Doing Good Around the World - I - from Vancouver to Patagonia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by peergum, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Well, there are some, and a bunch of English speaking ones in Teotihuacan, so I don't think people cancelled their holidays because of the earthquakes...
  2. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Day 76: The Pyramids at Teotihuacán
    On the morning of Saturday, October 7, we headed to Teotihuacán with our new friend and fellow Canadian biker, Simon, to see the pyramids.

    The origin of the city’s founders is uncertain; however, what is known is that the area was a large urban center around 1,000 years before the Aztecs, and the city was already in ruins by their epoch. The Aztecs did give the city its name, which means “birthplace of the gods” in Nahuatl because they believed the gods created the universe at the site.

    Upon arrival, we paid 160 pesos (~10.65 CAD) at the entrance for the two of us and proceeded to the parking lot at Gate 2, which was the closest lot to the pyramids.

    The first stop was the Pyramid of the Sun, located along the Avenue of the Dead. While the pyramid was constructed around 200 AD, the Aztecs were the ones who gave it the name we know today. The pyramid is the third largest in the world at 65 meters high (about half the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza) and is a 248-step climb to the top.

    The number of steps doesn’t sound like much, but when you make those steps narrow and high, it feels more like 1,000 than 248. I was wheezing like I was 80 and had half a lung by the time I reached the top. Two thoughts crossed my mind as I climbed:

    1. I repent me of all I have done
    2. The people who built this thing must have been very tall with tiny feet
    In the end, the view from the top was incredible and worth the journey to get there.

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    Pyramid of the Sun



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    On the way to the Pyramid of the Sun



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    My Penance



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    View from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun



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    View of the Pyramid of the Moon from the Pyramid of the Sun



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    Mandatory group selfie with a fun photo-bombing duo behind us



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    The Ciudadela



    We had taken our drone with us in the hope of capturing some amazing footage to share with our audience. Unfortunately, shortly after launching it into the air on its programmed flight plan, our resident drone-operator lost connection and it went out of sight so the drone was flying around secretly on its own for a few minutes before coming back. Not the operator’s fault because this appears to be common with the Parrot Bebop 2.

    While the drone was exploring Teotihuacán by itself, a security guard came up to us and told us that we weren’t allowed to fly it (even though there were no signs prohibiting it). Phil apologized and explained that he lost connection and didn’t know where it went. The guard laughed and shook his head. Clearly, he thought we were dumb foreigners.

    As expected, the drone caught a lot of attention; however, what we weren’t expecting was that people would be curious enough to boldly ask us how much it cost. Telling them it was bought in Canada didn’t deter them from wanting to know the dollar amount so we eventually decided that saying it was a gift was the best answer.

    We don’t want people thinking we’re wealthy foreigners because we’re not. If anyone wants to change this though, let us know

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    Rebels in Action



    The Pyramid of the Moon, located on the West end of Avenue of the Dead, was the next challenge that I chose to let the guys take on by themselves because the afternoon was getting warm and I didn’t want to summon the Grim Reaper upon reaching the top.

    This Pyramid of the Moon was smaller than the Pyramid of the Sun at 43 meters high and while it is a shorter climb, it is far steeper than its larger counterpart. I was glad I chose to sit this one out when Phil told me. The structure that the Pyramid of the Moon covers is also older than that of the Pyramid of the Sun, dating prior to 200 AD.

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    Pyramid of the Moon



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    On the way to the Pyramid of the Moon



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    Where’s the fun without high and narrow stairs?



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    Troopers on top of the Pyramid of the Moon



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    View from the top of the Pyramid of the Moon



    After Phil and Simon returned from the second pyramid, we decided to visit the Palacio de Quetzalpapálotl before lunch. It was built around 250 to 300 AD and is believed to have served as a home for a high-ranking priest or similar dignitary due to its location and the quality of its art. The name of the palace comes from the mythological bird carvings on the pillars in the courtyard.

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    Palacio de Quetzalpapálotl Courtyard



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    Palacio de Quetzalpapálotl Exterior



    We stopped at one of the tourist-trap restaurants on the way out of the area so lunch was, unsurprisingly, a mediocre meal for a high price tag. At least they had beer

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    Post-pyramid Lunch
    Photo by: Simon Dabbs
  3. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Did you get video from the errant drone?
  4. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Days 77 – 83: Our Third Week in Mexico City
    Our third week in Mexico City was pretty low-key with most of our days spent on work. You may have noticed that the blog looks different since the last post. We made the menu more concise and gave the blog a cleaner and lighter appearance overall than it previously had. If you haven’t noticed, I’ll assume it’s because the content of the blog posts are so captivating that you can’t notice anything else

    We did manage to fit in a bit of fun by making a trip to the fancy-pants Via Santa Fe mall on Monday to get the battery for Phil’s iPhone changed. We hung around and watched Blade Runner 2049 before heading back to our apartment.

