Adventure Logs // Adventures in Peru - Part 1: Mexico City
A few weeks ago I (somewhat spontaneously) jetted off to Peru by myself to explore on my own for two weeks. It was my first time experiencing solo travel and it was such an invigorating adventure. I'll be sharing my experiences and photos over the next few weeks here on the blog and on my instagram.
Welcome to Part 1 - Mexico City!
I began my trip with an overnight flight to Mexico City. Sitting in the airplane I had one of those "oh my GOSH I'm actually doing this" moments. Having just finished my university exams the evening prior, packed that day, and really without a ton of thought given to this trip, I was excited but there was no denying the bit of nervousness that was lingering. Mexico City was a layover destination not on my original itinerary, but not wanting to waste even a little bit of time (okay, a lot - my layover was nearly 10 hours!!) I decided to venture out of the airport. Landing in Mexico City I wasn't sure what to expect. I had a certain impression of it beforehand, I knew it was a huge city, and I'd never thought of it as somewhere that I would visit. This trip (the tickets only being purchased a month earlier) I had purposefully left wholly unplanned. That is, I booked no tours, had only my first two nights in a hostel booked, and I really had no idea what was going to happen or where or what I was going to do once I got to Peru. In the airport in Mexico City I almost chickened out of leaving. With the weight of my huge pink backpack safely checked into my next flight, I sat in the airport, bought a Starbucks iced tea, and lingered around the exit not really sure what to do. There was no wifi in the airport and I was scared I wouldn't be able to get back in time for my flight.
Writing this all out, it seems like there was a lot of fear involved in this first day! What I'm pleased to say is that as soon as I figured out a bus to get onto into the city, all my fear absolved. Sitting on that bus, scenes rushing around me, new smells and sounds all around - I felt so happy and peaceful. I might have even been smiling to myself on the bus but I can't guarantee it. My plan for Mexico City was meant to be a no-fail option: taking one of those red tourist buses all around the city for the day so that I wouldn't get lost, I would be safe, and could see a lot in the short time that I had. Usually seeing a city this way would be the last thing I'd want to do, but in some cases they come in handy and this was exactly one of them.
I got off the transit bus that I was on around 8:30am at a square that I knew the red buses passed by. They started at 9am, but I couldn't figure out where they would pick up passengers from. I had also read that they started from a stop called "Auditorio" which was accessible by metro... and what do you know, there was a metro in this square I was wandering around in! I thought "I know how to use a metro" (last summer I travelled for a few months around Europe and got quite used to the system), so I bought a ticket from a person (using awful Spanish - it was embarassing), looked at a map, and hopped on the train. Metro's can be cool because they're full of local people and you get to see what average daily life is like for a ton of citizens. Since it was so early there wasn't any tourists on it, only people headed to work with briefcases or backpacks. I got off the metro, switched trains (where I was going needed a transfer) and ended up right where I needed to be.
I'll admit, I wandered around some more before I found where the buses picked up passengers, but soon I was sitting on the top of this red bus, successfully having made my way across Mexico City by metro, and feeling pretty darn proud of myself. I was going to rock this solo travelling thing. For the next 3 hours (yes, 3 hours... I've never been on a bus tour this long) I was taken all around Mexico City, and for the sake of time I didn't get off to check anything out.
Mexico City is absolutely stunning. It has a ton of different neighbourhoods, lots of them totally covered by a canopy of leafy trees. The amount of parks and greenery in this city is incredible. Vancouver holds no candle to Mexico City in this regard - there's vines and trees and flowering plants - just so green it was unbelievable. There was public sitting areas and plazas and statues everywhere. It was also extremely modern, with beautiful architecture coupled with almost every other era of beautiful buildings. I truly mean it when I say that I want to go back, Mexico City was such a pleasant surprise that I would love to dig into.
I loved the bright pink taxi's so much! The traffic in Mexico City, and the style of driving in general is pretty intense. I would learn more about this further along in my journeys in Peru, but this definitely was my first segway into the use of horns instead of blinker signals, and excessive speed with no real regard for road rules or lines (at all). My kind taxi driver who was taking me back to the airport tried to have conversation with me as we drove - the language barrier was pretty intense, however not surprisingly I think we understood each other more that we thought. I had looked up the sentence for "may I take your photograph" in Spanish before I left, and was able to grab a portrait of him. He was driving full speed down the road, about to round a corner on the way to the airport.... I said "No! Don't look yet! Just wait!!" but I'm not sure he understood all of that ;). Flying out of Mexico City there was this amazing volcano/mountain that I just managed to grab a glimpse of. Plane windowscapes are among my favourite things! I landed in Lima, Peru pretty late and snapped a few photos from the inside of my cab while on the way to the hostel I was staying at that night.
I had arrived safe and sound, my first day complete! I went to bed exhausted and excited for the next day... Next stop - Huarcacina, the sand dune oasis!