Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Viva Mexico !

I just got back from one of the most dangerous places in the world, Mexico!

But it didn't feel so dangerous drinking la bandera (tequila, lime, and spicy tomato juice whose white, green, and red colors symbolize the colors of the Mexican flag) in the pool's swim-up bar.

I went for a dear friend's wedding in Acapulco.

It felt great to shed my reporter's hat for a sombrero.

The wedding was beautiful. Fireworks lit up the night sky and fell onto the secluded patch of beach on the Pacific Ocean. Throw in an Arabic inspired villa, an open Tequila Bar, an energetic happy couple and 200 of their closest friends, a great DJ spinning Latin and other beats, and you really can't go wrong.

I ate breakfast at the wedding and stumbled out at 7AM. My buddy's grandmother was still on the dance floor. Need I say more.

We stayed in this resort far away from the real Acapulco.

Among the highlights was a great surf with stingrays, touch football on volcanic black sand, and a weird Mexican game of machismo where you pay a guy on the beach to run an electric current through you and an opponent and the first one to let go loses.

I let go after about 30 seconds when the electric shock collided with reason (the nemesis of all games of machismo), "Why am I paying someone to shock me to the point of discomfort?"

I did spend some time in the giant sprawl that is Mexico City.

With 25 million people trying to get around, the traffic is the worst I've ever experienced.

The Swanky Polanco District

People don't see a rise in violence in Mexico City. Locals claim that it has always been violent in D.F.

The change, they note, is in the border areas. I asked nearly everyone I met, what was the tipping point in the levels of crime and most people said that violence levels spiked because the government is actually fighting against the drug cartels, rather than turning a blind eye to the drug business as was done in the past.

It sounded like a plausible theory, and I of course got the urge to visit the border area to learn more, but I resisted it and decided to just relax this time.

Among the highlights in Mexico City:

Eating cactus
(It's kind of bland but the peppery sauces that come on every Mexican dish make it yummy)

Visiting the Chapultepec (Grasshopper) Castle

It is the only castle in North America that was used to house sovereigns – the reigning Mexican Emperor Maximilian I, and his consort Empress Carlota, during the Second Mexican Empire.

I really dug the murals by Diego Rivera

Harry Potter-esque

I went to the The Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral (Spanish: Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María), the largest and oldest cathedral in the Americas and seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico.

They celebrate Halloween in Mexico, but its a little different and its called "Dia de los Muertos" or Day of the Dead. And they don't say "trick or treat" when they knock on doors but refer to "dead people's skulls." Which probably makes it less marketable for Hallmark.

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