Walking to Alameda Central Park
We had a leisurely breakfast in the hotel restaurant, C’est La Vie. The food was good! We decided to go to Alameda Central Park which was about 5 blocks from the hotel. It was overcast but humid and warm. The clouds kept it from being too hot. It was nice to get out and walk along the city streets. On Sundays, they close off some of the main streets and many people enjoy riding their bikes. There were lots of traffic police to help direct the people, cars and bicyclists.
At the Park
We finally arrived at the park. There were many people selling all kinds of things. It was a bustling location. We also saw a huge line of people waiting to adopt a dog. The dogs were all in crates waiting for an owner. I never saw a city with so many dogs on leashes and most were very well groomed. I was amazed at how many people had pit bulls.
We walked on through the masses of people and found the cement walkway through the park. There were many fountains and sculptures. It wasn’t very crowded as most people seemed to be on the outskirts of the park instead of in the park.
We walked around the park and then headed back to the hotel. Here are a few sights we saw along the way:
Arriving at the Homestay
We arrived back in time to check out at 12:30. From the Meridien, we took a taxi to our homestay house – it was actually a condo. We were supposed to arrive earlier so she was a bit upset. The hostess is a lady probably in her late 40s. I guess she was married at one time. I was rather disappointed as the rooms were very small and very little room to put anything. I had a lot more things than Ginita so I took the room with half a closet. Hardly any furniture besides a bed. I am writing this on my computer which is sitting on a sewing machine. No real dressers but a tiny wicker bedside furniture with three basket shelves. I could use two of them. It really didn’t seem like she was expecting us. Anyway, she explained about the bathroom – saving the cold water in the shower etc., the meals ( we are suppose to have two meals provided – breakfast and dinner.) We eat lunch out. We talked about how to get to the school. Two blocks away is a taxi stand and we can get a taxi from there to the language school each morning. For five days taking a taxi is probably the most convenient. She gave us the keys – Ginita is going to be the key keeper.
Coyoacon – Parks, Craft Stalls and People Watching
We wanted to go to Coyoacan area which was actually not too far from our Spanish language school so the hostess called a taxi for us and it soon arrived. I thought Coyoacon was a Sunday Market but it was actually a place with craft stalls, big park, cobblestone streets, Franciscan church, lots of shops and eating places. We had a good time just walking around and people watching. There was a clown who was performing with those stretchy balloons. You wouldn’t believe the crowds of people sitting there and watching. It was very crowded. We saw a bakery shop and it was rather unusual – tons of pastries, cakes, doughnuts on shelves. Then you get a tray and pick out what you want. I think you take the tray to someone and she gives you a bill which you take to a cashier on the way out. We didn’t choose anything. What will power we had! The breads and pastries are wonderful and so many different kinds to choose from. After walking through all the craft and souvenir stalls, we found a cafe. I had a cappuccino with soy milk and Ginita had a strawberry and vanilla tea. It was a good pick-me-up! While we were there our friend, Kathy called and we planned to meet her later.
We meandered around a bit more and then took a taxi to go to the school where Kathy was staying. I guess she had gone out before we arrived so we waited about a half hour for her a another student she met. Kathy took us up to see her room. No elevator and it is five flights up. Thank goodness she had help carrying her luggage. Kathy had a huge room but the other student who was a Russian from Toronto had such a tiny room it looked more like a closet. They had a kitchen and a general living room for all the students staying there. After looking around we decided to go for a walk and see the park which is more or less behind the school. There were tons of little cafes and bistros and the park was very nice.
It was getting late so Ginita and I had to find a taxi to get back before dinner time. You don’t hail a taxi from the street. You have to find a taxi stand to get a taxi. It can be a pain walking all over trying to find the taxi stand. We finally found one and said good by to Kathy and her friend. We had the taxi take us back to Walmart. We did some shopping. Both of us bought a cup for tea or coffee as the hostess did not want us to put her cup in the microwave. She provided us a plastic one to use. We bought a plastic cup to use in the bathroom and I bought a wash cloth. They had an ATM and I changed some money. I brought dollars with me but we haven’t found any places that change dollars into pesos – “casas de cambio”. Ginita bought a huge jug of water to use in the house. I read that you should use bottled water for everything – even brushing your teeth. We were really tired by the time we got back.
We had dinner at 7:30pm. It was actually pretty good. We had carrot soup, and chayote (I think it is a kind of squash) with mushrooms on it and tomatoes and lettuce. It was just enough! Tomorrow was our first day at the Spanish Language School!