Went to Chapultapec park, saw the castle from a distance and went to a very nice zoo for zero dollars… Tiring day as we walked forever. The Giant Pandas were cool as were the cats.. We ate tortas at the zoo which were pretty good.We walked to Zona Rosa and tried a few more ATMs to see if my money had been turned on. I also checked my email and I got an email from my Mom and the bank saying that I can´t use my card as a visa card or as a visa debit card in Mexico but I can use it as an ATM if the ATM machine had our logos on it.

We later found an ATM inside a bakery with the cirrus logo on it and we got money. Thank God that´s over. We are limited to 2500 pesos a day but this is Mexico so that´s realistic.

Third day on our trip and we still don’t have access to money. Our paid days at our hotel are up so we’re moving whether we want to or not. I dug through my hidden money belt where I keep photocopies of passports etc. and found $33 U.S. So I changed it into 300 pesos at a money exchanger. That and the money I had left got us one night stay at the Hotel Catedral right behind the Zocolo. In addition to being out of money our old hotel decided to raise our room rate to 1100 pesos a night. This hotel is worth 100 dollars in other parts of the world but not in Mexico City where cheap hotels are a plenty. The Hotel Catedral is just as nice and costs half as much (about $50). We are also one block north of the Zocolo and we can see the back of the Cathedral from our terrace. Our street out front turns into a market street from 9:00am to 7:00pm so it’s like living in Turkey with all the music and venders shouting their deals. It’s quite a neat experience to say the least. We are on the 6th floor (5th in Europe/Mexico) and we have a balcony overlooking the street. The balcony is a bit scary as it doesn’t seem like it’s held on real well and we’re a long ways up. Yesterday I took a nap on the bed and listened to the street vendors advertise at the top of their lungs. I wish I knew more Spanish as I don’t know what they’re selling. The Mexican people love their markets or so it seems. Everywhere you go you run into another market not like any you would ever see in the States outside of yearly craft markets. The difference is these markets run every day just like they were a big department store.

Today we got up late (10:00 Mexico time) and started walking to the historic center. It’s about a mile from where we are so it took a while to get there. On the way we stopped at Alameda Center which is a large park that reminded us of Parc du Luxembourg in Paris. There were many street vendors setting up their little carts in the park. They sold all sorts of Mexican food, jewelery and whatever else. We were getting really hungry by this time so we started looking around for food and all we could find were street vendors which we are supposed to avoid because we don’t want to get tourista. Down the street across from the beautiful Belle Arts museum was a 7-11 which turned out to be where lunch was. For 5 dollars we all got triple layer sandwiches that although didn’t taste any better than convenience store sandwiches in America did the trick.

The trip down was rather uneventful. The plane out of Seattle was a Boeing 757 which I had to work a bit to get us on. The cheapest flight was on MD super 80s which don’t have movies or food. The lack of food isn’t that much of a problem anymore because American Airlines doesn’t serve free food on domestic flights anymore anyway. They do however sell a 50 cent snack pack for 3 dollars which very few people purchase. I figure that if they don’t mind us bringing on our own food we might as well include a barbecue pit in our carry-on luggage bag. Considering the number of people that carry on bags that barely fit in the overhead compartments sideways I don’t think AA would notice.


We got to Dallas in the early afternoon and I’m always amazed at how easy Dallas/Ft Worth airport is to get around in. They now have a rubber tire train that takes you between terminals in a similar fashion to the airtrain at JFK. The skytrain isn’t that fast but does keep you from having to carry your luggage between terminals. We had a few hours to kill so we circumnavigated the airport on the train just for fun. It doesn’t have a driver so Piper and Jade sat in front so they could feel like they were driving.

About Grant McWilliams

I'm a college computer science professor and CEO of Sound Linux Training and Consulting - a Seattle based company that does training and consulting work for global fortune 500 corporations. I'm a software engineer, product developer, instructor and technical writer.

I also run Recessionchef.com a sounding board for an upcoming book named The Recession Chef. My latest venture is Edu Live Online an interactive online training company syncretically combining the advantages of instructor led training with distance learning.

This site (grantmcwilliams.com) is my personal site where I talk about all of the other things that interest me. On the side I'm a Travel Writer, Food Critic, Amateur Chef, Philosopher, Photographer and Technology geek. You can find me on Google+ and Twitter listed below. 

The caricature to the right (which looks exactly like me) was drawn by some unknown Indian artist at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Interestingly enough he was an Indian Chef who had a restaurant in London but found out he could just sit in front of the Museum in Paris and draw caricatures and make the same amount of money without the stress. I wish I'd gotten some recipes from him.

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