Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Somewhere in Latin America
24. Chilling In Tlalpan, DF
Back in the endless city of DF, Jose has been kind enough to put me in touch with one of his friends, Dante. Dante just so happens to have a spare room in his apartment and said I could flip him a few bucks and crash as long as I want. This would be cheaper than a hostel and I would get my own room? Deal. Dante lives in an area of DF called Tlalpan.
The apartment complex that he lives in is in all senses of the word, massive. There are 32 separate towers, each tower has two main columns of apartments. As you enter and progress through the area there are two separate security checkpoints and countless foot security patrolling the area, clicking in and out on their walkie-talkies. There are a lot of students and working class families that live in the towers. The place seems like a nicer place for people to live. Although it may be a little bougie for my tastes personally, the location is good, and I don’t have to worry about my bike being out on the streets at night, getting caught up in peoples tomfoolery. As a bonus, Dante is also a climber, and being in Tlalpan we are situated just about 20 minutes from some pretty damn good outdoor climbing. More on that later though.
Here’s the joint.
Insurgentes is one of the main streets that splits DF in two, from the north to the south. Tlalpan is located south of the centro area and is nestled right in at the southern tail of Insurgentes. It’s a relaxed area with a lived in feel to it. Sort of like the burbs, but with a bit more laid back cool and less highbrow. The area is a place for people to live that don’t want the mayhem and hecticness of the center of DF. It’s a place that university students and working class families live in and commute elsewhere for school and work. This demographic leads to a lot of people fluxing in and out throughout the day, and a busy bus system.
Here is the tail end of the vehicular river that is Insurgentes. Jump on this and soon it becomes several lanes wide in both directions and in 20 minutes you can be in the center of DF. IF you are on a motorcycle of course. Try to commute it in a car expecting 20 minutes and you’re gonna have a bad time. With so many people in DF there is alllllways traffic, having a bike allows you to split lanes, maneuver around the plethora of smog belching buses, and ride the occasional sidewalk to get through it all. Although I don’t do anything the locals aren’t doing, having a big bike and a foreign license plate is similar to painting a bullseye on your back in terms of police attention. A couple hundred pesos slipped into the passport usually gets you out of any infraction. Nobody wants to do paperwork, and everyone gets to get on with their day.
The community of Tlalpan revolves around the “Centro Historico” area. This is the perk of living here, as it’s laid back and full of cafe’s, small restaurants, and little bars.
In the center of the neighborhood, as with many places in Mexico, there is a main square and usually some sort of garden.
No town hall is complete without some entrenched protesters either.
There’s some cool street art to be found if you take the time to look.
This time of year (end of Oct. early Nov.) is important in Mexico because of Dia De Muertos (Day Of The Dead). It’s similar to Halloween but it’s history is rooted in indigenous culture and Aztec festivals. It does encapsulate Halloween though and is typically celebrated from Oct. 31 - Nov. 2nd. Explosions from fireworks lit from rooftops and sidewalks can be heard starting in the early morning and trickle on throughout the three days.
I’m not sure how much I’ve mentioned this, but I like to eat. In fact, I like to eat quite a bit. I would maybe even go so far as to say that I pick places to travel to partly based on the food that is available. Luckily, good food is easy to come by in Mexico. For example, my homeboy Ruben here slangs tacos at this stand all day long. 5 tacos of any kind for 25 pesos (less than $2) is the deal. Sometimes I come twice a day for snacks.
There’s also a nice sized indoor market if you are wanting a bit more variety. Pretty much anything can be found in these central food-hubs, every now and then mangos that are the size of your face.
On a good day I can identify 10% of the stuff sold, I’ll give most anything a try once though.
Sometimes I do want something more familiar. Something a little closer to home. I’m a fan of fruits, luckily baking with apples is a culturally universal thing in the Americas. Familiar treats such as this can be found at certain locations (~$1.50).
Eventually I do get bored though and blast into Mexico City centro to shoot the shit with Jose and Dano. Here we can go out and grab a bite somewhere else, for example maybe some rotten fruit that’s repurposed and baked into a delicious dessert.
This little morsel with sugar?/milk?/cream? drizzled on it, is similar to your grandmas baked bananas. Yes it looks worse than g-ma’s, but I believe it tastes even better.
After all the mud in Hidalgo, we needed to get the bikes cleaned and give mother earth her dirt back.
After cleaning the bikes, Jose showed me a neighborhood spot for some authentic Yucatan cuisine. It’s a good sign when you see lots of people outside patiently waiting to fill their face with whatever happens to be on the menu.
For us the menu included beer with a bunch of salt, spices, and salsa. Feeling hung over? Drink this and then go run a marathon.
We had some sort of sandwiches as well. This one had octopus in it I believe.
I sampled a number of things here to try and get a variety of flaves. Now let’s be clear. I have never had Yucatan cuisine, and this place is on the fancier end of the continuum and thus possibly not completely indicative of what people eat on the regular. But lean a bit closer and let me tell you something. IT’S FUCKING DELICIOUS. Whatever they have going on over in that peninsula, I want more of it. If this is an indication of the food I’m going to find when I head that way, ohhhh buddy help me now. If my belly wasn’t so full after eating this, I would have jumped on the bike right then and blasted out to the Yucatan, smothering my body in all of the food I could find along the way.
Soon enough though, soon enough. Right now, it’s time to work off all that grub and get out to do some climbing.
SeanPNW screwed with this post 11-07-2013 at 02:30 PM