Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mexico City and Beyond

Just so you know, there are no pictures of our trip across Mexico City. Why?? Because it took all of LW's driving skills and my very limited navigational skills to get us to the other side. I felt like we were in one of the kids video games but I never found the magic compass !!
The plan was to drive to the outskirts of MC find a hotel and stay the night getting up early Sunday morning and getting across before the streets got to bad. Mexico City is considered one of the most air polluted cities in the world. The government started a program of limiting driving in the city.The last 2 digits on your licence plate designates what days you may drive. This includes all foreign plates. Sunday is a free day. This is good cuz it seems to be a disagreement between police on which day which numbers drive.

We made it to the outskirts started looking for the big yellow building of the City Express Hotel. Block after block no luck, until suddenly we realized we were now in the city :c{ and it's 5:30 on Saturday evening. In Mexico the government employees work 5 days a week but almost everyone else works 6. So rush hour is upon us. I was armed with the atlas, the city map in the atlas, and map quest maps LW had down loaded. Piece of cake.... sorry. There are a couple of universal understandings here. Most street sign are none existent or they are posted on the side of a building written on small faded signs. When there is road construction you see the detour sign but never another directional sign after that. Lane designations are only a suggestion, the rule of thumb is, there are as many lanes as you can squeeze in. Drive defensively, and communicate with your horn. :c}street names can change each time they pass through another colonia (neighborhood).

Shortly after we were so proud of ourselves for navigating through 2 route changes we realized we were now some place in the city but we didn't know where. Okay new plan forget the map quest instructions find a way to the airport (as it's in the east part of town) then we can find our way to route 150 out of town. Piece of cake... no again. We passed the airport continued east until the street we were on came to a dead end. LW pulls the yellow Submarine over to the curb gets out walks across the street to read the street sign as it was twisted into the shape of a pretzel. By now we are frazzled, it's nearly dark, we are in a NOT SO NICE part of town and need to get off the road, find a room and start over in the morning. I looked up through the windshield and right in front of us was a really nice modern building with no windows that said it was a "Auto Hotel" I was thinking to myself boy is that what they call parking garages in this part of the country? Cue music, as the light bulb goes off above my head. What a dummy that's a "No Tell Hotel" A "Love Shack" !!!! WE ARE SAVED :c}

In Mexico there are hotels usually on the edges of town that are set up for very discrete shall we say "conversations" It has only been the most recent generations that it has been unacceptable for a man to have a mistress. Since discretion is necessary out of respect for his wife and family, he usually takes his lady friend to a Love Shack. There is another reason for the abundance of these hotels. Many generations of a Mexican family live in one house. Privacy does not exist. So for special occasions or just some plain ol quiet time people will check in. They are enclosed and have garages almost always very clean well kept and inexpensive. Often people traveling through the country will use them because they can pull into a garage and not have to unload their cars for the night. Couple of interesting features. 1) there are no room keys. Once they show you your room, close the garage door there is no way to get back in if you leave. 2) They have really great room service, pick up the phone place your order, in a little while there is a knock at the door. No not the room door, the little butler door off to the side. Open the door take your order, pay the bill and enjoy. 3) There usually is a nice TV with a great selection of "adult entertainment. 4) There are never any reading lamps on the bedside tables!!

Our room cost us $340 pesos ($34ish bucks). Brand new, big screen TV, marble floors huge shower, king size bed. Sorry no pictures, lighting was a bit wanting!! At 6 am Sunday morning LW ask me if I'm ready to get going, I begged for a 1/2 hour more. At 6:10 the phone rings it's the office, we need to be out of the room in 20 minutes:c{ They forgot to tell us one important house rule the rooms can only be rented in 2 hour increments up to 12 hours!! We managed to convince them in our limited Spanish to give us another 2 hours more (for $60 pesos)!! ;c}

Back in the Yellow Sub and on the road. Debbie's is only 5 hours away!!! Just as we pull into Coatepec it starts to RAIN Well it is the rainy season, there is a tropical storm off the coast (45 miles away), and we are in the cloud forests :c}. Coatepec is a small 47,000 old colonial town, which grew up because of the huge Coffee Haciendas. The streets are very narrow and a bit on the hilly side. It's not uncommon to see a burro, horse cow or huge tour bus trying to negotiate the streets

That's Debbie in the maroon car ahead of us. She led us up to her little neighborhood where her house over looks an old coffee plantation. Talk about a plant lover dying and going to heaven. I could here my friend Pat. W. http://gatherings100.blogspot.com/ ooohing and ahhhing all the way from NOB!! :c}

Every morning the Shepard leads the sheep and one goat out to graze and every evening he rounds them up for the night.

The last three pictures are looking out her back porches that over hang the valley below. They show the mist of the cloud forest. Now the mist is only seen during& after rains, early mornings and cool evenings. It was less then 50-75 years ago that the mist was always visible. But with the cutting of the trees to grow sun crops like sugar cane and bananas the cloud forests are disappearing and the temperature is raising. There is a movement to replant the coffee plants but finding the old, big trees to provide the shade is very difficult.

To me this is one of the most beautiful places in my world :c} Some day I would love to call it HOME.

Big News here: P # 2 child called to say that L will go in tomorrow morning for a C section. So I should be a Grandma (for the first time) before breakfast!!! :c} I can't wait ;c}

Have a good evening or day Bloglandians depending in what part of the world you're in! :c}


L said...

GRACIAS.... excellent description! Before we knew what a 'no tell' was, we tried to rent a room in three different 'motels' on hwy 15 so we could be closer to our new casa as it was being completed to our specifications. No way... no deal... could NOT talk any of the VERY YOUNG people working the desks into renting to us!

Young? Yah, probably teenagers, of all things!

Viva Mexico! Lee

Sandy said...

What a hoot! At least you reached your destination safely. Travel always makes for some interesting tales.

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