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Lietuviskas aprasymas zemiau

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Day 13: 13

February 20, 2006

Whoever came up with the "Friday the 13th rule" was only wrong in one aspect: it does not necessarily have to be Friday. The same "standards" can easily be applied to the 13th day of your Pan-American trip.

To start with, today is the last day of our car liability insurance, which is strictly obligatory for driving in Mexico, therefore the very first task of the day is to find GNP or another insurance company that could extend or renew our policy. AMA (Asociacion Mexicana Automovilistica) is just a couple of blocs from our hotel, so we decide to try our luck there. Our insurance in the US was issued by AAA, and AMA claims to be a partner of AAA, so, logically thinking, they should be able to provide the same type of service.

Getting there was not that fast and easy as it appeared on the map: one-way streets, no U-turn intersections, hardly visible street names and crazy morning traffic extended the 3-mile distance into an hour drive. Finding parking wasn't any easier. Regardless the obstacles, we are finally in the AMA office… just to find out that they DO NOT do car insurance! Ironically enough, they are planning to introduce this type of service in March 2006 :)

We stay in the AMA office till 1PM while the very cooperative Xitlally is trying to do everything she can to help us out. In short, GNP is the most reputable and most reliable insurance company in Mexico but they do not sell traveler's car insurance inside Mexico (only at the international borders or abroad, through designated agents like AAA). Xitlally called minimum 5 other companies but did not even manage to get a quote! All of them would either refuse straight away or promise to call back with a quote… tomorrow :) In other words, nobody wants to deal with such a small thing as a 10-day tourist's car insurance.
Summing up, we have wasted half of our day, half of Xitlally's work day, missed the Teotihuacan Pyramids which had been scheduled for the morning (the only Aztec ruins on our way) and our insurance still expires tonight.
Oh well… at least we had a nice chat with Xitlally about the U2 concerts she had recently gone to. The crazy girl had been saving money for all three U2 concerts in Mexico (the price of one ticket even in Mexico is around USD 200!), and then she and her friends "camped" for 4 days next to the ticket office to get the tix!! Hope Bono knows what his fans are going through to get to his concerts… :)

Well, fine! The most important thing for which we drove into the center of Mexico City was none of the above anyway. The Museum of Frida Kahlo: the actual lifelong residence of the celebrated Mexican surrealist painter, still containing her bed, wheelchair, paintbrushes, unfinished paintings and some of the surrealistic self-portraits was our major destination in the Federal District, and therefore we decided it was time to go and find it before they close. Another 2 hours to drive the 6-mile stretch from the downtown to Coyoacan…. We fell in love with the Mexico City traffic :)

So we finally get there, and what a change! Some 40 years ago, Cayoacan was a separate town until it got swallowed by the expanding Mexico City. Even today, the neighborhood is so very different from the remaining metropolis: no chaos, no noise, no rush, no smog, no wild taxis or crazy policemen blowing their whistles at every intersection (and giving signals opposite to those of the traffic lights!!). Instead, your exhausted soul gets a bowl of chicken soup in form of narrow streets lined with bright-colored buildings, ice-cream stands, coffee shops, charming little bookstores, two petite parks and dozens of cafes full of relaxed people. What a treat after the day we've been having so far.

Not enough time to enjoy the bohemian air: gotta rush to the museum before they close, to find out that THEY ARE CLOSED ON MONDAYS!! :) Diego Rivera museum that is nearby is also closed for renovation :) Here is the link for those who do not know Frida and Diego.

An impromptu idea to stay here until tomorrow gets shot down before it even starts being developed: one of us remembers that tomorrow is Tuesday, which means that our Nissan falls under the "Day Without Car" program restrictions. (Due to heavy air pollution throughout the Federal District, driving is prohibited on certain weekdays depending on the last digit of your license plate. No exemptions for plates of foreign origin. Scroll down for complete info). Would it be any other place, we'd just park and use public transportation, but Mexico City…. EVERY person we talked to emphasized that the Federal District is the only extremely dangerous place in the entire country, so you probably don't want to park and leave your car on the street for the entire day. Even if the car did not get stolen, on Wednesday we'd be driving without insurance in a city of 10 million crazy drivers…. To hell with Mexico City, we'll just try to get out of here before anything else 13-ish happens!

