Rudd On The Road
By Steve Rudd
Part 3 A chance encounter with a city full of surprises ...
Ensconced in LA to write like never before, I didn't get much chance to make myself at home in Los Angeles before being offered a different writing job entirely, courtesy of a well-connected friend of a friend.
Vowing to return to LA as soon as possible, I promptly found myself heading back to LAX where I boarded a Mexicana flight direct to Mexico City, a short-haul of just four hours which had me arrive at stupid o'clock in the morning.
Having only ever visited the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Juarez in the past (which are often in the news for all the wrong reasons, given the large quantities of drug and human trafficking that occurs over the border), I couldn't wait to lose myself in what is purported to be the biggest city in the world.
I say 'purported to be' simply because nobody really knows the true population of Mexico City. In that respect it is not alone: a multitude of cities the world over inevitably harbour thousands upon thousands of people who are 'statistically non-existent.'
Concerned about the dire lack of Spanish I had at my disposal, I was glad that a friend called Evangelina was able to meet me at the airport, thus saving me from potentially struggling to find my way into the city centre. In spite of the fact that she had to be at work for 8 a.m., she kindly went out of her way to quickly show me around her neighbourhood, a short walk from the city's famous Zona Rosa: The Pink Zone.
After shrugging off my gear at her apartment, I walked with her to work. Coincidentally, she works for The British Embassy, which modestly languishes in a building located a little north of the major thoroughfare known as Paseo de la Reforma.
From there I sought to hound out Mexico City's main square: The Zocalo. Flanked by all manner of imposing buildings, The Zocalo is most definitely the spiritual focus of the city if not quite its geographical heart. At its centre, a huge flag-pole proudly wields the Mexican flag by default, the raising and lowering of which is accompanied by great fanfare every morning and evening.
Choosing to focus my energy on the Historical Centre of Mexico City, I aimlessly wandered the
many streets radiating from The Zocalo, actively aspiring to glimpse what makes the city's
Truth be told, Mexico City is a sprawling metropolis that heaves with stark,
While many of the city's districts are extremely wealthy, the 'limits' of such neighbourhoods tend to be punctuated by districts that are noticeably less well-off. The outlying district of Santa Fe, for example, is an area of the city which brazenly wears its sickening wealth on its sleeve, reflected as it is in the grandeur of its modern buildings and the range of flash cars humming around its well-tended roads.
Santa Fe, however, is cocooned in spectacular fashion, with a slew of poverty-stricken areas literally banging on its plush gates, rapping at the windows of the gleaming skyscrapers that loom above the tumbledown residences that flounder just a short distance from their foundations.
La Condesa is another of Mexico City's most hip hang-outs, and a popular place for the bold and the beautiful to meet and greet friends and strangers alike in the many trendy bars and restaurants that saturate the immediately captivating district.
Similarly, Zona Rosa can't fail to entice folk into its attractive range of bars and eateries, with the good vibes of the area bolstered to stunning effect by the presence of a pedestrianised area that comes complete with a collection of eye-catching statues that coolly pay homage to both classic and contemporary art.
In spite of its age-old reputation as a dirty and dangerous city that is at times best avoided, Mexico City is undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating and surprising cities on earth.
To a large extent it is clean, safe and stupendously chilled-out.
For sure, certain districts should be awarded a wide berth, particularly after dark,
but under no circumstances whatsoever should a trip to this mind-blowing city be
postponed or even cancelled because of fears related to one's safety or security.
On the back of an exhausting yet hugely rewarding day exploring The Zocalo and its surrounding area, I should have hit the sack dreaming. As it was, I was too wired: the adrenaline coursing through my veins refused to allow even a wink of sleep to pass my way.
Prematurely anticipating what my second day in Mexico City might bring, I plotted my next course of action with eyes wide open ...
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part 2 By Steve Rudd
As I bustled onto an empty shuttle bus bound for Downtown LA, I reflected that the way I'd been granted access into the US this time around was a far-cry from the way in which I'd been 'processed' on my previous trip when I'd touched down at JFK airport in New York.
Back in 2006, on the cusp of a mad sixty day dash around the states via 'Greyhound' bus, the Customs official at JFK had wanted to know almost everything about me.