    On Wednesday evening, we met up with Simon and a few local bikers – Garry, David, Juan, and Mundo – at the Retro Classic Diner for a casual dinner and conversation.

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    Wednesday night’s crew
    Photo by: Simon Dabbs



    On Saturday, we headed to a motorcycle trade show at noon where we met up with Garry. We stayed at the show for a couple of hours, considered getting some lights for the bike, decided not to drop that much cash, and then made our way to the Via Santa Fe mall for the second time this week since it was close by and we were hungry.

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    Motorcycle Trade Show in Mexico City



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    Kids riding bikes like it’s no big deal



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    In his happy place with an NC 750 and Africa Twin



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    Trying an Indian on for size



    We decided to watch Kingsman: The Golden Circle so ended up getting out of the mall at around 9:00 PM. Unfortunately for us, it was raining and chilly, and we had chosen to leave our rain gear behind since the day was sunny. As a result, we had our first evening ride through Mexico City in rain and some navigation through flooded streets.

    By the time we got back to our apartment, we were soaked to the skin and cold. Nothing a hot shower and warm cup of tea couldn’t fix though
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  5. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Yes, Tom, we did. Not as good as planned, since the flight plan I programmed into the drone was at the wrong altitude and aiming horizontally instead of to the pyramid, but still useable. Sapna is still spending time on the videos from Guanajuato (which should be up tonight) and the coming one on San Miguel de Allende (which will have an amazing drone tracking of the bike). Mexico City should get its own video soon too, so stay tuned!...

    Cheers
    Phil.
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  6. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Just found your report, great photos and write up. I am making a break for it this weekend! The weather looks good through Montana so I should be down in Mexico by the first of November.
    Nice report on the English school in Salamanca.
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  7. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Thanks Cal! Wave to us when you get closer! (We can be located on our blog or on the advrider spotwalla page)
  8. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Fresh videos from our visits in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato!
    So, we edited and uploaded two new videos this week, from our visits in Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende respectively. The video are mostly while riding through the city for the former – but much less boring than our first one – but also include a great 360º sky view of San Miguel and a bike following part through the amazing landscape between San Miguel and Salamanca for the latter, thanks to our little drone

    For the note, I (Phil) composed some tracks specifically for these 2 videos, and I seem to finally be able to get a little out of my usual composition style, so get ready to like it – unless you prefer Radio Pop…

    Next videos planned: Mexico City, with some more drone footage, so stay tuned!





    If you prefer, just watch our whole channel again to see our progress:

    Riding Around the World Youtube Channel
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  9. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    My friend from Mazatlan was at the Moto show in the city and bought a Ducati Scrambler! Just for interest in Sinaloa they are now going to the Europe size plate and it is causing all sorts of problem with fitment and plus the manufacturers of the new plates are late with the deliveries!! Mexico at its finest.
    Nice videos
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  10. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Thanks, Cal. We were a bit disappointed by the Moto show... it was like 3 times smaller than the one we had in Abbostford in April or May this year... I thought that Mexico being the capital it would be big, but I fear there are not so many people in Mexico _really_ interested in motorcycles (excluding all the bikers of small cc that use them for deliveries or such...). This said, the way people drive in CDMX also explain things... Chances are high, riders end bumped by a car...
  11. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    New to Motorcycles? Get the best of them thanks to Lee Heaver!
    So, we do not usually promote stuff, yet both of us got our motorcycle training at 1st Gear Motorcycle School in Richmond, BC with Lee and Lionel (and it was definitely great, fun and pretty useful) and we thought it would be nice to share many tricks from Lee with the world.

    So if you want to know everything you need to, have no time for motorcycle training classes (although we highly recommend you do, there are too many dumb motorcyclists out there in the wild), then give yourself a gift and buy Lee’s book from Amazon. You can get the paperback edition or the kindle one. Either works, as long as you read it



    [​IMG]See larger image
    Your First Motorcycle: Be Safe, Start Right, and Have Fun (Paperback)
    List Price: CDN$ 19.78
    New From: CDN$ 14.20 In Stock
    Used from: CDN$ 28.00 In Stock
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  12. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Days 84 – 88: A Surprise From Home!
    Our Monday on October 16 started like any other; we did our morning routine and then sat down to work. Phil decided to take a break late in the morning to run some errands and got a little taste of the corruption that is prevalent in many developing countries.

