Those of you who know me well will know I have always been an early riser, I am much more of a lark than an owl. I take great pride in the multiple things I can achieve as my inbuilt alarm clock affectionately lullabies me awake each morning. Having said that, add a journey of 24 hours and a 6 hour time difference into the mix and that said alarm clock feels as though it’s screeching right through you.
My mum reassured me the screaming that pierced my ears during the night had been an exotic bird, not the woman getting brutally murdered in my street as I had initially imagined, phew! As the morning sun trickled through the sky light of Casa Azul, I plucked up the courage to find us coffee and fuel. I can’t get to grips with the peso situation, my mind just isn’t wired up in a mathematical way. I let out a huge giggle as I teeter nimbly back to the flat, avoiding eye contact with any of the locals. (Just incase it wasn’t a bird and it’s my time to get murdered). As I make some toasties for breakfast, mum confirms my big shopping bag from 7eleven, coffees included has cost me £2.90. I burst out laughing, I love it here!
Since we are up, fed and watered we set of early. We are heading downtown to Zócalo which is set within the Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México district. A central square lined by palace walls and a great cathedral. The perfect place to see the artistic ofrendas set up as part of dia de los muertos celebrations. With no map and no internet connection we are destined to get lost. We soon realise that in fact none of us have any idea where we are going and absolutely no one understands our English pleas for help. A pit stop and a chat with an incredibly well mannered and perfectly spoken woman and we are back on track. We hop on a local autobùs and eventually make our way to the centre.
I am looking for Diego, my research tells me he has two murals within walking distance and a museum close by. We easily find the first, only to be stopped at the entrance by armed guards, unless we have photographic ID then we cannot enter the royal building. Unofficial guides circle the area, preying on confused and frustrated tourists (like us) explaining they can gain us entry for a considerable fee. We don’t bite and undeterred we set off to find Diego number two. The further we walk away from zocalo the more we realise we may be in unchartered waters. Suspicious looks and whisperings tells me this isn’t the right direction. The poverty of downtown is a shock realisation of another world I have never inhabited when visiting the USA or Europe. The destruction of the recent earthquake is visible and heart wrenching. We give in to exhaustion and head back to a small bar we had refreshed in earlier. I’m frustrated and angered that I had taken the girls on a wild goose chase to find Mr Rivera and in the end we never seen anything at all. As we climb into our Uber, we catch a glimpse of the street sign, Guadalupe, the street we had been looking for all along, right there where we had drinks and food a time before.
Long live the VEF and get yourself a map Queen!