Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hotter, visitors, and the bus

Well, back in DF I've been getting a little more busy with the teaching stuff and whatnot as well. It's finally getting warmer here so I can shed my sweaters and wear T-shirts during the day. Twice a week I have a pretty busy schedule and end up having to metro and pesero my way around the city quite a bit.

Basically, peseros are Mexico City's bus system and they do a surprisingly good job in my eyes of supplying the other 80 percent of Chilangos who don't own vehicles a way to get around. Let's get one thing straight, it's not Coast Mountain Bus Company. The "system" is totally ad-hoc it seems. There are no machines that check tickets, no definitive routes, and the busses are small, falling apart, have no leg room and lurch and drive like crazy weaving in and out of traffic with some 16 year old at the helm and his buddy from school swamping people in and out of the broken doors. They are also often customized with all manner of subwoofers, mini tvs, dingo balls, fur fringe, Holy Marys and Jesuses, family/girlfriend pictures etc... which makes them pretty cool I think. Usually the bus drivers play music and this can range from classic rock to rap to salsa to banda depending on taste. Despite all this I find people generally accommodating and not too put off by the hassles of bus life. This is not to say that people are greeting eachother with smiles and enjoying the experience. No one likes the bus. No one likes the metro anywhere really. And always, everything is moving too slow, but some people realize the probs that arise when you are either lugging some crazy black plastic bag full of clothing or trying to get across town with three toddlers and a baby and a crazy black plastic bag full of clothing and often help out by giving/making room or at least coping without freaking out and generally realizing that they might be in the same situation tomorrow. All that said, It can drain your nerves and often I end up falling asleep with my backpack in my lap if I'm lucky enough to get a seat. It's nice to have the hot weather back too, but it also makes the streets hotter and more oppressive.

Here's a snapshot of a more modest bi-level through Reforma in Polanco at rush hour. The only plus to this I can think of is that you can sometimes use traffic as an excuse for lateness. The minus is that it's more often than not true.

We've got another couple of friends visiting from out of town which is nice especially since the weather is being cooperative. The day they arrived we all drove out to Tepostlan and went on a gruelling hike up the mountain to a lookout where there are also some ruins and a small pyramid.

The town of Tepostlan.

HIgh eroded bluffs make the valley unique.

The hike was steep and by the time we all got back into town our legs felt like they were going to collapse especially since none of us had had a good nights sleep. The market in town was nice and we had lunch and then drove back into DF with time to spare but we just went back to sleep. We woke up the next day and they went off to Oaxaca, but they will be back later in the week.

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