    He had taken his bike and had turned right into a cyclist lane when he got pulled over and got slapped with a fine of 3,000 pesos (~200 CAD). Yes, it was wrong to turn right into a cyclist lane (even though there were no cyclists around); however, after seeing the insane driving and countless traffic violations in Mexico City since we’ve been here, the punishment seemed quite harsh.

    Phil cooperated and followed the cops to go and make the payment on the official premises. Mid-way, the cops stopped and asked him if he wanted to go all the way with them or pay them the money on the spot. He said that he didn’t have the cash on him so, after some discussion, they offered to lower the fine to 2,000 pesos. Phil told them he only had 1,500 on him so they agreed to settle at that amount. Money paid, no receipt given, and the cops were on their way.

    The money was obviously pocketed and it is an unpleasant feeling to know that you contributed to a system of corruption, but this was a situation that could have easily gone awry if Phil had chosen to fight it. As a visitor, you just have to accept that this is how things work and it is not your country to try to change; you just need to remember to not judge an entire nation based on a few opportunistic individuals.

    After Phil returned and we had some lunch, the intercom rang in our apartment rang and the security guard asked him to go downstairs. Phil went downstairs and I sat down to fill out our expenses spreadsheet when there was a knock on our door. Wondering why Phil chose to knock when he knows the code, I opened the door to see my beloved little brother, Prash, with big grin on his face.

    I had been asking him to pay me a visit every time I spoke to him so he had decided to give me the best surprise ever by doing so and with him, he brought some of my Mom’s decadent Diwali treats. Talk about a sweet deal!

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    Mom’s Diwali Sweets



    Prash had a mission to have a lot of Mexican food while in Mexico so the three of us went to Forum Buenavista mall on his first night here for a dinner of tacos and beer followed by some ice cream at a Häagen-Dazs kiosk.

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    Out for beer and tacos



    The next day, we headed to the historic center and made a stop at the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), which is a prominent cultural center in the city. Construction of the building started in 1904 to replace the demolished National Theatre and was completed in 1934. Numerous problems with budgeting, technicalities, and a declining economic situation after the outbreak of the 1910 revolution had delayed completion.

    It is a stunning building that has a mixture of architectural styles with Art Nouveau and Art Deco being the most prominent. The design and construction of the building was initially undertaken by Italian architect, Adamo Boari, and concluded by Mexican architect, Federico Mariscal, with numerous changes to the original design.

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    Palacio de Bellas Artes



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    Plaza outside the Palacio de Bellas Artes



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    Chillin’ inside the Palacio de Bellas Artes



    There are numerous impressive artifacts inside the building, but my top pick would have to be the glass curtain inside the theatre. The stage side provides fire protection with grooved metal panels while the other side is adorned with opalescent glass, courtesy of Tiffany of New York. The glass curtain is unique and of great artistic value, but don’t try to steal it to sell on the black market – it weighs more than 20 tonnes

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    Tiffany Glass Door



    The next day, our favourite biker stayed home to make some dough while I took little brother to Via Sante Fe mall and then to Naucalli park so he could hunt for some Pokémon (yes, he’s one of THOSE). His lady, Harneet, was set to arrive on Thursday so we held off on doing any touristy activities until then.

    After the park, we returned home and Prash cooked us a delicious meal of spaghetti bolognese. He graduated from culinary school and works as a Sous-chef, for those who don’t know, so his spaghetti bolognese is leagues ahead of the usual standard. Needless to say, we all had happy bellies after that meal.

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    Dinner by Prash



    Harneet arrived early on Thursday morning and after catching up on some sleep, the young couple went to explore the Chapultepec area while us oldies stayed back and did some work. Ain’t no rest for the wicked
  13. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Day 89: Xochimilco Canals and the Island of the Dolls
    On Friday, the four of us headed to Xochimilco, a neighourhood in southern Mexico City that is famous for its canals and the Island of the Dolls. We got our boat from Embarcadero Cuemanco, one of the recommended ports, and chose the four-hour tour that included a stop at the Island of the Dolls.

    The boat rental cost us 2,000 pesos (~135 CAD) for the four hours and the great thing is that the cost was per boat as opposed to per person. Each boat can easily fit around 16 people so going with a large group or joining forces with another group can make the cost quite quite low for each person. Unfortunately for us, the other groups were comprised of young boys in their late teens and early twenties who seemed to have only one mission on their minds – to get as drunk as possible.

