Showing posts from November, 2008

An open letter to Mexico City

Dear Ciudad de Mexico: Don't get me wrong. I think you're wonderful. A bewildering, bewitching, gargantuan kaleidoscope, almost incomprehensibly huge and diverse. Click! Cathedrals, plazas, and cobblestoned streets worthy of a European capital. Click! Grimy and teeming seas of concrete buildings from which bundles of rebar sprout waiting for new storeys that will never be built, full of hard-eyed men and women hustling beneath incredible spaghetti tangles of improvised electrical wiring. Click! A magnificent boulevard lined with statues, luxury shops, and gleaming skyscrapers is blocked by hundreds of indigenous protestors, some stark naked, most wearing placards adorned with the face of their oppressor as loincloths. Click! A 7-11 cheek by jowl with a pre-Aztec ruin. Click! A warehouse-sized building full of dozens of food stalls surrounding crowded cafeteria-style benches, redolent with meat and spices and chilis and cerveza, resounding with conversation and sizzling foo

How to travel between Central American countries

The efficient way: Embark at Airport A. Take off. Marvel at the earth from above. Land. Disembark at Airport B. The simple way, as exemplified by my border crossings into Nicaragua and Honduras: Go to busy bus terminal in seething city very early in the morning. Wait. Check in. Wait. Hand over checked luggage. Wait. Produce ticket. Wait. Board. Sit on comfy bus, high above the road, watching the verdant hills that surround the Interamericano highway. Hand your passport and US$8 to the bus conductor. Disembark at MIGRACION post. Run gauntlet of moneychangers. Change money. Stand around for awhile. Get your checked luggage out. Stand around for awhile. Queue. Wave luggage past customs guy. Stand around for awhile. Return luggage to under-bus compartment. Re-board. Listen to your iPod. (Reading is out of the question as the road is unstable and you'll get a headache within minutes.) Watch world go by, or the onboard movie. If you are unlucky, it will be VANTAGE POINT three times in a