Thursday, August 17, 2006

 

Xochimilco Part I -- The Boats

Time to catch up! I thought we had a full day today but in fact, the schedule changed, so I have time to blog. Back to last weekend...

On Sunday the 12th, my friend Debra and I took the subway to Xochimilco. It is south of the city, but still very much in the city. More on that in a minute...first, the subway. (I didn't take any photos, it didn't occur to me, really.) Each subway line is a different number and color and each stop has a cool graphic to go along with it. Here is the page for the subway and shows each line and each stop with corresponding graphic. We started at the pink line on Chapultepec and changed to blue at Pino Suarez, all the way to Tasquena. We then switched to another train line altogether to get to Xichimilco. It was warm and crowded and we had to stand a lot. But hey, I'm jealous of any city with an efficient, well-used subway system!

You know that there are plenty of people who work the subways in big cities. I've experienced mostly music oriented or begging oriented people. Here, it is quite different. People sell stuff. All kinds of stuff. Stuff you didn't think you needed. We saw people selling (in no particular order):
Gum
Fingernail clippers
Razors (not the scooters)
Music Mix CDs (I'm sure perfectly legal...)
Super glue
Band-aids
Sesame Street coloring books
Raincoats

All prices at either 5 or 10 pesos (50ยข or $1).

This is how people make a living. I'm not sure how, but they do.
The subway trip took about an hour and then we got to Xochimilco.

From Wikipedia (my additions in parentheses):
Canals with chinampa gardens (floating) were built by the Aztecs for agricultural purposes. This technique helped the Aztec Empire develop one of the most sophisticated societies of ancient America, and to build one of the largest cities in the world at that time: Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City).

The Xochimilco canals are now a popular tourist attraction whose shores are crowded with houses and docks. The canals are particularly popular on the weekends and during public holidays, when many Mexican families and tourists rent boats complete with musicians and food.


We had a great time. We had tried to rent a boat with a group of french tourists, but the boat operators wouldn't really have it. So we had our own boat. Later we realized that most blonde haired or at least clearly tourit types were all put in their own boats. We didn't mind after all, but clearly it is a very local thing to do, hire a boat, bring a big family or friends group and pic-nic on the water for a few hours. It would be such a blast to have all of our pals go.

Here are the visuals:


Here's me and Mary. She's always with us. On every corner.



Off we go! And it was Debra's birthday, so she was receiving birthday phone calls.


When you on the water, people in boats come up and sell you food and drinks and toys and what-have-you. Here is the drinks boat.


You can also get a Mariachi come next to you and play. And I mean RIGHT NEXT TO YOU. You pretty much want to pay them to go 100 yards away to play.


Here is a boat with a happy family having their pic-nic.


Here is a boat with tourists. Looks like they are having a *great* time -- click on the photo for a larger view. (Notice their driver/security/translator in back.)

The canals get full.

Cute kids!


And cute dog.


This looked like the best party of the day. With all the food, kids, mariachi and dancing couple. We had a great time on the canal.



But that was just the first part of the day, we had further adventures...

Comments:
The Boats are cool....sounds like a fun day...except the Mariachi photo....they look like they are going in.....a few too many Mariachi...."How many Mariachi are too many for these boast? We shall see"
 
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