Guadalajara and Zapopan had a lot more to see but I had to get to Mexico City by Sunday night. A few months before I left I saw an email from the band Muse, one of my favorites, announcing their fall tour. In the middle of the tour was a few nights playing in Mexico City the week of my birthday. How could I not go? Tickets were a great price so I picked one up on Ticketmaster and planned to get to Mexico City in time for the show Sunday night.
Oskar insisted I have a real breakfast before I spent a day on the road. I was fine with Coco Krispys but he served fresh melon and bread with a really good jelly and honey. Thanks, Oskar! Once again I mapped out my route out so I would not get lost leaving Guadalajara and more importantly arriving in Mexico City. I was reminded of the wealth around Guadalajara when in the first hour of leaving the city I was passed by 4 Ferraris and 3 Lamborghinis.
There’s one main highway that goes from Guadalajara to Mexico City so I opted for the most direct and shortest route. Mexico 15 is an impressive 4 to 6 lane highway that easily gets you from one city to the next. But you pay for this. I came up to one toll and handed over 77 pesos. A few miles later another toll. 55 pesos. And then another and another. By the time I got to Mexico City I spent more than a days entire budget on tolls. I think it was about 400 pesos in total on Mexico 15 and 55 between the two cities. There are free roads but they will take you longer and after all, I had my favorite band to see. If I didn’t have the concert to get to I would have bailed on the toll road and taken another route.
Outside Mexico City it started raining. I stopped at a restaurant on the side of the road and put on my rain gear. There was a group of Harley riders inside, too afraid to get wet I guess. The highway made its way into the mountains and the temperature kept dropping, heavy fog and rain made it even colder. I’m so glad I bought those cheap $6 Chinese heated hand grips and that they work! I came to what I hoped was my last toll and started to pull away when a Policia Federal truck pulled in front of me with its lights on. Great. I’m getting pulled over. But they rolled the window down and waved at me to keep going. Hmmm. Maybe I’m getting a welcome escort into Mexico City? That seems strange. Then more cars were behind the truck and they motioned to slow down. So much for special treatment, they were just slowing the traffic either because of the fog or an accident.
As we slowly rolled into the city a BMW 1200GS and a KTM LC4 came up next to me. They were local riders but I was excited to see other adventure riders. I’ve been surprised that I have only seen two other traveling motorcyclists so far on the entire trip. That was in Baja from Guerero Negro to Santa Rosalia and they blew by me doing about 90MPH so I wasn’t going to keep up. We passed an accident and the police left and off we went. There was a split in the highway that I didn’t see on the map and quickly had to decide where I should go. A few blocks later I realized I should have gone the other way. Well if I was going to get lost in Mexico City I couldn’t have picked a better place as I found myself in Reforma near Chapultepec, one of the nicest neighborhoods of the city. Ok all I have to do is turn right on Perificio up ahead and then make another right. Simple. A few minutes later I didn’t see Perificio and was once again not where I needed to be. Looking at my iPhone Google Maps I could see where I was and where I needed to be but without directions. Ok now I just need to turn right then left then right onto another street and I’ll be good. Except a median split the road into two and I needed to be on the other side. This went on for 45 minutes till I finally arrived at Warm Heart Guest House in Coyoacan. As frustrating as it is to get lost, I usually see cool parts of the city and it feels good to have conquered Mexico City. It’s the little things that make me happy, besides I was still on time for the concert so it’s all good.
I parked the bike, unpacked my stuff, changed clothes and was headed to catch the metro in 15 minutes. No time to rest, I had a concert to get to. I paid my 3 pesos for a metro ticket and was on the train. I just needed to make 1 connection and take it a few stops over. While I was riding the busy metro I realized how free and comfortable I felt. I’ve heard all kinds of things about Mexico and how I would be killed and ransomed. As I rode the train I looked around at all the people around me. Families, young twenty-somethings, teenagers, and old people, all living their lives. Reading books, listening to iPods, playing games on their phones. Yea there’s room to be cautious in life especially in cities known for pickpockets and muggings but you take some precautions and just live life. I made the connection and got off at the stop for the Palacia de los deportes where Muse was playing.
Outside the stadium you had to pass through a small city of vendors all selling Muse merchandise and for cheap. There were at least 500 booths set up. Inside the gates there were two small booths with signs saying Official Merchandise. There was an entire mini economy of bootleg Muse merchandise just outside the gates. In the US there are bootleggers but they usually have the t-shirts in their hands and are ready to run from police when they come. But this was an established thing. Maybe it wasn’t bootleg merchandise but I highly doubt it. It looked bootleg. Just a small observation on differences attending a concert in Mexico vs the US.
Once I was inside the stadium I found my seat and ten minutes later the opening band started playing. Talk about making it right on time. By the time Muse was ready to go on, the stadium was packed with about 20,000 people. The next two hours were everything I had hoped for. A fun night seeing one of my favorite bands in a new country surrounded by 20,000 people who speak a different language but we were all singing along and jumping around together. I left the concert excited to experience Mexico City over the next few days. So far my time here is off to a great start.
For those not familiar with Muse, here are a few songs of theirs.
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