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My host Jared, his girlfriend Diane, showed me a lovely time during my stay in Tula. That included going out to see the ruins of the old capital, walking around town, meeting their friends, eating copious amounts of delicious ice-cream and playing squash.

I’d arrived on the Tuesday, planned to have Wednesday as a rest day and then head out on the Thursday to arrive in Mexico City (DF) so I could register for my courses on the Friday. I was having a lovely time with them and Jared’s mum on the Thursday, so was persuaded to stay and avoid the unenviable hassle associated with riding into the second largest city in the world. There was an intercity bus that left every 30 minutes and so after an enjoyable day they took me to the bus station where I put my things in the storage area underneath and only took my camera, Kindle, iPod and GPS to the back seat of the bus to keep me entertained during the ride.

I arrived in DF in a downpour and was the last person off, I took my bike and bags from under the bus and the bus drove off to get ready to pick up other passengers. I organised all my bags and reached for my camera only to realise it wasn’t in my pocket. I searched through my bags, although there was no was no way it could have been there, before realising I’d left it on the back seat of the bus.

It was time to use my horrific Spanish and I asked official looking people where the bus was now. I got bounced forwards and backwards before finding the bus, which was parked and would soon be heading back to Tula. The official I was talking took me on to the bus and let me look around, but it was nowhere to be found. I pointed out how little sense that made because I was the last person off the bus, other than the driver. The driver was summoned over and he insisted that he saw nothing. The cleaner, the only other person to have gotten on the bus since then, came over and said that actually because the bus hadn’t been dirty he hadn’t actually moved anything. My eyes lit up as I attempted to point out with broken Spanish that that clearly wasn’t true, cos some rubbish that had been at the back seat when I got on, wasn’t there when I went back to look for my camera. Either my Spanish wasn’t understood, or they weren’t interested in the inconsistency, as he went off to go and clean other buses. I was told to wait for a while longer, but it lead to nothing, and eventually I went off to meet Alejandra, my Warmshowers host, who had been waiting for me in the terminal.

Ale is a pillar of the biking community in DF, and I was so grateful to be riding with her through the heavy rain that is a key element of rainy season here. Having worked as a bike messenger, she knew exactly how and where to go, and had an intriguing collection of hand signals aimed at not only other drivers, but also me when I couldn’t always hear her. I had to focus on paying attention so much that my ill-feeling towards the cleaner, who I think took my camera, vanished. We rode to the Monument of the Revolution as being the final Thursday of the month there was a group ride of about 1000 people who came out to brave the rain.

Being Mexico, we stopped in a park about halfway through the ride, where a band was waiting for us and played music so a bunch of the riders got on the makeshift stage and started dancing in spandex, some of them even kept their helmets on. It was a lovely introduction to DF, and a fun way to get to know Ale.

The next day, I headed to UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) to sign up for the classes. They have 8 levels (Basic 1-4, Intermediate 1-3 + Superior) and somehow with my horrific Spanish that I’d picked up riding along listening to bits of Pimsleur, Synergy Spanish and Michel Thomas meant that I was in Basico 3 for the six-week course up to the 14th of August when my parents came to visit me.

Dance lesson

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