Look, I haven't mentioned Zeus, Buddah, or some religion.

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Ecurb's travels

Started by Ecurb Noselrub, November 27, 2019, 01:08:20 PM

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Very nice, Ecurb Noselrub:)

"I've had several "spiritual" or numinous experiences over the years, but never felt that they were the product of anything but the workings of my own mind in reaction to the universe." ~Recusant

Ecurb Noselrub

Here is my guac, goat cheese and grasshopper dish. I didn't notice the grasshoppers (crickets???) until I looked closely. I thought it was some chilies or something similar. The first reaction after seeing insects in your food is "yuck". But then you start to consider if you are up for the challenge. At least they didn't hop.

Dark Lightning

^ They were pranking the gringo!  :P

Ecurb Noselrub

Today I walked to Chapultepec Castle, then back through the Roma Norte district. About an 8 mile walk. I'm beat. The altitude really takes its toll. 

Chapultepec Castle. Its name means "hill of the grasshopper". It is built on a hill that was considered sacred to the Aztecs. It was built by the Spanish and the Mexican leaders. Today it is a museum. Very pretty grounds and a great view of Mexico City, which seems to go on in every direction forever.

A view from the castle up Paseo de la Reforma and the Angel of Independence. The American Embassy is on that street.

A view in back of the castle of the city. There is a bit of a permanent haze on the horizon. The city is in a valley between large mountain ranges, so it is easy for fog/smog to get trapped there.

Inside the castle. It is quite opulent on the inside, although not nearly on the order of the Russian Czarist palaces.

The Angel of Independence, celebrating Mexico's independence from Spain.

This monument inscription says "To the Defenders of the Homeland; 1846-1847."  Against whom were the Mexican defenders fighting?  Against the United States. What we call the Mexican-American War, they call the War of United States Intervention. As a result of that war, the border with Texas was set at the middle of the Rio Grande (Mexico had claimed up to the Nueces River), and Mexico ceded to the US New Mexico, Arizona and California. It halved their territory and spread ours from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Mexico has quite a different view of that war than we do.

Bad Penny II

Oh this is great, I don't have to go to places with water my innards wouldn't cope with yet I can still experience the places.

Looks like Deep Thought to me, did you have a question for it?
Take my advice, don't listen to me.

Ecurb Noselrub

Quote from: Bad Penny II on December 29, 2021, 10:34:08 AM
Looks like Deep Thought to me, did you have a question for it?

1. Why would people spend so much time, effort and money to build such structures, when they could have been been building things that actually did something?

2. Why didn't they reserve the rights to the future income stream that this generates?

3. Why didn't the lower classes who did the work rebel sooner?

4. Why didn't the Egyptians sue them for patent infringement?

5. Why am I interested in seeing these things? Why has it become such an all-consuming drive and goal in my life?

Those are my questions. If you don't like them, I have others. 

Ecurb Noselrub

Ecurb reporting for his daily travelogue. Today my driver, Christian, took me to Xochimilco (so-chee-milk-oh), and to the lovely neighborhood of Coyoacan, where Friday Khalo, Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky lived.

The boats of Xochimilco. This area is all that is left of Lake Texcoco, which covered the entire valley. It is a system of canals, and the boats take tourists around to see what it looks like. I did not want to wait to get on a boat with 20 other people, so I took some photos and left.

Casa Azul, the Blue House, where Frida Kahlo grew up, lived as an adult, and died. When she and Diego Rivera were married, they also lived here for a time. I could not get tickets to go in (so many people are here for the holidays), but I got to see it from the outside. Frida was world famous in the 1940s and 1950s. She died at age 47, after suffering her entire adult life from injuries received in a bus accident.

The main plaza of Coyoacan (place of the coyotes), the neighborhood where Casa Azul is located. It is a wonderful place, with markets, shops, restaurants, parks, etc. Nice people. I bought a bunch of Frida souvenirs for the folks back home.

Not very picture-worthy, but this is the Leon Trotsky house and museum. He lived in exile here from the Soviet Union. He had an affair with Frida (she and Diego had many affairs), and was ultimately assassinated in Mexico City under the orders of Stalin.  Mexico City was quite the center of attraction in those days.

Back at the Zocalo, here is a plat of the religious section of Tenochtitlan, which was at the center of the city when Cortes arrived. 200,000 people lived on this island in Lake Texcoco. I am standing in the sacred center taking this photo. The large building is Templo Mayor - I showed you the ruins. Look closely and you will see what looks like a wire rectangular structure in front of the Templo Mayor. The Aztecs strung the skulls of sacrificial victims there so their gods would be reminded what they had done for them.

Bad Penny wants Deep Thoughts, so my Deep Thought on this one is "Damn, I'm glad I did not live in that culture."

