Monday, December 5, 2016

Xochimilco



I loved this day. At the southernmost part of Mexico City in the borough of Xochimilco remains the last of the of Aztec canals; where a spectacle of brightly painted wooden trajinera await. Trajinera are flat bottom boats you rent by the hour to travel along these ancient waterways and....fiesta! There's a lot of soul, energy, and history here. The canals connect islands and what were once ancient settlements throughout valley of Meixco, where people have lived and worked since pre-Hispanic times.

Xochimilco (pronounced: Sochimilco) is 22 miles and about a 45 minute drive from the city center. An uber will get you there with ease. Ubers in DF are very inexpensive and we found the drivers to be reliable and professional.

There are number of tourist shops here that are worth exploring. Some are kitschy, while others are true gems. We bought flowered headbands that everyone back in the city would later ask us about ;) I bought a beautiful, brightly colored, hand woven poncho for $280 Pesos (that's $18 US dollars), Christina and Teri bought lovely dresses of the same caliber to wear on Day of The Dead, and Bob scored that awesome sombrero.

The really fun part comes when you board the boat, of course! Sit back and enjoy as 10 men work to get your trajinera out from behind rows and rows of other flat bottomed boats which are enclosing you. It is quite an impressive feat. Once safely on the open canal buy your micheladas, a bucket of beer, perhaps a snack of grilled corn or tacos on the canoes that pass by* and don't forget to request a song or two from the mariachi! Bask in the sun on the front of the boat. Buy a keepsake ring from a vendor who appears on board out of nowhere. Pull over to little side stalls when you need a bathroom break - be sure to have plenty of change on hand - 5 pesos is the going rate for a stall and a piece of toilet paper! Make conversation / wave to the local families as well the other tourists who pass by; everyone is friendly, welcoming, and here for the party!





Afterwards we explored the town on foot hoping to find a bar but not much luck there, just a lot of residences, food shops and other businesses. It was still nice to go for a walk and see the local streets. If you want to grab a drink once the boating comes to an end, stick close by the trajineras area or Uber back North to the city.

The not so fun part, for us, came later that night and in the days to follow, with varying degrees of illness. MONTEZUMA! This is no joke, you guys. Living like a true local (#comolocale was our trips motto!) actually takes a harsh toll on your body. If I had to do it over, I would still go to Xochimilco, *but I would eat brunch in the city beforehand and pass on the food that is actually being prepared on a little canoe surrounded by not so clean water. Here's the thing - the food was good, and it was such a smooth, hospitable operation that left us wanting for nothing; from the bright pink tablecloth to the pretty plates and silverware, to the warm tortillas and the bowl of hot sauce. We have no proof that this is what we got sick from. It could have been in part due to all that street meat we had the day before, or the water used to wash any vegetables we had! Our bodies simply could not take it. Our decision to eat on the boat was based on a recommendation from friends who used to live in DF, so I don't think getting as sick as we did is the norm.

5 comments:

  1. This looks like an AWESOME day! So sorry to hear you all got sick, though. :(

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah, I love Xochimilco! In 2005 I went on a college community service trip to Mexico and we got to explore this area. I don't think we ate, but we did enjoy the mariachi bands that would come up and just start playing...and then ask for money. :-)

    Such beautiful pictures!! And now I want authentic tacos. :-P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that is so cool that you have been there!!!

      Delete
  3. such beautiful colors, and everything sounds so amazing, well, except for getting so sick :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. First of all, I love the way you travel! You guys always find the best, most authentic places. I am so sorry to hear you got sick! Being ill on an international trip is the worst!

    ReplyDelete