Turibus Sur: Coyoacán

Today was my birthday so after a phone call from Mum and Dad I headed off to Mexico’s premiere British restaurant for a nice Sunday dinner.

It was closed.

So anyway I headed off to Fuente de Cibeles and got a delicious and LARGE lunch there, sitting outside by the fountain and watching all the people go by with their adorable dogs of all sizes. I got the tour bus again today and it brought me round to Coyoacán, where I strolled through the park and wandered around the market for a good bit. I stopped at a stall in the market to do some PAINTING and left with a beautiful Mexican mask.

I saw 4 clowns today. FOUR! I understand the comedy and tricks they do can be funny, but do they have to wear the creepy costumes?

All my pictures are in this video 🙂

 

I’ve been in Mexico City for almost a month now and all this time I’ve been saying to colleagues, acquantances and customers, “me gustaría coger el turibus” and “sería bueno saber coger los buses acá” and lots of other phrases using the word coger to express that it would be nice not to catch an uber, but get a bus instead.

Using the verb coger in speech comes naturally to me. I used it frequently at school and university when learning Spanish, and when in Colombia I used it without thinking twice. I was extremely aware that in some places you should avoid saying coger, because it isn’t used to take the bus, or grab something. It’s a rude word. A rude word we might use in English that begins with F and rhymes with duck.

Anyway. After numerous conversations somebody finally told me to stop saying it AFTER THREE WEEKS IN THIS DUCKING CITY!!! 3 weeks. I’ve said it to customers. Jeez.

So yesterday I finally got the chance to go out and catch the turibus. It’s one of those tour buses with recorded audio that you can hop on and off all day. What a blast! I had a lovely stroll round a Plaza al Servicio a la Patria and got told off for wandering into a military base. Whoops. The bus had a great recorded track with information about the stops along the way. It was a bit like a theme park ride, ducking and dodging the branches from trees covering the streets.

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Palacio de Bellas Artes

I got off at the Palacio de Bellas Artes and couldn’t believe how huge and impressive the marble building was. I walked through the park and paused to watch a beat-box battle on a bandstand, watched a large group of Mexicans dancing to salsa and cumbia music, and grabbed a bite to eat. I also encountered a creepy clown who stopped his act to talk to me and welcome me to Mexico. I hate clowns. Scary bastards people.

It was a perfect day weather wise, so when I came across a fountain with kids running through it, I figured I’d join in. More fun than it should have been for someone who is now in their mid twenties. I sat down and played Pokemon (along with a few other hundred people) to dry off. My favourite person in this park was the elderly lady selling bits and pieces to the visitors. Her chant was a bit more original than the other Vendedores Ambulantes, “This is the PokéShop, here you can buy PokéSweets and PokéCigarettes. Come and get your PokéChewingGums”. Hahaha. Hilarious woman.

Back on the turibus I was brought round to Zocalo (Plaza de la Constitución). The huge square was cordoned off by huge Colonial government buildings, with the star of the show being the immense Cathedral. Outside the Cathedral there were indigenous groups performing ceremonies, singing, dancing and lighting incense. In the plaza a screen was erected and a small crowd had gathered to watch the Olympics. Inside the Cathedral there was a wedding in the main chapel, excitedly watched by lots of tourists from the edges of the church. Outside again I stopped in a bar to grab a drink, and got lucky timing to see the men’s 10,000 metre race at the Rio Olympics. Wow. What a race!!! I was excited to see Mo Farah run, cheering him on lap by lap. When he fell I was bloody gobsmacked, but felt so thrilled when he crossed that finish line to take gold! Gotta love Mo. It’s all that protein and practise, and being a nice guy.

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Monumento de la Revolución

The final stop of the turibus was at the Monumento de la Revolución. An immense sculpture highlighted from the night sky with blue and purple illuminations. Inside I took the elevator to the top and got a panoramic view of the city after dark.

All my pics and vids from the day can be seen in my Snapchat story, below 🙂

Challenges abroad: Chapter Tea

We’ve all been there. Whether it be on your summer Costa Del Sol holiday, throughout a time living abroad or even just visiting someone else’s house. We’ve all had that horrible experience of being given a cup of tea that’s just no good.

Even at home we have our own particular ways of brewing a cup. Lazy busy people will mix it all together in a mug. Sometimes we’ll make a bit of an effort and bother using a teapot. Sometimes we’ll be close to physical violence in the age old argument of whether milk or water goes first. (For the record, the correct way is to mix the teabag and hot water first, then pour this into a cup with milk).

I’ve been there. I remember a rubbish cup one year our family went to Ibiza. I have faint memories of weak and milky tea in Colombia. But this experience is one I will never forget.

Just look at it. It was so bad I’ve decided to strike out the name of the “upscale, speciality” tea stand I bought it in. Look at it. I don’t even know where to start. It’s colour should say it all; a pasty, weak, bland ucky colour. This is supposed to be “English Breakfast” tea. worst tea ever

The signs were there to retreat and grab a coffee as soon as I started to order. I should have ran for the hills when the server asked, “Do you want it hot or cold?” I should have screamed in horror at the suggestion”… would you to like to mix in another blend?” I can’t tell you how disgusted my face must have appeared on being told “we have no normal milk… only almond, soy or lactose free”. I chuckled when he asked if I wanted it with honey, something I would only do if I had a sore throat.

I knew the cuppa wouldn’t be marvelous. But screw it. Let’s go for it! What do I have to lose? It’s a Sunday and I want a nice bloody cup of tea to drink as I read. I was going to recreate my weekend mornings relaxing by the dock’s in Belfast. I was discovering a place in Mexico that could become my Sunday afternoon, people watching, tea drinking utopia. I’m not going to let a few foolish questions ruin my day.

So I sat down. I took out my book (The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino. Wonderful read). I took the plastic lid of the paper cup. Ugh. What a minging colour. Still. Let’s give it a chance.

When it entered my mouth I could tell I wouldn’t finish it. It was sweet. SWEET. There was no sugar. I hadn’t opted for sweetener, or anything else that would also it’s taste. What on earth was happening?

I tried to drink it. I took a few sips. I sent a Snapchat of it, expressing my disgust. I tried to finish it. I tried to focus on the compelling book I had in my hands. I attempted to enjoy the cup while watching the people walk by, going about their Sunday shopping. But I couldn’t. The taste was not only in my mouth and throat. It had infiltrated my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking of it. Even once that cup of tea had been discarded in a bin and was out of life, I couldn’t escape the memory of it’s horror.

Horrific, depressing and miserable moments stick in our mind. Many remember the moment they discovered Princess Diana had died. The moment news of Michael Jackson’s death hit our TVs, phones and tablets will stay etched, frozen in the memories of millions of people. People of an older generation will never forget when they heard the wireless emit reports of JFK’s assassination. But only I will be burdened for the rest of my life knowing the monstrosity of that cup of tea.