Tag Archives: Plaza de la Republica

Mexico City, 2011

I had heard Mexico City was dangerous, so was a little apprehensive about visiting. When I found out my husband had booked for us to stay in a rough neighborhood, this did nothing to allay my fears. When we got to the hotel, we were informed that the following day was a public holiday and there would be political protesters everywhere. Despite all this, I have never felt safer in any large city than I did on that Labour Day Monday in Mexico City.

Our hotel had a lovely roof top pool, which we never managed to utilise due to killer jet lag. In an effort to get back in the right time zone we walked to the Torre Latino Americano for a great view of Mexico City- it is huge. I had no idea how big until I got the birds eye view of the endless sprawl. My favorite building I could spot was the close by Palacio de Belles Artes with its beautiful multi-coloured roof.

We continued down Calle 5 de Mayo, which had many old mosaiced buildings, to the Zocalo main square, flanked by the Palacio National and the Catedral Metropolitana. The square had a political protest group in the middle and Aztec Indian dancers on a side street. Behind the Palacio National we found a skeleton statue as a shrine for Santa Maria outside the Templo de la Santisima Trinidad.

The next day was Labour Day and as soon as we stepped outside, we found that there were protestors everywhere and 4 different types of police. Despite the sheer numbers of people, it all seemed relatively peaceful.

One of the main streets- Paseo de la Reforma- was closed for the public holiday and there were families with kids walking, biking and roller blading along the wide road. I saw the biggest stone seat I have ever seen, along with many monuments and statues, including the Budapest-like Monumento a la Independencia with a gold angel at the top.

The Monumento a la Revolucion- a Paris-like arch- was a hub of riot police and protestors who had marched there along the flag lined Plaza de la Republica. Alameda Central park also seemed to be a hive of activity for the locals.

We decided to seek out the Mercado de la Merced, which we later found out is located in an actual dangerous part of the city. I did wonder why the streets were lined with prostitutes. The market itself was an explosion of colour in flowers, piñata’s and chillies.

Our next stop was the Arena Coliseo to see a genuine Luche Lubre wrestling show. It was very entertaining, and I am sure the extra spicy Doritos and cheap beer helped. After the show, my husband bought a blue wrestling mask and posed for a photo with a policeman. I suppose after the long day of protesters, a couple of tourists were no hassle.

The main thing I wanted to see in Mexico City was the Teotihuacan ruins. However, we discovered that it was the one day of the week that the ruins were closed, A lesson in always read the guide book carefully was well learnt, thankfully at the start of our trip.

That night, we were cheered up by dinner with Eugenio, who my husband had met through his rotary exchange program, and his wife Cynthia. They were lovely warm people, even though I had never met them before. We went to a fancy restaurant and they introduced us to fine sipping tequila and cactus salad- which was actually very yummy.

If this was only the beginning, we were in for a hell of an awesome trip in Mexico!

Related posts: France, 1997, Part 1: Paris, Hungary, 1997 

Buenos Aires, 2005

South America was high on my list of places I wanted to go, so when my friend Phil said he was headed on an extended journey in that area, I leapt at the chance to meet him in Buenos Aires.

By the time I arrived, Phil had already spent some time in Central America where he had met a local Buenos Aires girl who he had fallen for. This meant that I had a somewhat distracted travel partner, but also one with some insider knowledge.

My bags had been lost in Los Angeles airport somewhere on the way, so I was given $50 to buy essentials and we spent most of my first day searching for an underwear shop that sold something other than g-strings.

The trusty Lonely Planet stated that if you are vegetarian to not come to Buenos Aires and it was right. All you can get to eat in most restaurants was steak and potatoes. I was also introduced to the city’s very strong drinks on my first night- after only two drinks, Phil and his lady had to send me back to the hostel in a cab where I was told off for having the TV on too loud in the common room after hours.

The Obelisk on Avenida 9 Julio at Plaza de la Republica remains one of the most enduring images from my stay in Buenos Aires. We were staying a couple of blocks away from this- the widest street I had ever seen- and I passed it most days on my sight-seeing adventures.

As a dog lover, I also loved all the paseaperros or dog walkers that were everywhere in the city. I was constantly snapping pictures of them on street corners and in parks- some of them with more than 10 dogs at a time on the leash.

Buenos Aires is a city of plaza’s and fascinating buildings. In our local area were Plaza Lavelle, the Templo de la Congregacion Israelita, the Asociacion Cristiana Feminina de Buenos Aires and the huge orange Palacio de Aguas Corrientes. Nearby, the richer area could be found along Avenida Alvear to the Plaza Intendente.

Other notable squares were the huge Plaza de Mayo with the red Casa Rosada, the Palacio del Congreso where the Monumento a Los dos Congresos looked like a wedding cake with a green roof and the nearby Confiteria del Molino was easy to spot; and the Plaza Libertador General San Martin with the cute Petit Paris café and Huge Faculty of Law Building nearby.

We visted the Museo Nacional de Belles Artes to see my favorite Degas paintings and saw the bizarre Biblioteca Nacional on the way back. We went inside Museo Mitre- the house of past president Bartolomé Mitre- that had a pretty courtyard with his statue in it. I liked the lovely Palermo Park with its large lake, Rosedal and Planetario Galileo Galilei.

Related posts: New Zealand, 2004, Europe, 2003, Vietnam, 2003