Saturday, September 8, 2012


Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas, Mero Centro, D.F.
The adventures of the past decade have led me through much of North and most of South America. In the past year I decided that before crossing the ocean (again), I would first link the missing autohemispherical gap: Mesoamerica! So, over the past few months I've bucked up to pay off debts and save up in spite of Big Apple living costs. I found a flight to Mexico D.F. for $180 and one from Bogota to New York for $278. I then rounded up $1680 to last me 55 days (maximum average $30 per day) by land and boat through 8 countries. On the 2nd at 6:40 I departed from JFK with my co-traveler Glo Diaz. A brief layover in Phoenix and by 15:00 we were in modern Tenochtitlan, dividing everything by 12.5 (USD to MXN).

By divine intervention, close to a year ago, the great Sarah Hope introduced me to Cintia, a good friend she'd met during her time as a Chilanga. Cintia was a guest at my apartment for a weekend and went above and beyond returning the hospitality this week, sharing her lovely home and exceptional novio with Glo and I. On our first full day she offered me a translating gig at the Indian embassy, but the corporate atmosphere scared me off before the meeting even started. Instead, I met up with Glo and we walked across downtown twofold, from la Ribera to the edge of el Bosque, to the historic core and back. Standing beside the massive Zocalo raised my hairs, while bountiful signs of disparity enraged me to near tears. We took an elevator up to the top of Torre Latino (just before sunset) to watch the densely inhabited basin shift to night. Make sure you learn the days of the week in Spanish before reading on.

El martes we experienced our first ride on the extensive and extremely inexpensive subterranean phenomenon known as Sistema de Transporte Colectivo. If we had more time here I'd make an entire day of just hopping on and off at every station (on a 3 peso fare) and exploring the vast network of vendors and informative displays that exist down there. We rode Linea 3 to Coyoacan, to check out La Casa Azul de Frida Kalho, filled with her fascinating works and personal items. My favorites were the intricate little 'exvotos' and a comprehensive diagram of the stages of pregnancy she kept on her wall. We then traversed the verdantly cobbled path to San Angel. Our hosts, Pablo y Cintia, met us at Plaza Hidalgo for some coffee shop 'socialism' and we all made the nearly two ("rush") hour trek home via Metrobus, along the longest continuous urban avenue in the world: Insurgentes!

All of miercoles we spent en el Museo de Antropologia and we still didn't manage to see all the rooms, which carefully detail the innumerable prehispanic cultures of Mexico and the Americas. The Mayan 'codices' (preserved journals) and those 'xantiles' with the widest eyes and familiar bodily gestures intrigued me the most. On our walk home we passed by the Kabbalah Centre in Polanco and marveled at the boisterous crowd mingling out front. As always, I was too chicken to go inside.    
El jueves tomamos un camion (bus) from Terminal del Norte to see the ruins of ancient Teotihuacan and its two piramides, placed in mathematical relation and reverence to the two most influential celestial bodies. The one we revolve around and the one that revolves around us. In the evening we had a delicious pozole and one of the numerous quality local beers we've enjoyed without the cost of import. Otherwise, we've mostly been alimenting ourselves at delectable (supposed dogmeat) taco street stalls and devouring tlacoyos, chiles rellenos, chilaquiles, enchiladas, quesadillas, huaraches, you name it. All washed down with sangria soda, Boing!, and aguas frescas de guayaba, jamaica, y tamarindo. La Michoacana's endless ice cream flavors and out of this world flan for dessert. In reality we've been so busy walking, journaling, and jumping aboard half- moving microbuses that we've neglected nourishment for large swaths of each day.

El viernes fuimos a Xochimilco, an awesome gridwork of shallow canals [much like before the uncivilized (to say the least) Cortes arrived], along which colorful wooden rowboats take reveling passengers (mostly teenagers) around. These joyride boats are continuously and adoringly solicited by smaller vessels carrying lively Mariachi and Nortenio bands, floating Pulque labs, and more. This city has so many more enchantments (21+ million of the most genuine human beings) than we could ever witness in 5 days, but it's time to tend to the insatiable wanderlust and head on south. Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Huehuetenango, Xela, Atitlan, Antigua, San Salvador, Managua, Ometepe, and in San Jose (on the 28th) we shall intercept co-traveler #3, Big Spoon, a medic from California and good friend of mine. The three of us will cross from Panama to Colombia by boat and bus it between Cartagena, Santa Marta, Tayrona, Medellin, la Zona Cafetera, Huila and Bogota.

The next update will come from somewhere in Cental America. If there are people and places not far off the panamerican highway you can recommend, bien pueda! I'll post more pictures on something public soon. I'm not sure what to use yet. May this missive find you in good spirits. Xoxo, Gusberto Austerinero            


  1. Gil my friend! I neglected to view your wonderful blog for quite some time! I didn't realize you were traveling again! So glad to see you are back on the road. Wishing you safe and inspiring travels and to see your shining face upon your return to NYC. Hugs.

  2. I'm currently saving up some cash to do some traveling in Central and South America. I really enjoyed your post, it has me excited again. If your ever in Corpus Christi, I'll give you a free ride

  3. Wow, you have great change to travel a lot. I really learn something new from your post. Many Thanksfor that !


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