I had one last day to try to see the stuff that I haven’t yet had chance to go to. This meant spending a fair amount of time on the Metro, the underground and sometimes overground subway. The Metro costs 20p a ride and is supposedly the cheapest rail system in the world. This means that it’s obviously usually rammed. All sorts of stuff is for sale on the Metro; CDs, food, tools, as well as a vast range of accessories. In fact if you live here you don’t need really need to go to the shops. Sitting on the Metro for an hour should get anything needed. I felt reasonably safe despite often being the only pasty person in the carriage. People were generally polite and make room for you to go past them in the carriage. The main worry was pickpockets due to the usual close proximity to fellow passengers. This was not helped by the lights going out for three stops. The whole train was in darkness aside from the odd lamp in the tunnels and arriving in stations.
One of my first memories as a youngster was the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, leading to a bit of a fascination with the legendary Azteca Stadium. Today I went for a look but couldn’t get any closer than taking a picture outside of the main gates. There’s a game there tonight and I would have loved to have gone but we’re meeting up for the tour. Despite it being midday, nine hours before kickoff, stalls are in the process of setting up and touts had clocked me and were attempting to sell tickets.
Back in city I had a walk around the huge park, Chapultepec, which seems a very popular leisure pursuit. The park contains some fine museums including the Museum of Anthropology, one of the world’s greatest by all accounts. I’d have loved to have had a look inside but there wasn’t really time to. It seems like I’ve underestimated how much good stuff there is to see in Mexico City. The walk to the hotel was down a grand boulevard aligned with national embassies, monuments and posh hotels. Our hotel wasn’t one of these but it was perfectly pleasant. When I arrived my roommate, Mike from Amsterdam, was already in the room. I discovered that Mike was staying in the next room to me at the Hostel Catedral and we shared the adjoining bathroom. I’d spoken to all the other people in his room and he was familiar with everyone in my room except for me. Small world, as they say! Slightly disappointingly Mike is the first Dutch person I’ve met who doesn’t like darts. I was looking forward to discussing the merits of Michael Van Gerwin in the upcoming World Matchplay.
At the tour welcome meeting I managed to put my foot in it with the tour guide, Mark, within about two minutes of meeting him. We all introduced ourselves and gave a bit of small talk. I mentioned something about Tijuana not really being part of Mexico. Mark told me that he lives in Tijuana and due its proximity to the United States it was staunchly proudly Mexican. I then dug the hole a bit deeper. “I’ve heard that some people consider Tijuana to be an extension of San Diego,” I said. “No it isn’t,” replied Mark. I left it at that but spent most of the rest of the night trying to get into his good books by raving about how impressed I’ve been with Mexico City!
We all then went out for some food. The group was quite big with eighteen people. As usual there were people from the UK, Australia and Germany. There was also a group of four from Belgium as well as my Dutch mate. Half the group had gone to bed by 10pm and everyone else only had one more drink. This wasn’t a good sign on the party front, and was in complete contrast to the only other such tour I’ve been on where a fair few members of that group can frankly be described as animals.