Mexico (Mexico city, Monterrey and Tijuana)

September 3, 2008 - Monterrey, Mexico

From flying through the pacific coast on remote roads and enjoying sunny beaches we headed on a flight to Mexico city - the largest city in the world with an astonishing 20 million inhabitants. This City i have to say was vast but it has a kick-ass metro system best i've ever been on.

Mexico City lies at around 2000 metres above sea level and is located in the central southern highlands of mexico. Its fairly warm here to say the least and the city cente is quite pleasant - we stayed near the main square i the centre in a hostel called "Hostel Amigo" which prided itself on winning numerous awards for best hostel in mexico or in north america (which incidentally mexico is considered part of north america and not central america which didn't know previously) but the hostel didn't impress me that much with its extremely rude receptionist - plus the fact that some of the hostels in south america i stayed in had been way better facilities wise. We only stayed in Mexico City the one night and the next day we got up early went for a visit to the Aztec ruins of Teotihuacan outside the city which where interesting to see - few pyramids and few photo opportunities (bit of historical tourism done - tick!)

Next we headed north to the city of Monterrey (which I would guess isn't that well known by irish people) but that has a population of over 3 million people in the city and surrounding area and is a wealthy business town with reportedly some of the richest neighbourhoods in latin america. Our reason for being there was that Niall has relations living there who we where visiting - his Aunt Anne who married a mexican man (Ramon) and there family. I have to say it was fantastic the welcome and hospitality we received - it was great to get a bit of Irish/Mexican hospitality after months of travelling. Also the great cooking and cups of barrys teawent down a treat. They all went out of there way to make us feel at home including Alicia (Nialls cousin) who was our tour guide and also arranged a son of her friend called Gerrado who was our age to show us the night life of the town. Martin another of Nialls cousins took us to a mexican first division soccer match (for which the tickets are really hard to come by - which was quality standard of football and atmosphere with the home team winning 2-0 so we all went home happy) and then he cooked up a storm with a top notch mexican style bbq - it all felt like royal treatment!  That night too boot Gerrado took us out on the town - he had alot of connections with some of the wealthy kids from around Monterrey and he brought us to a big house party in what seemed to be the grounds of a mid sized mansion - where when we landed and where having a beer he came over and knocked the drinks out of two of the lads hands and said basically don't insult our hosts and pointed to the table of drinks provided for guests (which was a jaw dropping thing for us after tightened purse strings of backpacking for the last few months). Gerrado was sound out and made sure we all had good night and treated us like we where life long friends.

Whilst in Monterrey we saw the sites of the city centre and the museums etc including the Marco museum of modern art which we decided to look around for the craic to see the picaso style paintings - some impressive some just complete rubbish i have to say (at the risk of sounding uncultured). Another day we spent by visiting the caves outside the city - think Aliwee caves only more cavernous and prob more stalicmites and stalictites (bonus points for anyone telling which come from the celling and which come from the floor!!). We also visited the Chipinque national park for a little walk around the forests and to get some good views of the city.

Apart from that we just chillaxed for a few days and watched some films and sport on the huge flat screen TV in the house and enjoyed some of the top notch mexican food (and that chicken with the peanut sauce was amazing) - I'd like to say a big thank you to Anne and her family for putting up with us for a few days! (if yee read this)

Upon saying goodbyes and one more night out to a gig with Gerrado and his friends we bid farewell to Monterrey and got an internal flight to Tijuana on the american border. In Tijuana we just stayed a thursday night. Tijuana is famous for being the border town just south of San diego in southern California (the busiest border crossing in the world supposedly). I found the place a little seedy and with a few dodgey characters although I never felt it was dangerous or anything. The night we where there it was very quiet as it wasn't the weekend and it was also probably a week or two early before students from san diego might cross the border to go out - so all the pubs and restaurants where dead. On the plus side i tried one of those Orbitrons (i think its called where you spin around inside some metal rings flipping upside down and side to side etc from different angles - basically just makes you feel dizzy) but after that and a game of pool i just took an early night and watched some tv.

The next day we checked out early from the hostel and made our way to the US border literally about half a kilometre from where we stayed the night before (the lads joking I wouldn't be allowed in as from my previous visit to the states i had no exit stamp on my pasport for some reason) It was definitely the most bureaucratic border crossing we dealt with so far on our travels and we had to queue up again for an I-94 form in a different queue and then finally go through the border and put our luggage through inspection - but at last we made it into the states.


4 Comments

sean:
September 24, 2008
Sounds like you were well treated in Mexico alright!

Not sure about that Orbitron though... "you spin around inside some metal rings flipping upside down and side to side etc from different angles - basically just makes you feel dizzy" - sounds brilliant! :-p
seamus:
September 25, 2008
Aye bro, you can't beat the ol cuppa tea from the homeland, good ol read too...
Tommy:
October 4, 2008
Yeah well, I'm going to Ballyshannon tonight just a few clicks from Bundoran, one of the busiest border crossings in Donegal. Not gonna chance passing through to Leitrim though, hear theres some dodgey characters in that part of the world. Hope you're keeping well?
Brian:
October 10, 2008
Haha tommy the commedian - yeah i'm doing alright just landed in Australia there looking for a job at the moment
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