Monday 4 September 2023

Travel Journal, 1987: Mexico City

    I began walking to Mexico City’s famous Anthropology Museum.  It didn’t take long before my eyes began burning from the smog that hung over Mexico City.  I was hungry so bought myself a “hamburguesa” from a little shop in a pedestrian underpass beneath a busy street.

After wandering through a maze of hundreds of Meso-American artifacts at the museum, nature called and luckily found the sign on a door that I translated to mean “Washroom”.  As I sat on the can, I noticed a sign on the inside of the stall door that I couldn’t understand.  I dug out the  Spanish-English dictionary from my camera bag and found that the words meant something about “tread”, “side”, and “floor,” none of which made any sense to me until I started looking around on the floor and noticed a protruding button there, that, when stepped on, flushed the toilet.  I was very proud of my translating acuity.

After the museum, I started the long trek home even though my feet were already aching.  I spotted a “Burger Boy” restaurant and bought a Coke to refresh myself before starting the hike back to my hotel room.  My sore feet protested when I began walking again and so I to gave in to them, built up my courage, and made my way to a Metro station with all of its confusion.  It was really bad timing, because 4:00 was the beginning of rush hour.

I couldn’t believe how thickly packed with people the Metro stop was.  When the train arrived, I was only standing 3 feet away from the car door when it opened, but I found myself still standing in the same place when the car door closed, because of the surprising and unexpected surge of the other passengers, all fighting their way into the train car.  It was pretty much the same situation when the next train arrived, but this time I increased my determination, added my body to the mayhem and manage to get in, only to then find myself sardined, shoulder to shoulder with the rest of humanity inside the car. 

When the train began to roll, I knew I had to get out on the fifth stop of the train in order to catch a second train that would get me close to my hotel.  Fortunately, using the same determination that I had used to get into the car, I succeeded in getting back out at my stop, but I found myself confronted with a crowd of passengers so thick, that I decided to just sacrifice my throbbing feet and walk the ten or so blocks, back to the Hotel Concordia.

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