Our Travel Blog
On Friday we stayed at the home of our host, Ivan talked about his journeys, we watched DVD's and Karen slept off a cold which she caught probably in the air conditioned bus on the way to Mexico City. We also learned that the operations of the Air Madrid flight company were suspended on December 15th, leaving more than 330 000 passengers stranded in Latin America and Spain. Of course, this was the airline company with which we had our ticket to fly to Madrid from Buenos Aires in March 2007. Lucky for us, we have a good chance of eventually getting the cost of the tickets reimbursed.
December 23rd was cool and windy in Mexico City. We visited a cathedral and the National's palace in the Zócalo. The National's palace contained some interesting murals on the walls and was the site of some military soldiers band practice.
We were invited to spend Christmas with Ana's large, Mexican family in Cuernavaca, a city one hour away in the south west of the capital. Ana is Al's girlfriend. She has 3 brothers and 2 sisters. Hence there were many adults and children celebrating together. On Christmas eve, the Mexican Catholic tradition is to have a posada celebration to pay homage to the journey which Mary and Joseph made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of shelter. It is celebrated every evening from December 16th to the 24th. "Posada" means lodging or shelter in Spanish. The family divided into two groups. One half remained outside of the house and sang a song to beg for shelter from the other half, which was inside the house. The group inside the house replied also with a song directed to the song outside. The celebration traditionally ends with breaking the piñata, but this family chose to save the piñata for a later day. The piñata is normally shaped like a star to represent the one which guided the three kings from Persia to the newborn Jesus, each of its five points representing one of the sins to be destroyed.
On the 25th of December Ana's brother, Julio, and his family, took us into Cuernavaca to show us around the town. Cuernavaca is popular because of the moderate temperatures all year round. We stayed overnight with Julio and his family at their home in Mexico City. The next morning they took us to Xochimilco which is located just south of Mexico City. Xochimilco is known for its series of canals, hundreds of kilometers long, now declared world heritage site, which are the remains of the ancient Lake Xochimilco. These canals were actually the main means of transportation to the Aztec capital. On the weekends the canals are covered with venician style boats rented by tourists and mexican families. Some of the boats sell food just like vendors on the street, the only difference being that they have to chase your boat in order to reach you. Other boats offer Mariachis for hire, which were originally Mexican street musicians, at $7 USD per song.
We were taken back to Cuernavaca for lunch with the remaining members of Ana's family - namely her mother "Guadalupe". Karen had a dish called Pozole which is a traditional pre-Columbian soup made from chicken (can also be made with other meat) and corn which is treated with lime to remove the hard outer hull and then boiled again until it looks like popped corn in water. The soup or stew is garnished with avocado, onions and tomatoes and other seasonings as desired. Ivan had a variation of pozole with frijoles (beans) instead of meat. We then went back to Mexico City to Al and Ana's apartment to pick up our backpacks and headed out to our next hospitalityclub.org host named "Jacobo" in another part of the city.
You can have a look to our pictures here...
We hope that you are having a good time for this end of the civil year !! Have a thought for us in this period !
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Mexico City, Part 2 and Cuernavaca
Luminous "Merry Christmas" at the Zócalo square of Mexico City.

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