Places to Visit - Cusco, Peru - La Ultima Cena Con Cuy By Ruth
The flight from Puerto Maldonado was uneventful. The flight attendant served coca tea, Inca Cola, and Cusqueno beer to interested passengers. The city of Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire, sits in the Andes Mountains. The elevation is roughly 11,000 feet. The updrafts buffeted the plane a bit during landing.
At the airport, old women peddling bags of coca leaves crowded towards the passengers.
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road - Catching up with Steve Rudd as he hits America in style ... Part 1 By Steve Rudd
The flight from London to LA was a long haul to say the least, yet it was made more tolerable by the company. I'd barely got settled when the guy beside me introduced himself as Jim Becket, a film director and documentary producer who lived in a place called Ojai, a little north of Los Angeles. He'd just returned from working in Athens where he'd sold the rights of his latest documentary to
Places to Visit - Playing Chicken In Turkey Part 1 By Steve Rudd
It wasn't the best welcome to Turkey. It was the dead of night, we'd just crossed the border, yet there I was, beside a Mancunian called Liam, being frog marched back to the tiny hut that issued visas. Upon crossing the border, us English lads had been issued the correct visa, but the official had inexplicably neglected to stamp the visas with our entry date.
Places to Visit - Roaming Around Romania By Steve Rudd
I was worried. It was four a.m., I was on a train bound for Bucharest, and somebody was tugging at my bed sheets from below. Coming around from a bout of deep sleep, I urged my weary eyes to focus. They were having none of it though, refusing point blank to reveal the person before me.
'Is there a problem?' I asked, hoping that a response might bowl my way in English.
Places to Visit - Gibraltar and La Linea, Spain By Mo
Recently I went on a week long trip to Gibraltar and La LÍnea, Spain staying with my mum and dad in their La Linea flat. My twin sister and her boyfriend were also at the flat on holiday for a week and had rented a small car booked online for only 60 quid for the week. I think that included car insurance too so a pretty good deal.
They all met me at Gibraltar airport and we walked across the border with Spain
Places to Visit - The London, Bath and Bristol Chronicles By Steve Rudd
I knew I should have taken the train. Being stuck behind a combine harvester is never fun in a car. In a coach, it's murder. The battalion of towering power-line supports that stoically marched across the dead level Lincolnshire landscape didn't help. From their indifferent vantage point, they simply taunted.
'Technology is overtaking everything,' said the woman in front, Read more...
Places to Visit - Kate Langan's Travel Journal - Thailand
Tonight we ate at a Thai Taverna, there was a baby elephant going by so Becky took my photo. We are staying in Phuket also as we have found a really nice basic room that's really cheap. It's clean and got 4 stone walls - not like the wood hut! I loved the wood hut but was bitten to death by the mozzies. No mozzies here - yey! And I'm not a huge fan of the cockroaches!
Places to Visit - The Three Peaks Of Yorkshire Challenge 10th June 2006 By Steve Rudd
'Good morning gentlemen - rise and shine!' As I slowly came to my senses I couldn't
help but glance at my watch. I'd been warned the previous night that we would be
woken up at 4:15am sharp, and barely a second later.
Unfortunately, that really was the case, and as exhausted as I was, there
was a mammoth 25 mile walk ahead...
It's a shame that I'd only managed
Places to Visit - A Weekend in Amsterdam By Dave F
Amsterdam is a city of freedom which instantly appeals on a lot of levels.
What's the point of a holiday if you don't have the freedom to go and do what you want, when you want?
If, like me, you want to wander aimlessly from coffee shop to coffee shop getting as
stoned as humanly possible whilst ogling half-naked women through dirty windows
and snacking heavily along the way,
Places to Visit - Christmas in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka By Dave F
I hate Christmas for too many reasons to mention and the chance to get away from it
all this year it was an opportunity too good to pass up. Knowing someone with a
house in Sri Lanka which stands empty for 9 months every year definitely has its benefits.
I'm travelling with a mate and his daughter who've been here several times before
so I get some insight
Places to Visit - Skiing In Bulgaria - Part Two By Steve Rudd
Giant Christmas trees loomed as far as the eye could see below, as I marvelled
at the extraordinary engineering it must take to make a gondola a reality.
After the thirty-minute ride to the top we were immediately greeted by a
stunning panorama of the surrounding countryside which was beautiful beyond words.
So pristine and so serene.
