Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Canada & Mexico 2011

South to the sun

I woke up with my alarm and brewed a coffee using the machine in my hotel room, but there really wasn't much else to do. I had even taken the precaution of showering and shaving prior to going to bed, in order to save time in the morning. I checked out by telephone and went to join the rest of a sizeable group in the lobby that were waiting for the 0600 shuttle. It was reassuring to see that I certainly wasn't the only one who had dressed for sunnier climes. The transfer complete, I checked in at Air Canada's premium zone for my flight to Mexico City, passed through Security and walked to the gate area. However I completely failed in my attempts to locate an Air Canada lounge in the vicinity and instead simply took a seat in the spacious and near-deserted gate area. I should, of course, have asked about lounge facilities at check-in.

(Link to flight log in side panel)

After passing through the various arrival formalities, I had lunch at a branch of the Wings restaurant chain to help pass the time prior to Bruce's arrival. We managed to meet up relatively easily after the early arrival of his flight from LAX, although it took an exchange of text messages to settle some confusion over exactly which branch of Wings I was in. We were soon aboard a pre-paid taxi and fighting our way through some crazy Saturday afternoon traffic towards the Sheraton Maria Isabel.

A nice upgrade yielded a  junior suite that we were generally pleased with, except for the fact that it was far too warm. We were assured that it would quickly cool down. A member of staff who introduced himself as our butler arrived with some Champagne, orange juice and water, as well as an ice bucket for our own Veuve Clicquot.
ABOVE: Our first room was 1034, a Junior Suite. The under-performing air-conditioning unit is shown in the third picture.

At this point, we called an engineer to take a look at the air conditioning, but he pronounced it as fine without even examining it. We decided to go for a short walk in order to cool off a little and, as I usually put it, get a feel for the streets.

ABOVE: The Angel of Independence was right outside our front door
The Paseo de la Reforma, the major boulevard on which our hotel was situated, was lined with temporary stalls for some kind of international food festival. After a quick look in the direction of the Angel of Independence, which was basically on our doorstep, we headed across the Paseo and into the narrower streets of the Zona Rosa, a quarter with an interesting history.

The Zona Rosa streets are named after major European cities, harking back to the district's origins as a home to wealthy foreigners. After a period of decline, a resurgence from the fifties to the eighties gave the area a Bohemian character and gave rise to its current name, when artist José Luis Cuevas said that it was "too timid to be red, too frivolous to be white". A further period of serious decline followed, then came another upswing to its present incarnation as a shopping and entertainment district, as well its emergence as Mexico City's gay village.

We enjoyed our brief stroll through the bustling streets. It was my first time out walking in this very large city with its fair share of social problems, but in these surroundings I didn't feel any particular threat at all, beyond the need for normal common sense.  

Back at base, our room's temperature hadn't improved in any way. We set about drinking the Champagne, but also called Reception to ask to be moved. In due course, we were moved up a floor to a one-bedroom suite - theoretically a further upgrade, although the new accommodation had a less attractive layout than the original. It did, however, have two fully functioning air-conditioning units that between them managed to deliver a comfortable temperature, and this outweighed all other considerations.

As demanded by tradition, we had a room service dinner. We both fancied tortilla soup as a starter, then I had a tuna sandwich while Bruce had a club sandwich. It was a huge amount of food and we were unable to finish it.