My whole red snapper for lunch. The sauce was delish.  Deep Thought - "Man, that was good. MUCH better than grasshoppers."

billy rubin



have i missed a critical reference?

more people have been to berlin than i have

Ecurb Noselrub

I learned that the Aztec language, Nauhuatl, has given a number of words to us that we know in English. Some of them are intuitive, others are surprising. Here is a list of what I found:

1. Tequila
2. Mezcal
3. Avocado
4. Mole (sauce)
5. Guacamole (avocado sauce)
6. Cocoa
7. Chili
8. Peyote

1. Coyote
2. Chia (super food)
3. Tomato!!!! (never would have guessed - "tomatl")
4. Shack!!!! (xahcalli - "schacalli" - a grass hut)

Of course, these words went through Mexican Spanish before being Anglicized, but still, it's interesting to know that we all speak a bit of Nauhuatl.

Deep Thought for Bad Penny - "I wonder if I speak any Australian without knowing it? Crikey, what a thought! I had better drink a Fosters).

Ecurb Noselrub

Quote from: billy rubin on December 29, 2021, 10:16:55 PM


have i missed a referenve?

Yes, go back up a day or so.

billy rubin

more people have been to berlin than i have

Ecurb Noselrub

I tested negative on my Covid test, so I am headed back to the USA today. For my last post I will give my overall impressions of Mexico City - the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and to finish on a positive note, the Very Good. I will treat each category in a separate post so it doesn't get too long.

First, a general comment on international travel: while I love going new places and experiencing other cultures, international travel is a giant pain in the ass. Yes, I understand the need for Covid measures, but since Covid (especially Omicron) is already everywhere, the restrictions on flying should be minimized. After requiring vaccination and the wearing of masks, all the testing should be done away with. We don't do it for travel within our country and shouldn't do it internationally. Mexico did not require a test for me to get here, but I have to test to get back into my own country, even though I am triple vaccinated. I think it is unnecessary.  They have taken all the fun out of flying, loaded you down with onerous testing and documentation requirements, and added to the stress of life. All the travel apps and testing apps that you get don't always work right (like everything else), so you are left to scramble to try to comply. It sucks. Just require vaccinations and masks, and let people move in freedom. My opinion.

Ecurb Noselrub

The Good: Generally, Mexico City is a great place to visit. As the fourth largest metropolis in the world and the capital of a major nation, it offers everything you would expect in a giant city. Like any other place, stay in the right location and you will be safe and enjoy yourself. I highly recommend it. The best points -

History - I think I have given you a sense of the depth of history here: pyramids that date back over 1500 years, the Aztec civilization, the Spanish Conquest, Mexican Independence, the conflicts with my nation - the USA, the cultural developments of the last century - history is oozing from every pore here. I only scratched the surface of what the museums here have to offer - you could spend weeks browsing in them. In this respect, Mexico City is in the same class as Rome, London, Paris and the other great world cities.

Culture - All the aspects of a deep and developed culture on on display here: excellent food, joyful and passionate music, a blend of Old World and New World architecture, indigenous and European language components, the good and the bad of religious influences, and travelers from all over the world. You will not be disappointed to experience it.

The People - Mexicans are generally courteous, friendly, cooperative, fun-loving, and interesting people. For all the negative press, I did not have a single bad encounter with a native. Sure, I was careful to stay in the right places, but I would do that in New York or even Austin. I wandered the markets of Coyoacan and did not feel unsafe for one second. I stood out like a sore thumb, but no one tried to take advantage of me. I specifically want to mention Christian, my driver, who assisted me 4 out of the 5 days I was here, and the hotel staff at the Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico, who assisted me multiple times, especially yesterday when my self-administered Navica Covid Test app (curse the name) would not function properly and they raced to get me tested locally. Wonderful folks - bless them.

Ecurb Noselrub

The Bad:  Not as significant as the good, but I have to be complete and objective.

Crowding - Around my hotel, during the holidays, one step outside immediately put me in the middle of 1000 people. Every street, every plaza, people everywhere. Nothing you can do about it, but if crowds bother you, you might vacation in the desert somewhere. I will say that the crowding wasn't much worse than I experienced in Soho in London. It was just more prevalent.

Traffic - Fortunately, Christian knew all the short-cuts and diversions, so we only experienced significant stoppage a few times. But I saw some traffic jams that I would not want to have anything to do with.

Cleanliness - OK, no city is perfectly clean. I would say that Mexico City gets a 7 overall, so that's not really bad. I saw a few places where it was a 3 or 4 when we were driving outside the center, and one or two places where it reminded me just a bit of Mumbai, India (the filthiest place I have ever been).  But overall, it wasn't that bad.

Ecurb Noselrub

The Ugly:

Poverty - This is the one ugly part of this country, but that does not differ from poverty anywhere. Outside the city proper, you can see tens of thousands of cinder block houses packed tightly together covering the hills for miles. I try to imagine living in those conditions - it depresses me. It is not like what I saw in India, with the hellish slums of the large cities, but it is bad enough. Poverty is ugly everywhere, and to be born into it is a curse. Like governments everywhere, the Mexican leaders are not doing a great job in dealing with the welfare of their own people in this regard. Curbing population growth, expanding educational opportunities, government work programs, and liberalizing the economic system to allow more access to more people are all goals for which governments fall short. Those with power and money are selfish and don't want to give up what they have. So corruption and graft breed, and the innocent suffer. That is more a comment on humankind than just on Mexico, but it is right in your face at times when you come here.