After a whirlwind week of paragliding, traveling to Sweden for work, and spending an evening with my visitors, I was packing a bag for another adventure! This time, I was headed to Mexico to lead a workshop. Prior to this trip, I had been to Cabo San Lucas, but honestly, Cabo felt more like the US than Mexico. (Aside from the guacamole present at every meal.) Needless to say, I really didn’t feel like I had experienced Mexico yet. Since the trip was so long (the flight from Amsterdam to Mexico City is nearly 11 hours), I decided to fly on Saturday, so I could spend Sunday exploring the city with my friends.
These friends may be familiar to you from previous blog posts. One of them lived here for eight months last year. We did so many fun things together, including a weekend in Amsterdam, a pre-Cinco de Mayo celebration, 4th of July, picnics, and birthday celebrations. I was really sad to see him go at the end of his assignment, but knew our paths would cross again. Little did I know that work travel would make it possible even before I move back to the US!
They were both such gracious hosts and were eager to show off the highlights of their city. My boss is from Mexico City, and I know several people who have spent time there, but I’ve always heard mixed reviews, so I honestly didn’t know what to expect. After five days, I have to say that I loved it! With approximately 23 million residents, it is one of the largest cities in the world. The car population alone is bigger than Sydney and Berlin combined. You can imagine that traffic has the potential to be a disaster! I experienced a little bit of that. Let’s just say that if I ever lived there, I would need to be walking distance to work!
My friends planned a day of fun for Sunday! Thanks to jetlag, I was up really early. I was thrilled to find American breakfast food AND guacamole served at breakfast! A cappuccino with a smile is always a nice bonus!
I didn’t see an over abundance of Mexican flags while I was in town (especially when compared to countries like the US or Turkey), but the one outside my hotel room window might be the largest flag I’ve ever seen!
In addition to the biggest flag outside, my bed had the biggest decorative pillow I’ve ever seen!
My friend came to pick me up at my hotel in Polanco, and we drove across town to pick up his girlfriend. Then, the three of us drove about 50 km outside of the city to Teotihuacan to see the pyramids. It was built sometime between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D., and it is known for three of its monuments – the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. Beyond these three monuments, Teotihuacan was a city – the first planned urban settlement in Mesoamerica. At its peak, the city occupied 14.3 square miles with a population of 175,000 people – making it one of the largest cities in the world at the time.
When we arrived, we got to see the Dance of the Flyers (Danza de los Voladores) before entering the site. It is an ancient Mesoamerican ritual. The men climb a 30 meter pole (all while one of them is playing music on what I can best describe as a “flute drum”…maybe he has two instruments in his hands, but I was too far away to tell). Each are tied to a rope, and they launch themselves off the top of the pole and spin around the pole all the way to the ground as the rope unravels. The musician continues to play, even while spinning!
We spent the next couple of hours exploring the ancient city and climbing the Pyramid of the Sun. It was really cool!
[Temple of Quetzalcoatl]
[Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon in the distance]
[So steep climbing up and down these monuments!]
[Pyramid of the Sun]
[Pyramid of the Moon]
[We’re going to climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun! The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest pre-Hispanic building of its time. It is believed that the sun god was worshipped here. Unlike the pyramids in Egypt, this pyramid is solid.]
[Boy, is it steep!]
[We made it to the top!!]
After our history lesson, we drove back into the city to see some of the beautiful buildings downtown. There were so many! We had lunch on the terrace of Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico – overlooking Plaza de la Constitucion, which is surrounded by the Cathedral, the President’s office, and the Mayor’s office.
The interior lobby of the hotel is amazing! The stained glass roof was designed by Tiffany & Co.
[Of course, they found a huge piñata for me to photograph!]
We also saw the beautiful Palacio des Belles Artes, which is like the Paris Opera House in this city – simply gorgeous! (Though, I thought the exterior is more beautiful than the Art Deco interior.) We climbed up to the rooftop coffee shop above Sears across the street for a really great view!
They drove me past a number of other beautiful sculptures, but since it started raining at the end of the day, I stopped jumping out of the car to photograph things. We had a really wonderful day together catching up on the past year! They were great guides, and I learned so much about Mexico!
The rest of my week was full of meetings, retail store visits, and group dinners. It was non-stop, but I took advantage of eating Mexican food as many times as possible! The highlight being our final group dinner where we tried one of the local dishes that is only available this time of the year. It’s also red, white, and green, which is perfect given that September is the month of their Independence Day! It’s called Chiles en Nogada (or, Chiles in Walnut Sauce). The chili is stuffed with meat and topped with a walnut cream sauce and pomegranate seeds. It is sweet, which was a strange surprise. I thought it was delicious!
[The Voladores were back at our final dinner! This time as decoration on the dessert plates containing all kinds of Mexican sweets.]
Before saying “hasta luego” to my friend, we took a final picture together at the office. This experience in Vevey is creating friendships that span the globe, and I’m so grateful for that! Already looking forward to our next adventure…whenever and wherever that might be!
I thought it was so nice for Nestlé to have a theme of World Music Week during lunch on my first week back in the office. They even had a Mexican Mariachi band one day! A great way to transition back into Switzerland after a great trip to Mexico!