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Mexico City, Communists and the Museum.
By Claire
Saturday, 3rd April 2004 19:34

Woke up to our first full day in Mexico City, and had breakfast of boiled eggs, melon, bread and jam on the roof of the hostel. We then set out for Bosco de Chapultepec, a huge park to the west of the historical district, and, according to the scale-less maps dotted around the hostel or picked up from the station, a leisurely walk of a couple of kilometres.

Fortunately the main road, with a tree- and fountain-filled pavement along the centre of the avenue, led straight there, although we stopped at virtually every bank along the way in the hope of changing a travellers' cheque. As it turned out, that wasn't possible on a Saturday, but we changed dollars into pesos (about 11 pesos to a dollar) and carried on walking.

There was some sort of demonstration going on too, with all four lanes of the other side of the road packed with people wearing red and carrying red flags with hammer and sickle insignia. They were shouting a lot too, and were perhaps comemorating the 15th Anniversary of someone or something, but the rest eluded us. We walked for about six miles in all, and the demonstrators were all lined up this far back too. Although the last mile or so was made up of a swarm of green and white VW Beetle taxis, but I'm not sure if they were involved or just trying to get through the road block.

After about two and a half hours of walking round pot holes and over gloriously uneven pavements, we arrived at the park, and headed for the Museum of Anthopology.

I thought this would be a good place to start, seeing as how the only bit of the Lonely Planet website that I remembered to put into my little PDA recommended it heartily. It was actually very interesting, and while the size of the place could have meant we'd be there for days, English interpretations of the exhibits were limited to about a dozen in each area, making our visit pleasantly condensed. Added to this was the layout of the museum: each section dealt with a geographical region of the country, so we concentrated on the Maya and the Mexica, or Aztecs, the people who lived in the regions we were intending to visit in Mexico. We spent a very pleasant four hours looking at relics and models of temples and my favourite bit was a description of pulque, an alcoholic drink made from fermented cactus juice that the Aztecs enjoyed. Because of its potency the Aztecs only allowed a single drink of pulque, and drunkeness was not permitted, believing the being drunk made you fall under the influence of "four hunded rabbits". Cue the rest of the afternoon being spent imagining what the influence of four hundred rabbits would be like...

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