sailing boat and St Michaels Mount, Penzance
sailing boat and St Michaels Mount, Penzance
  • New photos uploaded
    • 19/01/2012
beetle taxiboatingartfrom the air
  • Mexico Mayhem
    • 19/01/2012
Mexico City. The locals seem to refer to it as just "Mexico". It's massive. Flying in, i lost sight of countryside ages before the airport came into view. Its grown from a few hundred thousands in 1900 to being one of the biggest cities in the world, circa 20m people.
And with such fast expansion, its no surprise that infrastructure has had a hard time keeping up. For example, they are building a second deck on the main city freeway to double capacity. Everywhere is covered in half finished looking breezeblock apartments and houses. But in truth outward appearances aren't important. Neither is insulation. It's warm here, t-shirt weather, although the locals are currently complaining and wearing 5 layers.
I was encouraged to make the extra stop here to visit Naresh, a Mexico City native who i'd met on the greyhound to San Francisco back in October. He picked me up at the airport and treated me to some kamikaze style driving. Seriously, there appear to be no traffic rules or policing, it's a case of see some space - go for it, weaving in between lanes like a game of Outrun. Everyone is equally aggressive and anticipative, so it kinda works.
I can't believe there aren't a million accidents per day. At the stop lights, people wander amongst the cars selling food, cigarettes, cleaning windscreens, and then the lights change and the stock car racing starts again. Missed your turn? Reverse back into the middle of a four way crossroads.
Despite the huge population it doesn't seem overcrowded (although busy yes), and the majority of people seem happy. Obviously there is a huge range in wealth, some people asking for money, usually doing something for it, such as the pan pipe organ grinders (always out of tune) and i didn't see any homeless.
As in the Yucatan, every wall is painted with store names, adverts, graffiti, election posters, and everything just faces out into the street, no doors and windows just open shop fronts.
As well as the main government plaza, and the old cobbled street part of town, we went to a part of town still consisting of a network of canals rather than roads, as in the days of the Aztecs, when the whole area was lakes and islands and canals. Much of the modern city is now built on dried out lake bed, which is why some buildings are sinking several inches per year.
out on the waterways, the same theme persists as the overcrowded roads, as our barge is constantly buzzed about by other vessels carrying flower sellers, beer sellers, souvenier sellers, chefs cooking over woks, and whole bands of musicians and operatic singers. You'd call it a tourist trap but it seems more to be a locals weekend day out.
In the evening comes the highlight of my visit. Naresh's job is as a meditation guide, but it isn't just sitting still thinking of mountain tops.
His form of meditation is called AUM - which stands for acknowledge understand meditation??? and consists of expressing every human emotion, letting out the things we normally bottle up and thus releasing tension.
Around about 20 people were taking part - its a very interactive process, and the range of other participants gives you chance to find people who remind you of people you know and project onto them.
Starting off with ANGER - standing looking into another persons eyes and then screaming NO! I HATE YOU! and a continiuing stream of insults, threats, swearing and denouncements. Whilst they do the same back in your face.
then Forgiveness. again looking into a persons eyes, finding some emotion, saying "i forgive you" and then hugging.
There was a whole tutorial on hugging, getting the right amount of body contact, feeling each others breathing. This was quite awkward for me though as it meant pretty much doing the splits to get down to the same level as most of the other participants. (because mexicans are generally short.)
Then love. same thing, saying "i love you", which isn't something i generally do a lot either.
Then an interval of crazy free expressive dancing in the dark, which was fun.
Then crying, laughter, romantic dancing (yup!), some Kundalini breathing and shaking, and finally some "normal" meditation.
All of this was accompanied by appropriate mood music.
This all took three HOURS although it didn't seem that long at the time, and left me feeling pretty bouyant and refreshed. I thought about some things i wouldn't normally. And did a lot of expressive things that i don't normally. But in that environment where everyone else was doing the same it felt safe and accepting.
After this, although it was midnight, we went out for some tacos, and THEN although by now the euphoria had relented towards exhaustion, Naresh too me to a "secret" underground nightclub where you had to knock on a door and get padded down to get in and the music didn't start until 2am. By 4am i was dozing on a sofa despite the loud music and by 5am Naresh called it a night although he probably would have kept dancing until next week.
And then all too quickly it was noon and i had a flight to Los Angeles to catch.
  • New photos uploaded
    • 19/01/2012
cenoteChichen Itzadive boatbeach
  • playa time!
    • 13/01/2012
So I've now done six scuba dives in the warm Caribbean, seeing coral and lots of colourful fish. No turtles or sharks which was disappointment as they are in the area, but none the less its been amazing. and now I can go dive anywhere else in the world yay!

Today I took a tour to chichen itza, a mayans city ruins site with a giant pyramid and ball game stadium. It was impressive! But it does only date from about the 10th century. And boy oh boy was it hot inland in the jungle!
Today I also paid for the hostel and bought a bus ticket for tomorrow speaking in Spanish - not that I can really understand what people are saying in reply!

Tomorrow I fly to Mexico city to see Naresh who I met in san Francisco, and then on Sunday its onwards to Los Angeles to catch the loooong flight to the cook islands...
  • and now i'm in Mexico!
    • 07/01/2012
yes i'm in Mexico and i haven't been mugged, kidnapped or stabbed yet, sorry to disappoint! It doesn't really seem like that sort of vibe here with miles of beaches and holiday makers from both north and south america.

Today i've spend most of the day reading textbooks and watching videos in preparation for the PADI Open Water Scuba Diver course which i start for real tomorrow. in the swimming pool!
But hopefully in a couple of days i'll be able to get out to some reefs and see lots of awesome underwater stuff. and again in the Cooks, Oz, Fiji etc.

The sea is so warm! It's another new one for me, the Caribbean, and although the air temperature isn't much higher than California, the pacific was FREEZING and this is very pleasant.

I'm frantically listening to my "Learn Spanish with Michel Thomas" audiobooks, but even if i can blurt out a phrase i have no idea what anyone is saying back to me, so i'm resorting to a lot of "lo siento, no hablo espanol, hable inglese?

I would like to come back and visit central america as a whole properly at some point, which could then involve one of those intensive immersive language school / home stay things. But the airport, hostel and scuba staff all speak english so it's no biggee, just some awkward shrugging in the supermarket.

The hostel costs 130 Pesos per night, which is about $10, or 7GBP. yay!

The flight down from Phoenix was delayed by a couple of hours due to some electrical fault, everyone was sitting on the plane when they announced there was a small issue and they were going to try turning it off and turning it back on again. LOL for cliched technical solutions. But that didn't work, so i guess the plane must be running Windows 95 or something. So we all had de-plane, walk across to the other side of the terminal, and get on a new plane that they found lying around in some hanger.

It was nice to arrive in a country where i wasn't interrogated coming through customs, the girl just gave me an amused grin comparing my passport photo (with shaved head) to current luxurient mane.

Something else funny in the airport customs, it's like a game show to see if you get your bag searched - (after the x-ray machine) you hit a buzzer and it will either light up green (ok you can pass) or red (you'll be emptying every item out of your luggage).
Maybe they SHOULD make it into a game show, "what's in YOUR luggage?" i'm sure some people carry ridiculous things around


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