So today is the day I’ve worried the most about. I’ll be heading into Mexico City. This is the largest city in the world, with a huge smog and traffic problem, and I don’t have any accommodations set up because I had no internet access last night.
The first plan of action though is to maybe see another Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, and on the way into Mex
ico City I’ll be passing through Toluca where the Cosmovitral Gardens are; a must see.
The mountain roads don’t disappoint, but I soon realise that all these twist and turns are eating up time. When I stop for lunch at a seafood shop called Lobito’s (Little Wolf’s) for an incredible serving of tomato broth soup with HUGE shrimp, I start to worry about whether I’ll make Mexico City before nightfall. I don’t want to even think about driving around blindly looking for a hotel after dark.
So, I skip the 2 other butterfly sanctuaries (one I rode right past too!), and head to Toluca. The Cosmovitral is a huge indoor garden, but instead of a regular glass rough it is entirely encased with stained glass. This casts interesting lighting effects on the plants, and makes the entire place a riot of colours. It is beautiful inside, and next to Las Pozas, is my favourite garden so far.
But enough of that, it’s time to tackle Mexico City as it is past 4pm, and I still have quite a ride to get there.
The mountain roads turn to highways, and soon I feel like I’m driving down the Don Valley Parkway, with less rules. Then suddenly a big BMW GS blasts past me, tooting his horn and waving. Then another, and another, and a fourth, all with Mexican plates. I’m already doing 120 flowing with the traffic, but these guys are weaving through everything well beyond 140. I try to stay with them, thinking if I can chat with them, they might know a good hotel to park the bike in that’s safe and not too expensive. But before I know it they’ve disappeared ahead of me despite my efforts to squeeze between cars. Oh well.
Then I come to a toll gate. As I’m paying I see them parked off to the side beyond the gate.
They wave me over and introductions ensue. They all speak English, and are very enthusiastic when I tell them of my trip. One of the guys (Juan Luis) says that a friend is having a dinner party and asks if I’d like to come. I’m honoured, and away we go (as I high speed wobble a few times trying to stay with them into Mexico City proper).
We arrive at a beautiful condo, park the bikes, and before I know it we’re sharing stories over paella and drinks. The celebration is because one of the family members is announcing his first child is due, and many toasts are made. Then, they change their focus to finding me a place to stay, after I turn down the offer to stay right there for the night. Before long a hotel has been found, paid for online, and 2 of the group (JL and Santiago) offer to escort me down to the hotel to make sure everything is okay.
I’m sitting on a balcony at the Imperial Hotel in downtown Mexico City, with the bike secured in underground parking, for less than $70/night. I think I’ll extend my stay to 3 days.
Isn’t it funny how things sometimes just work out?