First full day in Mexico. We woke up to amazing weather – cool in the morning but perfect t-shirt whether by the afternoon. First stop, breakfast at Los Bisquets Obregón. It felt a little bit like a Denny’s, but it was full of locals. We each ordered breakfast, water, and coffee. The service was bad, but the food was alright.
Mexican style eggs with beans. I guess I missed the picture, but we all agreed the best dish here was beans with chorizo.
This was similar to eggs benedict, but it was sweet. The biscuits were good though, and the spinach was a decent side.
First real tourist stop on the trip: The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco
Just a cool church in the neighborhood.
As we approached Xochimilco in our Uber, guys on bicycles, on foot, and on scooters started harassing the Uber driver trying to get him to drop us off at their boat. When we saw that he had agreed to deal with one of the guys, we asked that the driver take us to the Metro Terminal instead of the boats. I’m not sure if this was the best decision because we then had to walk through a pretty poor, and at one point seemingly sketchy, neighborhood to get to the floating gardens and its boats. On our walk, this fellow on the bicycle you see above started following us. He didn’t say anything until we got closer, but we could tell he was following us.
At one point he gave us direction towards the Embarcadero where you catch the boats. We knew that we would have to negotiate a price, but we did not realize the negotiations would be so intense. We eventually had to yell at this guy to leave us alone because he wouldn’t help us get the price we knew was fair, one man felt so insulted at the price we asked he yelled at us and told us to go away, and after speaking to 8 or so different people we got a price we could all agree on. We paid $600 pesos for 3 of us to go for a 2 hour ride. While at the dock we also ordered micheladas, and I think we were all a little surprised at the size when they arrived.
Here’s one of those buckets of michelada I was talking about!
The neighborhood surrounding the canals is very poor. Some of the houses are nice, but some are not. The canals are very beautiful all the same.
On the canal you might find Isla de las Munecas; The Island of the Dolls. It is said that a girl was found drowned in mysterious circumstances many years ago on this island and that the dolls are possessed by her spirit.
Now you can start to see the liveliness of the Xochimilco canals. There are boats everywhere with people drinking, eating, dancing, and blasting music. There are boats with vendors selling food and drinks including beers and micheladas. Boats with full mariachi bands decked out in suits ready to play for you. These vendor boats attach to the boat you are riding to hand over their wares. The mariachi bands will climb onto your boat and play for you. Each song has a price, but we decided we could hear everything well enough that we didn’t need them to be right on the boat with us.
There are a surprising amount of nurseries on the canals too.
They even have herons!
The canals are very shallow. The men driving the boats use these long sticks to push and steer. On our boat it was a father and son team. Once we got away from the pack the driver let his son drive the boat for practice.
The driver’s son was also nice enough to take a photo for us.
We tipped the driver $100 pesos and his son another $25 pesos. We gave the boy candy and snacks, and we shared our flask with his dad. We were all really glad we did this even though it started out a little rocky.
Next stop; the originators of Al Pastor.
While El Tizoncito is the creator of al pastor, the meat and method of cooking are actually based on shawarma and began with the influx of Lebanese immigrants in Mexico City.
In one swipe this guy chopped a piece of the pineapple at the top of the spit and caught it in the air with the taco in his left hand. It was pretty impressive.
Why stop there? Since we’re here to eat, we have a lot to get through and a short amount of time. Above is the fried cheese at El Califa. This was another restaurant on multiple lists, but we were underwhelmed to put it politely. The tacos were bad. B A D. The tortillas tasted store bought and the tacos were literally meat and tortilla. No onions, cilantro, salsa, cheese…nothing. Just meat and tortilla.
Don’t forget it’s New Years Eve! We found out there is a big party at El Angel de Independencia. We read a lot of warnings about pick pockets and thieves, but we honestly felt VERY safe. There were families and couples, people dressed up and dressed down. It was a mixed crowd with everyone out to have a good time. There was a band playing on a stage, and of course the big countdown at midnight.
There were people selling sparklers for $10 pesos so we bought one and let Cat play. If you notice those pencils in the background, they are thrown at the ground on the flat side and let fly into the air. More than one inflatable pencil was seen in a tree by the night’s end.
It was a big crowd!
Anyone who has followed this blog knows that I like hot dogs. I’ve had hot dogs in nearly every place we’ve been. While lamb dogs in Iceland are still the best, and Chicago dogs still second, I was pretty surprised at how delicious this street dog (danger dog as they’re known in LA) was on the way back to our apartment after the countdown.
We tried to find something else to do after leaving El Angel, but everything was closed! We were told that Mexico City is a late city, but New Years Eve seems to be the time that everything shuts down. We knew it was more of a family holiday, but we expected something to be open to properly bring in the new year. After walking several blocks we gave up and went home.