’d seen the school’s website — which I wouldn’t expect to be entirely objective — and had seen a few positive reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook — neither of which I trust much.
First day of Spanish classes in Mexico City

First day of Spanish classes in Mexico City

— I’m going to skip ahead a bit and give an update on my Spanish class. It is, after all, the main reason I’m here. My commute to class was simply to walk down four flights of stairs, so I left at 8:58 am and arrived a minute early to the 9 am registration. I had deferred taking a placement exam until day of arrival, so that was my first step. I looked at the exam questions with a blank stare for several minutes before realizing I was never going to write down anything if I kept trying to think of answers in English and then write them down in Spanish.
The old and new basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City

The old and new basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City

— While looking through my photos from last year, I noticed one from our Mexico City pilgrimage that never ended up on the blog. There are two basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe shown here. The old basilica, on the left with the golden dome, while still beautiful outside and inside, has suffered such extensive damage from earthquakes and an unstable foundation that it can no longer handle the throngs of pilgrims who visit this important holy site.
Trying something new, Mexican coffee at Tres Leches Café in Phoenix

Trying something new, Mexican coffee at Tres Leches Café in Phoenix

— Every once in a while, I find myself trying something at a place that’s been right under my nose for years. Earlier this week, I had a meeting at my church to go over some volunteer paperwork. The time between leaving work and my appointment was about an hour, which is about 40 minutes longer than the drive. I got on Google Maps and searched for coffee shops near the church, and one of the most highly rated was about two blocks from the church.
It pays to have a backup plan or three when travel plans fall through

It pays to have a backup plan or three when travel plans fall through

— Kathryn and I have two weeks of vacation coming up next month. How we’re planning to spend those two weeks has changed three times in the past two months. Plan A: Learning Spanish in Mexico City Our original plan was to return to Mexico City for two weeks of Spanish classes. We had picked out a school and had reserved fifteen nights in a two-bedroom Airbnb with a rooftop patio in the hip Roma Norte neighborhood.
Teotihuacan, our day trip from Mexico City in photos

Teotihuacan, our day trip from Mexico City in photos

— Although many of our fellow Mexico City pilgrims had started trickling into town Monday afternoon, Wednesday was officially the first day of our itinerary. The first and only destination for the day was the pyramids at Teotihuacan, but this was a pilgrimage group, so of course we prayed first. And ate. Because we now had a priest with us, Wednesday started out with Holy Mass. The fraternity to which the priest belongs has a chapel in Mexico City, Inmaculada Concepción.
Statue of Abraham Lincoln in namesake park, Polanco, Mexico City

Statue of Abraham Lincoln in namesake park, Polanco, Mexico City

— I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised us to find a statue of Abraham Lincoln in a park called Parque Lincoln. Kathryn and I enjoyed a twilight stroll through this calm, tree-lined park in the upscale Mexico City neighborhood of Polanco after having a lovely dinner at a pizza restaurant nearby. After that, we took a half-hour Uber ride back to the not-so-upscale Mexico City neighborhood where our hotel was located.
More photos from another full day exploring Mexico City

More photos from another full day exploring Mexico City

— Kathryn’s proposal to create a WhatsApp pilgrimage group turned out to be a rather good thing. She had mentioned wanting to see the Frida Kahlo Museum when we first started planning this trip, so when someone else in the group suggested going Tuesday morning, it made sense to share a ride. We left the hotel around 9 am. There ended up being five of us — Kathryn and me, another couple, and their daughter — in an Uber XL from the hotel to the museum.
Hua-what? Spotting a Huawei boutique in a posh area of Mexico City

Hua-what? Spotting a Huawei boutique in a posh area of Mexico City

— About a year ago, I bought a rather low-end Huawei Honor 6X smartphone to replace my ageing and quickly dying LG Google Nexus 5. Common reactions to my purchase were “what?” or “Hua-what?” A few months later, I traveled to Latin America with my new phone and discovered Huawei is actually rather popular outside the United States. Apparently, it’s the third most common make of smartphones in the world, behind Apple and Samsung.
Some photographs from our first full day exploring Mexico City

Some photographs from our first full day exploring Mexico City

— After deftly navigating the light rail and two Metro lines through throngs of soccer fans Saturday evening, we woke up ready to tackle Mexico City by public transit Sunday morning. With it being Sunday, our first move was to find a place for Mass. Our first instinct had been to go to the church staffed by the same fraternity as the priest traveling with us, but since the itinerary has us there for Mass later in the week, we decided to go to the Metropolitan Cathedral instead.