From Ruins to the Ring

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Today started with us heading downstairs to the local coffee shop next door with the simple task of getting a donut. However, with most of our coins spent on metro fares and tips, all I had was a bill for 200 pesos to pay for our 10 peso breakfast. Not the way the woman behind the counter wanted to start her day I’m sure, as she gave us our large pile of change with a pinched face. I stopped feeling guilty several blocks later, but it’s been this kind of thing that makes me feel like a tourist, and then I remember that I am. On to the metro – which is outstanding here, by the way. I guess when you are the second (or third, depending which reference you read) largest city in the world, you’d better have an efficient metro system. Trains come every minute or so and the longest wait time to date has been maybe 3 minutes. I think we’re getting spoiled.

It took several transfers and a one-hour bus ride to get to our day trip to see the ruins of Teotihuacan, the ancient Aztec city. I remembered studying the Aztecs in 5th grade, and wondered if the group of elementary students we saw in their green plaid uniforms knew just how spectacular this field trip was. Between the two mile walk into the city, the almost vertical climb to the top of the temple, and the altitude itself, I was forced to stop and gasp for air at several points on the way up. Luckily, everyone around us was, too, so maybe this was not as indicative of my being out of shape as it was the nature of the climb. And it was worth every huff and puff. It’s impossible not to appreciate the workmanship and the grandeur of the site and what was once a city, and I tried hard to imagine what it would have been like in its glory.

For lunch, we tried the local market, had enchiladas verdes and enchiladas mole mainly by default, as they were, once again, the few menu items we were able to decipher. We got a few looks of disdain mixed with humor from the couple seated across from us, but the majority of locals we’ve encountered have been patient and helpful, either through gesturing, offering a pen and paper, or simply jumping in to translate. That said, I can not wait until we start our Spanish immersion program in a couple of weeks.

This being a Friday night, Jeff took me out on a $3 date to the Coliseo Mexico for an evening of local entertainment. It was pretty much WWF Mexico style, with muscular, masked, spandex-clad athletes/actors throwing each other around the ring (and outside the ring), complete with taunting and crowd-pleasing acrobatics. I tried making the mental comparison between the Mexican wrestling heros, with names like Stuko and Mistiko, with their American counterparts (like the Undertaker and Jake the Snake Roberts…yeah, I know a little thing or two from back in the day!). The best part for me was seeing the local children walking around masked as their favorite characters. It was awesome to attend a local event and experience the culture in this way. The low point: seeing a little person in a blue, pink, and yellow monkey suit get beat up by one of the contenders and carried out of the ring. Overall, an entertaining night, but maybe not one that would warrant a second date.

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