With over a week spent in this big city, I thought I’d break it down in a somewhat different manner (and not completely therefore in chronological order people).
Our arrival wasn’t anything too exciting, notable mainly for our early decision to get a taxi from the Autobus Terminal Norte rather than attempt to brave the metro system with packs laden on both our front and back.
It may have sounded a bit soft (at least to our own ears), however after our first metro experiences in the coming days, the decision was well and truly vindicated.
120 pesos was all it took to get us into the Centro Historico, and after walking a few final blocks, we were quietly checking into Hostal Amigo, our home for at least 3 nights (we’d only booked for a few as the reviews we’d read were polarising. It was either loved or loathed).
Now there to greet us upon arrival was Gerardo (although we didn’t know his name at the time), resident barman of this establishment.
This well travelled Mexican was the provider of a most friendly welcome, and was eager to get us involved in both the Hostel Amigos happenings, as well as get us settled in.
To some, he may seem over the top, but to us, he was fun, enthusiastic and friendly (and was thrilled to hear of our daily DIY adventures to some of the places tourists sometimes miss).
Many an evening was spent down in our hostel common room laughing and joking with this sociable Mexican whom we christened ‘Carnal‘ (close brother or amigo).
Thanks to the modern wonders of Facebook, we can easily keep in touch with him and share our respective future adventures (in fact, this can be said for about half a dozen people we’ve met in our first couple of months).
Back on that first Mexico City evening, we found ourselves back in the same common area enjoying a gratis Tequila (courtesy of Carnal) and and a few cervezas, when we were joined by a friendly Irishman.
In fact, rather than join us, it was more a case of he took Sarah’s bar stool (she wasn’t already on it, having just left to visit the bathroom) in a move of solid opportunism.
I got chatting with this affable Irishman (he goes by the name of Mark, but we could just settle on Keegs), Sarah eventully joined us, and before long it felt like we’d all know each other for years.
Our paths intersected on many occasions over the next six days, sometimes randomly we’d catch ourselves together in the common room for a chat or a beer, others, where Sarah and I served as able wingmen (as he hit the town with an English and Chinese girl he’d met on a day trip), were something we organised in advance.
As you travel, friends are often fleeting, but we kind of feel with this guy (the Irish and Australians always seem to get along well), it won’t be the last we see of him.
So much so, there was a hint of sadness when we parted on our last evening together (he was out of the city before the dawn on a flight to Cuba), embraces were shared, and suggestions that at some place, at some time, we would indeed catch up again.
Some new friends are fleeting, but you share good times nonetheless (in truth as travellers, these are more common than lasting friends).
Others, such as the Dutch couple we met on their last night in Mexico, we don’t even recall each others names! That didn’t stop us all heading out with Gerardo to a Mezcal bar, and bonding over a couple of shots and litre draught beers!
They were a couple of good sorts, kind enough to even pass down to us their Mexico City Metrobus passes (which saved us having to buy one) as well as a few leftover Guatemalan Quetzales.
That’s the friendly, generous spirit you tend to find on the road. A certain camaraderie that travellers, all in the same mindset, seem to foster.
Mexico City brought us man new friends, some fleeting, but a couple just my well be lasting. Now to find some people travelling in the other direction for us to re-gift those bus passes…
* The bus passes (for the larger city buses, lower classes will readily accept pesos) appear to be localised for each city only, so passes bought in Chihuahua could not be used in Guadalajara or Mexico City.
* It is a great idea to pass them down to fellow travellers and save them the $10.00-25.00 peso fee for the card (that’s a beer in most restaurants right there, possibly 2 at a mini-mart)