    So just the four of us it was. We ordered some food and beer before our boat left the port, and then enjoyed a nice cruise down the river. There were some boats with Mariachi bands floating around, but none of the food boats that numerous online resources mentioned. We were glad we ordered our food and drinks before leaving.

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    Lots of Colourful Boats



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    Our Boat



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    Cruisers



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    Boat with a Mariachi Band



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    The River



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    A Riverbank



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    Another Riverbank



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    How does a bird in the wild stay so spotlessly white?



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    Replica of the Island of the Dolls



    About two hours into the cruise, we came to the infamous Island of the Dolls. The entry fee to the island was a reasonable 40 pesos (~2.70 CAD) per person; however, to take pictures with our professional cameras, we would have had to pay an extra 100 pesos (~6.70 CAD) each, so we opted to stick with our cellphone cameras for pictures.

    The story behind the island is that the body of a drowned young girl was found by the island’s caretaker, Don Julián Santana Barrera. He later found a doll floating near the canals and, assuming it belonged to the drowned girl, he hung it to a tree as a way of showing respect to the girl’s spirit. He was allegedly haunted by the girl’s spirit and started hanging up more dolls in an attempt to appease her. According to the legend, after 50 years of collecting and hanging dolls all over the island, Julián was found dead, drowned in the same spot where he found the girl. However, his nephew, who narrates the story of the island to all visitors, says he died of a cardiac arrest.

    I have a fascination with all things macabre so, naturally, this place called to me. I found the story tragic and the island not the slightest bit as creepy as pictures and television make it out to be. It feels more like a dumpsite than a shrine because the dolls are caked in filth and cobwebs. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go to Xochimilco just for the Island of the Dolls because I would have been disappointed if that was my sole purpose for the trip. I recommend going for the canal tour and taking the stop at the island because it happens to fall along the way.

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    Island of the Dolls Presentation Hut



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    Broken Dolls Hanging on Trees



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    More Dolls on Trees



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    Dolls as Fence Decor



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    “Imagine you’re driving home one night and you turn around to see this in your back seat.”
    – Little brother



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    Dolls in a Shed



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    Shrine of Macabre



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    Dolls and the Mexican Flag



    After Xochimilco, we went back to the city, explored some neighbourhoods, ate some churros, and then headed home in the evening.
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  14. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Nice update,.....always call their bluff on the traffic fines, go all the way to the office if need be!!I too have been stopped and given a crazy fine amount 1000 pesos can be brough down to less than 100 , you gave in way to high! Vivir y aprender!
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  15. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    If you do a quick search on incomes in Mexico, you will see why the moto show is small. Very few people can afford something like a large expensive moto for recreation! My Mexican stepdaughter just graduated first in her class and is teaching in a private school for less than $50 per week. When she is eligible to take the Federal teaching exam and can find a job in a public school, she could see a 50% or so increase, but still less than $100 US per week.

    Cal is correct! I was stopped for the same thing and I waited them out. When the cop told me they would tow my KTM to a place to hold it, in Spanish of course. I pretended that he was telling me the Police Force used KTMs! Every Bull$hit method he tried to use on me, I acted as if I thought he was saying something totally different. He was trying to get 5,000 or 7,000 pesos from me! The stupid thing was, I knew I had done wrong and I would have given him a few hundred pesos, which is what a fine would have been, but he was greedy, so he got nothing! In the end, he shook my hand and told me to be on my way.
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  16. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    BTW, my wife and I will be home in a couple days from our two months traveling on our African Twin. We live 2.5 hours south of Mexico City in Iguala, Guerrero. If there is anything I can help you with, send me a PM.
  17. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Day 90: The Frida Kahlo Museum
    On Saturday afternoon, the four of us headed to the Frida Kahlo Museum. The building is also known as La Casa Azul (the blue house) and was the artist’s birthplace, the home where she grew up, where she lived with her husband, Diego Rivera, for a number of years, and where she later died. In 1958, her husband’s will donated the property and it’s contents to turn it into a museum in Frida’s honour.

    For those who are unfamiliar with Frida Kahlo and her work, she was a surrealist painter from the late 1920s to around the time of her death in 1954. In 1925, at the age of 18, Frida suffered nearly fatal injuries that put an end to her dreams of becoming a doctor and caused her pain and illness for the rest of her life. She began painting while she was bedridden and recovering. She met Diego Rivera, a renowned muralist in 1927 and married him the following year. Her first solo exhibition was in 1953, the year before she died. Her work as been celebrated for being symbolic of Mexican traditions and for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.

