Wednesday, 21 September 2011

I'm on a boat!


If by chance you ever happen to have a hankering for a boat ride with someone else doing all the muscle work and you're not near Venice (and you happen to be in Mexico) there's a place designed just for you: Xochimilco Aztec canals. Why would you want to go on a boat ride with someone else doing all the muscle work and undermining your masculinity, you may ask. Well, here's why: the canals are what's left/after some modification a preserved piece of the Aztec world. They weren't originally meant for leisurly drunken boating like one would think. Oh no, they were an ingenious form of agriculture, combining wet and dry crop growing.
Not for ferrying tourists around.
For growing food for an ancient metropolis.
Also, if your masculinity can't take someone else pushing the boat along for a few hours, possibly you shouldn't be getting on boats.

Besides seeing the canal itself, the fancy boats and local wildlife (the place is said to be good for bird spotting), you can buy plants, see Isla de las Munecas, visit museums etc etc all of which you can find more about in the very comprehensive Wiki page.

Now things you should know that they might not tell you but are still darn good to know about boating in general:
  1. DO NOT visit this place during a national holiday. It will be much like bumper cars only with less cars, more water and not quite as much fun. It's also much like Mexico City traffic in general only with less of a chance of getting run over/exploded/basically killed. There's a very good possibility that you will end up going in small circles in the canal with your condolier getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of maneuvering space and occasionally falling off the boat. But there will be plenty of refreshments and colliding musical numbers to keep you reasonably entertained if you'll follow the next advice...
  2. Getting drunk is a good idea, especially if you're not into all the history and ancient awe and stuffs. This will keep your spirits either high(ish) or your grasp of time appropriately muddy. It will also make you hungry for corn/tortillas/beer/candied apples and submissive to any of the myriad musical numbers being performed on top of each other by the musicians floating by. Make no mistake, these are talented people making a living and they will do their very best to entertain you. However, this does not include playing the same song at the same time as all the other bands touring the canals.
  3. Also know when getting a boat, you pay either BY THE BOAT or BY THE HOUR. If by any chance someone tries to tell you that you have to pay per person, know that they are a lying, scheming scumbag who will surely catch a horrible venerial disease from all the scammed pesos in their pockets that will make their balls turn green and rot away. Raybans and official badges do not mark a friend from a foe in this case. Just know that 200-300pesos per hour for a boat is reasonable. And that's all I got to say about that.
  4. No one seems to know what's up with the swans. Possibly an early onset of Oh-that's-nice-I'm-going-to-do-the-same-thing. They just are.
  5. Water is wet.
  6. Don't drink from the canal.
  7. Are you really still reading this?
  8. Fine then.
  9. Here's a picture of a tiny dog.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

I say tomaatti, you say tortilla!


Welp, here we are. Going on 3rd week in Mexico.
What have I learned so far? That the words for "chicken" and "assist" sound suspiciously similar in spanish to the untrained ear. That there are spiders in living quarters that may bite you in the face in the middle on the night and lay eggs under your skin. That there are a lot of Starbucks' and car dealerships in Mexico City. That people die on busses going over the mountains from the City to Toluca due to the rapid altitude change. That Santa Fe is pretty and expensive and built on soil that'll swallow your house like a loose rectum when an appropriate earthquake hits. That there are tiny, insignificant earthquakes here every day that you only notice when items mysteriously change places without anyone touching them. That Spanish is a good thing to master. That these people really like monumental buildings and murals. That water pressure is low and but the temperature is balmy. That avocados on tortillas with a little salt is just about the best thing I've ever eaten.

It might also be added that the people are pretty awesome, just like they are in most places once you get to know them, and they'll continue on being awesome even after they notice you don't speak their language. They also work hard and long hours and appreciate a good education above all else.Well, all else besides not being a dick to other people and other such hippy nonsense. And whatever else you might have heard about Mexico City, you should know that their university is pretty darn impressive in size alone. AND and, if you're a culture snob like I am, you'll be duely impressed by their library, which houses the most first edition books in the entire world.
It's also bloody enormous.
But that's nothing compared to the culture centre right next to it.
Am I impressed? Oh hell yes.

Relatives are still as nuts as any. But it's a good kind of nuts. Like walnuts: a litte wrinkly on the outside but containing huge amounts of healthy oils and minerals.

I'm sure that in the coming months I'll run into more things I don't much care for besides cold morning showers and sneezing black snoot every few hours and the underground being slightly on the warm side, but right now, life is pretty good.
I'm anxiously waiting for next week so I can go visit a 7Eleven and eat fruit and spend some money on guanabana ice cream.
Oh yeah, did I mention I'm not allowed to eat fruit? Yeah.. doctor's orders. Kinda put a damper on that whole "raw vegan" thing.
Oh well, at least I'm allowed an avocado on a tortilla per meal. Life is grand.