Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mexico City - Breakfast...Then My First Ride on the Metro

My first morning I go upstairs to the beautiful period dining room for breakfast. There I meet some of the other guests. There are a quartet of men from Ft. Lauderdale. Two are flight attendants who, along with their respective partners, are celebrating the birthday of one of their group with a long weekend in the city. There are two extremely nationalistic, somewhat hostile, Germans, taking a tour of several different cities in Mexico. Also a couple from The Netherlands, a Dutch man of about my age and his younger Mexican partner. The Dutch gentleman and I got along famously. Perhaps due to the similarity in our ages. At one point during my time there he and I sat in the jacuzzi for over two hours discussing a range of topics from politics to travel to our world view and philosophies.

After breakfast I walked to the Metro station, just a short distance away, paid my fare, equaling approximately 20 cents, went through the turnstile and took the escalator down to the platform. The system is remarkably easy to navigate and can transport you to virtually any portion of the city. It is color coded and each station has it's own unique icon. Thus there are no language barriers involved. During the excavations while building the subway an Aztec shrine was unearthed. It has been preserved, standing between two walkways connecting different Metro lines. Though the walkways are covered, the shrine is open to the air and during one transfer I watched as a small lizard climbed to the top of it. The icon for this station is a stylized silhouette of the shrine.

The ride is like nothing I have ever experienced. The trains run just minutes apart and all are packed so tight there is literally  no need to hang onto a pole, if standing, because the people pressed on each side of you will keep you upright should the train make a sudden stop. The crowds in the transfer stations resemble schools of fish as the move in swarms from one Metro line to another. It is an efficient way to get the millions of people inhabiting this city where they need to be. You get to your destination fairly quickly and, as long as you stay aware, and keep your hand or arm over the opening of your purse or bag, the system is safe. Assault is impossible as noone can move their arms.

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