Well, serene if you can discount the
Places to Visit - Skiing In Bulgaria - Part One By Steve Rudd
I could have thought of worst places to be, seeing in the New Year, as the last
second of 2005 ticked over into 2006. Happy New Year indeed.
For the best part of the past ten years myself and my friends have contented
ourselves with heading into the town centre of Driffield every December 31st
for one of the few nights of the year when it genuinely hustles and bustles.
Places to Visit - Walking The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path - Part One By Steve Rudd
Get out of the city and into the country, sooner rather than later.
A great many people genuinely have no idea how scenically diverse and breathtaking some
swathes of countryside are in the UK, and such a fact is a great shame,
because while they might be spending all their spare time in dirty and cramped
urban environments, there's often fresh air and inspirational
Places to Visit - Thailand By Rich Mills
Expressing the experience of being here in Thailand is difficult to put into words.
The sensorial experience is so mind blowing that you begin to feel overloaded.
However it is the smallest of things that grab your attention, and stick in the mind.
We are waiting for a taxi to take us down to the ferry, so that we can go
over to the small island of Koh Maak.
This is where we will get the full
Places to Visit - Ostend Weekend By John Allbones
I needed a break. Well, you just do sometimes don't you?
The constant day to day drudge of the nine to five erodes your spirit until a
change of scene is all you crave. Nothing fancy, just a few days will do.
Preferably abroad, it just seems more of a break when you're on foreign soil.
I managed to grab a late deal on a long weekend in Ostend.
So desperate was I to get away,
Places to Visit - Eight Feet and Two Weeks On Crete Part 2 by Steve Rudd
One of the best ways of exploring the huge island of Crete is by car: in your own time, at
your own speed and in your own style.
Without the stress and cost of embarking on guided tours.
Head into any of Crete's major cities such as
Hania, Rethymno or Iraklion and you'll be bombarded by rent-a-vehicle establishments, all
of which are fiercely trying to
Places to Visit - Eight Feet and Two Weeks On Crete Part One by Steve Rudd
While I might be a massive fan of Michael Palin's epic travels, and while I do aspire to
follow him in many of his footsteps, up until now I've only ever been abroad three times.
The first time was in 2000, when I was lucky enough to accompany a work colleague for a month in Nepal.
The second time was for a holiday with some friends, last year, to the gorgeous
Places to Visit - Greetings From Amsterdam Part One By Steve Rudd
As the blazing red sunset slowly but surely cast Hull into shadow, the P&O ferry was ready,
and so were the passengers.
I'd never travelled by ferry across to the Netherlands, and thus was naturally overwhelmed
by the sheer scale of the ferry and the wealth of entertainment on board, what with
two cinemas, a kids play area, a restaurant and casino
Places to Visit - On The Pennine Way Part Two By Steve Rudd
After surviving the nightmare of Kinder Scout's mountainous bulk and getting back on track,
the next 'hill' of worth en-route along the Pennine Way is called Bleaklow.
Just like its predecessor, it could quite potentially be the death of you if
you're not careful in negotiating the peaty wastes as you go up and over and
onwards towards the tiny hamlet of
Places to Visit - On The Pennine Way Part One By Steve Rudd
Why on earth would anyone want to go walking on their week off work? That's the question that most people would routinely ask anybody who would do exactly that, as though walking - and long distance walking in particular - is something simply not to be indulged in.
I always argue that there is very little more
Places to Visit - Down South By Steve Rudd
Brighton has always been one hell of a popular place, but until one freezing cold
day in February of this year I had never before spent anytime whatsoever there
in my twenty-four years in this forever-overwhelming world.
I thought it was high time I paid the place a visit, and seeing as though
I was down in London anyway - and a return National Express coach ticket
Places to Visit - Up North By Steve Rudd
So, you look forward all week - at work - to your one or two days off... right? And what do you do on such days off? Housework, no doubt. Do you ever think you should do something more worthwhile with your sacred time off? Like travel, for instance.
County Durham isn't that far a trip from East Yorkshire, and if
Places to Visit - To Hampstead Heath and Beyond ... By Steve Rudd
So, you live in London and wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the inner city scene.
Where can you turn to? Why, the plethora of beautiful parks of course - and there are few
places nicer than Hampstead Heath, in North London, for some quality peace and quiet.