Tip #1: Driving in Mexico City can turn into a real ordeal, especially if you are not familiar with the area. It would be much faster and cost you less nerve cells to park and use the subway or any other means of public transportation. Parking, however, should be very carefully chosen: in Mexico City it is NOT SAFE to leave your car on the street for an extended period of time.

Tip #2: "Day Without Car" ("Hoy No Circula") program. In an effort to reduce air pollution, all vehicles, including those carrying foreign license plates, are subject to hefty fines for the violation of "driving restrictions" rule. Vehicles may not be driven on certain weekdays based on the last digit of the license plate:
Monday: 5 and 6
Tuesday: 7 and 8
Wednesday: 3 and 4
Thursday: 1 and 2
Friday: 9 and 0.
No restrictions apply from 11PM to 5AM and on Saturdays & Sundays.
For most current info, visit www.sima.org.mx

Recommendation: If you are in Mexico City, don't miss Cayoacan. Can't recommend Frida Kahlo Museum - only got to see the entrance of it :((( But we have a feeling it would have been something to remember…

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A corny afternoon in Cayoacan...


Meile is pirmo grudo...

It's very reassuring to know that behind these closed doors there is the house of Frida Kahlo, which still contains her bed, wheelchair, paintbrushes, unfinished paintings and some of the surrealistic self-portraits!

Frida's house

Kokia paguoda zinoti, kad uz siu duru yra Fridos Kahlo namas, jos kambarys, lova, indai, teptukai ir neuzbaigti paveikslai!

Good to know there is only one 13th day in a trip!

the 13th

Gerai, kad 13-ta diena buna tik karta per kelione!

Every one in Mexico City knows that "the ice-cream shop on the corner of the central park in Cayoacan has the best ice-cream in Mexico City". (Good luck searching, we are not sure if we got the right one - there were 4 corners and 4 ice-cream shops... :))


Kiekvienas Meksiko gyventojas zino, kad geriausi ledai Meksike yra "ledaineje ant Coyoacan'o centrines aikstes kampo". Sekmes bandant laime: kampai yra 4, ir ant kiekvieno - po ledaine :)

Puebla at nigh


Naktines Pueblos vaizdelis

Frida says "hi!"


Frida sako "labas!"

Nuvesk pelyte virs paveiksliuko, spustelk jos kaire ausele, ir paveiksliukas padides

13-oji diena: 13

2006 m. vasario 20

Nors ir ne penktadienis, velnio tuzinas pasitvirtina visom prasmem. Visu pirma, siandien baigiasi musu masinos draudimas - "siek tiek" apsiskaiciavom, nusipirkdami draudima 12-kai dienu (patarimas: zemelapyje Meksika atrodo mazesne, negu yra is tikruju :) "Leti" keliai gali neplanuotai pratesti vizito trukme) Masinos draudimas Meksikoje - grieztai privalomas, todel rizikuoti nenorim. Rytas sostineje prasideda nuo GNP (musu Nissano draudimo kompanija) arba alternatyvos paiesku. Bingo! Nesunkiai randam AMA (Meksikos Automobiliu Asociacija), kuri tikrai mums turetu padeti. (JAV ekvivalentas AAA dare musu 12kos dienu draudima, o AAA ir AMA - graziai bendradarbiauja). Dziaugemes neilgai. Pati AMA tokiu draudimu nedaro (likimo ironija - nuo kovo prades daryti!). Paslaugioji darbuotoja Xitlally (tarti "Sitlali") apskambina visas pagrindines draudimo kompanijas Meksike - nei viena nenori pratesti mums draudimo. Problema tame, kad turistu draudimais uzsiima tik specialus agentai pasienyje arba atstovybes uzsienyje… AMA prasedim puse dienos vien tam, kad suzinotumem, jog draudimo mums niekas neprates.

