Getting to School and Class Work
Ginita and I had decided we would go to the Castle of Chapultepec in the afternoon after school. We had been to the park before but didn’t get to see the castle. We ate breakfast. I had my usual corn flakes and tea and then we walked to Walmart to get a taxi. We pretty much knew that it cost about 70 pesos to get to the school. The taxi driver was pretty good and we were smarter by this time. We asked to be let off across the street from the school, instead of having them go around the corner to let us off in front of the school which of course added quite a bit more to the cost. We crossed the street and were about 20 minutes early. We spent some time talking to a gentleman from Arizona. He was an interesting character and enjoyed taking Spanish classes. I went ahead to my class to look over my notes.
One of the students, the young lady from Australia decided to move down a level so now there were only five in the class. I do think it was difficult for the teacher because we were only taking the class for a week and there wasn’t any book to go by and he had to figure out what we knew and what we didn’t know. Each person has different language abilities – some can converse easily or write fluently, while others know the grammar, and still others can understand what is spoken. The test that we took at the beginning was only about grammar and didn’t test for comprehension or oral ability. Being a teacher myself, I can empathize with the problems of teaching a class such as ours. All in all, I think I learned quite a bit and I believe that the teacher did a good job under sometimes adverse conditions.
Lunch and the Castle
Kathy told me earlier that she and her friend, Larissa were going back to Zocalo to see the the National Palace and Diego Rivera’s murals. We had had enough of Zocalo the day before consequently, Ginita and I had made up our minds to go to see the Chapultepec Castle. We caught a taxi in front of the school and had the driver take us to the Tamil Museum as our hostess had told us about a good restaurant that was adjacent to the museum. We had an interesting conversation with the taxi driver telling him that we needed a driver at 5am to take us to the airport. He, at first, said he would be able to do it but then said his son would be getting off at 6am and it would be better if he did it. He gave us his name and number and seemed certain that his son would be able to help us out. I said we would call the day before. It looked like the problem of our ride at 5am to the airport was solved.
We were dropped off near the museum and walked until we saw it. Next to the museum was the restaurant. We took a look at the menu and it looked good and so did the restaurant.
I ordered ceviche (a fish dish where the fish is cooked in lime juice) and grilled vegetables. It was one of the best meals I had in Mexico. The ambiance was pleasant and the service was excellent. It was nice to relax and not worry about where we had to be. We finished lunch and asked directions to the castle.
Walking to the Chapultepec Castle
We had a nice jaunt through the woods. We passed through all the venders and continued walking. We had to cross a main street and soon arrived at the gate of the castle. Using our age and getting in for free, we began walking up the long path. It was a beautiful walk with some spectacular views of the city.
The site of the hill was a sacred place for the Aztecs and the buildings on top of it have served several purposes – military academy, Imperial residence, Presidential home, observatory and presently, National Museum of History. It is the only “royal” castle in North America and was actually used as a residence of a sovereign – the Mexican Emperor, Maximilian 1.
Almost, as we reached the castle, there was a side path and a modern looking building. It was about to close but we did walk around to look at the city views. The cactus growing on the other side of the building were very unusual.
We continued walking and saw a big square with a Mexican flag and walked into the first door. The walls were covered in murals by Siqueiros, O’Gorman and Orozco.
We strolled through the various rooms which detailed important parts of Mexican history such as independence and the Mexican Revolution. I really enjoyed going out on the balconies and taking photos of the city views.
There is a beautiful park behind the castle and we strolled around and enjoyed the pleasant atmosphere.
We began our walk back down the hill until we came to the huge memorial called the monument to the “Boy Heroes” . Unfortunately, with the lens I had, it was difficult to get the whole picture. The monument recognizes the heroic efforts of nine cadets who tried to defend the Chapultepec Castle from the U.S. troops during the Mexico-America War.
We found a taxi and of course had to pay an extra charge because they picked us up at a tourist attraction. We were lucky, with no rain in sight, had the driver let us out at Walmart. Thank goodness, Walmart was close to where we lived. We were able to pick up water and any number of little things we needed throughout the week. One afternoon we bought pastries and rolls to eat for dinner and breakfast. It was a nice change from the usual fare we were given.
It was good to be back a bit early and have some time to work on my blog. Kathy, Ginita and I had talked about going out to dinner our last night. I was looking forward to Friday and was determined to get a good night’s sleep. I did spend some time looking for a good restaurant in Norte Roma which was not far from the school. After many choices, I finally found a unique restaurant and hoped it would meet expectations. One thing about Mexico City – it has recently become a gastronomical epicenter for new and creative dishes fused with the old and the new. It is the latest mecca for “foodies” and I am sure lives up to its up and coming culinary reputation.