    We waited in the ridiculously-long line-up for two hours before we got in. The cost of entry per person was 220 pesos (~15 CAD) and an additional 30 pesos (~20 CAD) for photography. Week days are a bit cheaper at 200 pesos for the entry fee. If you must go on a weekend, it is highly recommended to go early and get the tickets online.

    The museum itself is quite nice with some rooms preserved and others turned into art galleries. There is also a section that contains her clothes and jewelry. Phil and I had watched her biopic on Netflix beforehand so we had a greater appreciation of everything we saw than if we hadn’t.

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    Looong Lineup



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    Pyramid in the Courtyard



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    The Courtyard



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    Studying some sculptures



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    Day of the Dead Altar



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    Lots of art



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    The Dining Room



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    The Kitchen



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    Frida’s day room



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    Frida’s night room



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    A place to chill under the stairs



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    Art studio



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    Some of Frida’s clothes



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    Harneet and Prash, tapping into their inner Frida and Diego



    We had intended to visit the Diego Rivera Museum afterwards; however, the long wait in the line-up earlier didn’t leave us enough time so we walked up Ignacio Allende street to a public market for a very late lunch instead. We made our way to the La Consentida stall for some ridiculously-delicious burritos that also happened to be super cheap.

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    Time for some delicious burritos!



    After lunch, we explored the Coyoacán neighbourhood on foot for a few hours before heading back to our apartment.
  18. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    I know they screwed me, and - as you, Donnie - I had done wrong so I had to pay a fine. I'm sure I could have gone up to the end, the "deposito" and paid there, and that's definitely what I'll pretend to do next time if it happens again.... And I'm sure the paperwork they'll have to fill instead of getting "propinas" from other drivers/riders will be more an inconvenience to them than the fine to pay for myself... In the worst case, I'll work more to pay for the fine...
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  19. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Thanks, Donnie, I think we'll be fine, and we plan to continue east to Oaxaca, on the 4th, then northeast toward Yucatan...
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  20. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Day 91: A Day in Taxco, the City of Silver
    Prash and Harneet had decided to visit Teotihuacán on Sunday, and since Phil and I had already been there, we decided to let the kiddies do their thing while we took a day trip to Taxco. It is a colonial city that is nestled in the mountains of Sierra Madre and is a three-hour ride from Mexico City. Taxco is heavily associated with silver, both with the mining of it and crafting of it into jewelry, silverware, and anything else you can think of that can be crafted into silver. Even though, today, silver mining in Taxco has declined, the city has more silver stores than I can count.

    We met up with the same group of bikers we had dinner with the week before on Sunday morning at 8:00 AM and headed towards Taxco. We reached the city at around noon due to the few breaks we made along the way. Taxco is an incredibly beautiful city and easily the most picturesque we have been to in Mexico (and we’ve been to quite a few). I almost frolicked along the streets because it looks like a Disney movie, but I refrained because my Mommy told me not to be weird in public. Even the cobblestone streets were not annoying because they’re sanded down flat so it’s easy to manoeuver the bike and not hard on the feet when walking. Taxco be doin’ cobblestones right!

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    View of Taxco



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    The Picturesque City of Silver



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    Dome of the Santa Prisca de Taxco



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    Streets of Taxco



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    Buildings of Taxco



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    Statues of the Three Penitentes



    Aside from silver, there is another thing that is found all over the city – old Volkswagen Beetles. The Beetle was an instant hit when it was introduced in Mexico in 1954. It was so successful that Volkswagen opened a plant in the state of Puebla in 1964. After the era of the oil crisis; however, the popularity of the vehicle began to decline and the plant in Puebla produced its last Beetle in 2003. While not as many are seen in the capital, Taxco has Beetles in abundance. Perhaps it is because the compact car is well-suited to the topography of the city.

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    Beetles, Beetles, and more Beetles



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    City Plaza



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    View of the Santa Prisca de Taxco from a Rooftop Patio



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    View of the City from a Rooftop Patio



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    Fields of Marigold



    After spending most of the day in Taxco, the group decided to call it a day so we headed towards home. On the way back, one of the bikers ran into some trouble with his bike so the rest of the group pulled over and helped him. An hour later, the bike was resuscitated and we were on our way home again. It was a long and tiring ride back in the evening, and we fell asleep hard and fast that night.