Today we went to Xochimilco (pronounced so-she-mil-ko). Getting there was a feat in itself. First a bus to the nearest subway station at the north of the city. Then we took the subway to the opposite end of the line at the south of the city. Then another little train to Xochimilco. A two-hour trip in all.
Xochimilco is a little suburb on the south side of Mexico City. It is an interesting place of narrow streets filled with hundreds of tiny stores and hundreds more of street vendors selling their wares on the sidewalk. Often the sidewalk is so full of people selling things that it is difficult to walk by.
Also in Xochimilco is a series of waterways where little boats travel between the many little islands. We went for a boat ride and even though the water is polluted, there was no odour and the ride was nice. The boats are propelled by a man with a long pole, much like the gondolas in Venice. There was a boat with some musicians on it that will play a song on an instrument called a marimba for a small fee. It is like a large wooden xylophone.
Even on the boat it was impossible to escape the vendors. Little boats would pass by with people cooking food on them and trying to sell it.
We saw a Great Egret and some other nice birds from the boat.
There were a great number of tour boats available, but few tourists. Apparently a lot of people from the city come here on the weekends.
Back in the town, we went for a walk around some of the streets. Vendors were selling everything you could think of including all kinds of food and even live animals. Mandarin oranges were even cheaper here than from the street vendors in the city. They were selling for three kilos for ten pesos (82 cents).
I was very sad to see people selling wild birds. I saw Cardinals, Rufous-backed Robins, Mockingbirds and Thrashers in little cages. These are wild birds and do not make good pets. They probably will not live very long. If they do live, they will lead sad and lonely lives. I wish I could have bought them all and set them free.
Selling wild birds is illegal here but so is selling pirated movies and going through a red light. Even though these things are illegal, they are done openly and no one enforces the laws. Just because something is illegal does not make it a problem here. I was very upset about the wild birds being sold as pets.
Xochimilco is an interesting place and worth a visit but two hours each way on the buses and trains took a lot of the fun out of it.
After having the flu for a week and then having some stomach problems, I am finally feeling well again. However, I am worried about getting sick again. There seems to be a large number of sick people here. Today I saw many people wearing masks over their mouth. Laura still has a cough.
The Canadian dollar today reached a value of $1.013 compared to the USA dollar.