Couch Hoppers Movement

Travel Blog


Posted by Couch Hoppers on June 21, 2011 at 6:54 PM


Filmmakers Tyjon and UK board the plane to Mexico City, Mexico. They sit in 1st class and sip Mimosa. The flight attendant behaves strangely. While taking their food order, he falls asleep. The passenger across the aisle mouths the words, "Fu**ing Jerk." The odd behavior doesn't end there. When reading the announcements, the flight attendant pauses after every paragraph; the one-minute alert turns into a ten-minute draining, slurred speech. Later, he explains that he is exhausted and has had only a few hours of sleep.

Deplaning and entering customs with documents, they greet the Border Patrol agents. "How long are you here? What is the nature of your visit?" Exiting, they must convert their US dollars to pesos. After trying to retrieve money from three ATMs, they want to call it quits. Finally, they realize that they failed to enter all the information on the prompt; once entered, the money spurts out of the ATM.

Where will they stay? A resident suggests the Zocalo area, the safest area for tourists. After numerous calls to hotel attendants (some with little or no English), the fillmmakers retire for a night in the airport, sleeping in the uncomfortable chairs and later transitioning to the floor.


Awake. Sore and stiff. Morning breath and unwashed bodies. The filmmakers dash to the nearest restroom to tidy up a bit. The quest to find shelter restarts. This time, they find a reasonable hotel called the Reforma Avenue Hotel. "Follow the signs in the airport that read authorized taxis. Only take these taxis because others can be very dangerous," a Mexican clerk warns. Tyjon and UK follow the marking for ground transportation and end up outside (with spring-like climate) as taxis line the curb. 145 pesos to the nearby hotel. They enter the taxi, keeping all belongings with them. Minutes later, the taxi driver drops them off in front of the 2-star hotel. Tip: 20 pesos.

Tyjon tries to negotiate a room for 2 persons. The Spanish speaking attendants beckon for an African woman to converse with her. Finally, 599 pesos nightly, room #803. A bell boy leads them to their room as he smiles the entire ride up the elevator. What the hell? Tyjon tips him 20 pesos.

Inside of the room: dirty carpet, dingy white wall trimmed in pastel blue, fading flowery bed spread with a huge hole (weed smokers, perhaps??), small TV, shower with gold knobs, filty shower nozzle, and ancient photo on wall. Digress, you get what you pay for.

After showering and dressing, the filmmakers head downstairs to the lobby to eat complimentary breakfast: tamales and atole (traditional Mexican and Central American hot drink made from corn), eggs, rice, corn, French fries, pasta, chicken chunks, hash browns. They meet Emmanuel, who is in Mexico on a business trip. He warns them not to go to Zona Rosa, Trepito, or Buenos Aires areas because of frequent crime. He tells them of the notorious La Familia, one of the countries most powerful crimianl gangs and suggests taking a taxi to Zocalo.

The taxi driver drops the women off in the downtown area of Zocalo, where protestors crowd the square. Equal job opportunities. No war. Just peace. A dummy dressed in an Army uniform with a Nazi symbol on his forehead dangles from a string at one of the booths. Mock graves painted black and made out of cardboard line the concrete. The women witness a Vodoo ritual as a man puts white powder on the faces of his victims, blows smoke in their faces, chants, and swats them with a plant. Below him, sits a skull surrounded by onion peels and fruit. UK spots a guy pushing a huge accordion down the street. He plays a Mariachi sounding tune for her. In return, she tips him and poses for a photograph.

Tyjon tips a Mexican dancer and he and his two sons, dressed in feathers and leather and half-naked, perform a traditional dance. A vendor, selling freshly squeezed orange juice on the streets, entices the filmmakers to purchase a cup. Delicious!

The women enter the Metropolitan Cathedral, a beautiful architecture with steep columns and a well-defined structure. Visitors and locals gather to pray inside at the altar. A statue of the body of Christ appears human-like. A faux waxed body of Mary lies in a glass box. A repetence booth sits in one of the corners.

A group of students interview Tyjon outside of the cathedral. "Why did you come to Mexico? What do you like about Mexico? What do you dislike about Mexico? What is your profession? Where is the best place to eat? Would you come again?"

Tyjon and UK settle down to eat at McDonalds. They meet and converse with a Jehovah Witness from Florida. She has been living in Mexico for 5 years and ministering the Word. She gives them pamphlets and tries to convince them to do the same.

The women head back to the hotel. The taxi driver stares at UK through his rear view mirror. Scary, of course. He quotes a higher price for the taxi and Tyjon gives him exactly what she pays on the way to the square. Scandalous!!!

Back at the hotel, the filmmakers settle for a pitcher of Margarita. The hotel server asks, "What kind of liquor to make it with?" Awwww, hell naw. Is this Mexico? Are you serious? UK points to the Quevo Gold and the server mixes the drink, squeezing a lot of lime juice in the potion and adding a lot of salt to the brim. Please..... hold the salt and lime juice next time, DAMN IT!


Since Day 1 was spent in the airport, the filmmakers strike out again to complete their 48 hour mission of immersing in the culture. This time, the hotel attendants suggest going to a nearby restaurant-slash-club, Black and Black.

The filmmakers walk downtown and find it just a few yards away from their hotel. Yellow painted walls with a dance floor in the middle. They order Margaritas and "chips" (French fries). Waitresses dress in 4" belts, drawn tightly and appearing as sunken waistlines. Mixed sounds of R&B played in the States, flamenco, cuban, and salsa pound the speakers.

They retire to their room and fall asleep.


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