The travel from Bogota, Colombia to Mexico City, Mexico took all day, even if it is just a four hour flight. Avianca gave me some airplane food I should never have taken. By 9pm Saturday evening March 12 I was all settled in at the Holiday Inn Dali Airport, a hotel I soon had to get rid of.
I am a “Spire Elite” member of IHG, that is the new membership level they invented so that Platinum members, which I have been for years, had something higher to aim for. I have used IHG for years. They have the best Internet site for bookings, all my travel plans are there, and if you stay 70+ nights per year, like me, they give you Platinum or Spire Elite, which means guarantee room, even if the hotel is full, late checkout, cancel on arrival day 6pm, upgrades to a bigger and better room etc. They have two-star (Holiday Inn Express), 3-stars (Holiday Inn), four stars (Crowne Plaza) and five star (Intercontinental) hotels, plus a few other rarities as well. But Holiday Inn is so green and boring, and they don’t really care about me. In Mexico City I got the same old feeling. They did not care about me, Internet did not work, they lied to me about “no restaurants nearby except us”, and for breakfast they screwed me by overcharging. I was sick, I had two slices of bread and juice only, they charged me double. So goodbye Holiday Inn.
I took a Sunday morning walk, and found three other hotels just across the street. The whole point of staying at the “HI Dali” was walking distance to the venue “Foro Sol”. But you do not mess with me. Not even when you give me a suite room of 100 square meters (1,000 square feet) including a separate living room and sofa with space for eight people, and all that crap. I need Internet, and I need honest people in a hotel. So I found ou that there was a great local Mexican Hotel Riazor just across my street, on Viaducto Presidente Miguel Alemán 297. I moved my stuff in half an hour, and found a great new place to stay for the next five days here in Mexico City. The best thing, Hotel Riazor is half price, better quality, they have an outdoor patio where I can enjoy a meal and fresh air, and everyone is friendly here. Also, they have real stairs, you know stairs people have in normal houses, just bigger and wider, sort of luxury style stairs, great ones next to the elevator, so that I can walk up and down to my 5th floor room, without having to be trapped into some fire escape emergency stairs…
Sunday is day off work. Mexico City close off the main street “Paseo de la Reforma” in the morning, so that the locals may bike, walk or run there. I love these wide large “avenidas” you find in large Spanish spoken cities like Madrid, Buenos Aires and Mexico City, where monuments, fountains and sculptures are places in the roundabouts.
These pictures are taken during my walk, as I took the Paseo de la Reforma from the Four Seasons and past the other five star hotels all the way to the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a beautiful “must see” building in the “centro historico”, the old town of Mexico City. The pictures below is street life on a Sunday morning in Mexico City. At 1pm the police cars opened the Paseo de la Reforma for the cars. Many great buildings of older age are churches, because they seem to stay protected, while old office buildings are often taken down and replaced by boring new generic skyscrapers unfortunately.
Later on in the afternoon I did a “trail walk” to the venue, just to see how it was to get there. It should be half an hour walk each way, but I kept walking for three hours. Well, I was at Foro Sol in half an hour, but I wanted to walk around the venue, sort of 360 degrees, to see all the gates. Don’t even try it! There are many venues there, also may be a hundred sports fields, a racing car track a la formula one, and after two hours walking around in these areas I realixed there is no way to walk around Foro Sol, at least not unless it is show day. Eventually I gave up and returned into the direction I came from. But… I saw a lot of football games with kids, old boys, and a lot of the park that is hidden to most people, as it is merged in-between all these sports fields, also with a biking path nobody is using.
Mexico City has developed in a great way since I was here ten years ago, during the last Stones tour in 2006. It is a large, busy city, one of the largest cities in the world. It sits at altitude 2,250 m (7,380 ft) above sea level, the climate is still great, sunshine +28 C daytime and +20 C night time (82 F to 68 F). I have been walking the city for five hours at daytime without having anyone bothering me. I am staying right next to the airport, so I see Aeromexico and all the other incoming and outgoing airliners right above my head. It is a busy city, and I think I will be fine here for my six days and two shows with The Rolling Stones!