Friday, June 12, 2015
Day 3 in Mexico City: Xochimilco, Xoloitzcuintle, and more Peacocks!
The grounds are owned by the dozens of peacocks that wander around flashing their feathers and vibrating in demonstrations of masculinity. There were also peahens haphazardly leading around small flocks of baby peacocks which occasionally would end up being shaken violently in the beaks of the adult males. It didn't seem particularly fatherly. In fact, I think the message was: If I kill you, I can mate with your mother. Nature is so sweet sometimes.
The museum is not very large and a portion of it was closed because someone was showing a powerpoint about the importance of understanding pre-colombian culture. We were told to come back at 2:00 so we went to get a beer and some snacks and watch the peacocks either fall in love or maim each other. When we came back after 2:00 we were told that we still couldn't come in, but we insisted and were let in, although they told us we couldn't go into the galleries. I told them I thought this was ridiculous, that they had charged me full price and that they misunderstood themselves. Maybe I should go into diplomacy.
At first they were asking 3,000 pesos for a two hour trip, we negotiated down to 1,500 (about $100 for a private boat) and we were off. The canals are a floating economy with mariachi in boats that sidle up to your offering a song and floating vendors hawking memorabilia, sodas, and food. Every so often, a gentle accident jars you but on the whole it was extremely pleasant. We didn't hire any mariachi but did eavesdrop on their performances for others. It was also possible to hire a marimba player, something we also declined. There were actually bathrooms all along the route at which we could stop, which surprised me and may actually be the highest concentration of public bathroom facilities per linear foot of any passageway in Mexico. Also, it's the first time I've ever been offered a bonsai by a sales person in a boat.
The drivers of the boat punt down the shallow river using long, thick bamboo poles. Our driver managed to lose his pole at one point and was desperately trying to direct our boat back towards it by using one of the chairs as a paddle. Luckily, the river is never without a group nearby and so another boatman was able to recover our guy's lost stick...but not his lost dignity.
The church is enormous and has not just one, but four creepy Christ statues. That's some serious investment.
We stopped by a wonderful little store that had a variety of delicious looking sauces and bought some chorizo to mix with our leftover potatoes and mushrooms from yesterday and dined like kings.
Tomorrow is our last day here and we're already saying that we need to come back - there is so much to do and see here that 5 days isn't enough, five months probably still wouldn't be, but I don't think my heart could handle the stress of driving in this madness for that long, so better to do it in chunks.
But I hope I don't have to wait too long.