Paguoda nors tokia, kad Xitlally pripasakoja daug idomybiu apie Meksiko miesta, pataria, ka butinai reiktu pamatyti, kur buti atsargiems, o kur geriau visai nekisti nosies - tam tikros Meksiko vietos arba netgi istisi rajonai (vietiniu vadinami "ciudades perdidos" - "prarastieji miestai") yra labai pavojingi tiek diena, tiek nakti. Xitlally taip pat papasakoja kaip pries savaite keturias dienas "stovejo" eilej prie bilietu I U2 koncerta (su draugais 4 paras gyveno palapinej prie bilietu kasos, o pries tai metus taupe pinigus I visus 3 Meksikoje ka tik ivykusius U2 koncertus (pigiausio bilieto kaina - $200). Reikia pripazinti, kad JAV buvo ta pati situacija - bilietus kazkas-kazkur-kazkam ispardave jau pries puse metu. Gaila, nezinojom, kur ir kada reikejo statytis palapine… Reikia tiketis, kad Bono bent jau zino, ka del jo zmones visame pasaulyje pasiruose padaryti!

Ka gi, 13-toji diena dar tik ipusejo. Spjaunam I draudima (jeigu sustabdys, pasiulysim policininkams pabandyti padeti mums apsidrausti) ir skubam ieskoti Fridos Kahlo muziejaus - tik del jo ir lindom I miesto centra. Eismas Meksiko centre - tragiskas. Taisykliu niekas nesilaiko, sviesoforu dazniausiai nepaiso, visi vaziuoja uzspaude garso signala, taksistai sukelineja viena avarine situacija po kitos, ir prie viso sito dar beveik kiekvienoj sankryzoj pastatytas policininkas, kuris be perstojo svilpia svilpuka ir duoda sviesoforui priesingus nurodymus. Gatviu pavadinimai nebutinai sutampa su zemelapiu. Klaidziojam gal 2+ valandos, kol pagaliau susirandam Fridos muzieju, kuris… pirmadieniais uzdarytas!! Netoliese esantis Diego Riveros muziejus uzdarytas taip pat, nes restauruojamas :)
Nuosirdus patarimas butu po Meksiko miesta su savo transportu nevazineti. Metro ir greiciau, ir maziau nervu. Taciau masinos gatveje palikti ilgam irgi nereiketu. Todel apskritai, I Meksikos sostine su savo masina vaziuoti nera pati geriausia ideja.

Cayoacanas - rajonas, kuriame stovi Fridos Kahlo namas (dabar muziejus) - ramus, bohemiskas. Siauros gatveles, tvarkingi, ryskiaspalviai namukai, mazuciai knygynai bei kavinukes, o centre - parkelis ir grazus fontanas - visiskas kontrastas likusiam miestui. Pries Meksikui issipleciant, Cayoacanas buvo atskiras menininku miestelis. Dailininke ten mylima - net ir siandiena jos buvimo pilni knygynai, kavines, suvenyru parduotuves… Bet kokios paskirties institucija butinai kaip nors primena Frida.

13-osios dienos pabaigai prisimenam, kad rytoj antradienis, o tai reiskia, kad musu Nissanui po sostine, iskaitant rajonus, vazineti draudziama (pagal Meksiko programa "Diena be masinos", kurios esme - sumazinti oro uzterstuma, apribojant automobiliu kieki mieste. Priklausomai nuo paskutinio masinos numerio skaiciaus, kazkuria savaites diena po miesta vazineti draudziama. I visu siandieniniu "sekmiu" kolekcija, mums su paskutiniu astuonetuku draudziama rytoj :)

Taigi, draudimo neprasitesem, I issvajota muzieju nepapuolem, ir I Teotihuacan piramides - vienintele galimybe pamatyti Acteku architekturos liekanas - nebespejom. 13-oji musu keliones diena nuejo Meksiko sunims ant uodegu, o iki rytojaus pasilikti negalim (pasilkti galim, bet kur detumem masina?). O iki treciadienio laukti nebenorim - jau ir taip centrinej Meksikoj uzsibuvom ilgiau, negu galvojom. Velniop Ciudad de Mexico, kaip nors isgyvensim ir be jo. O vat del Fridos muziejaus tai dar ir dabar ziauriai gaila :(

Ka gi, buna geru dienu, buna blogesniu… ir buna 13-ta :)

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