Booking tours, the rant

Speaking of bad tastes in my mouth. I booked 2 tours through a site called Viator which is owned by Trip Advisor. On the one hand I like Trip Advisor. They provide plenty of help in finding and selecting hotels, restaurants, interesting places to see. On the other hand, this information ruins places. I find it maddening to be in a restaurant filled with people like me. (Honestly I’d adore being in a restaurant filled with people like me. It would be so fun) But I mean, you know, Americans, you don’t want to be in a restaurant in China and have a fucking bunch of loud Americans around you bitching about food (or whatever), demanding No mantiquilla…leeemon!! in a high pitched nasal voice. This from a New Yorker who was watching her weight and didn’t want butter on her fish…only leeemon. The restaurant filled with seriously obnoxious Americans and then I realized I’d found it on Trip Advisor.

I have digressed. OK, Viator . . . I booked myself on a 12 hour tour of the Mexico City Markets, plus an excursion to Teo…however it’s spelled—the pyramid place—followed by a “family dinner.” Let’s just pretend that the online description did disclose that it was a 1.5 hour trip each way, and that it did say that the trip was on a city bus. I don’t think they did, but I’ll just agree that they did (but they didn’t, I’m just saying they did).

And here’s the thing, you cannot actually speak to anybody about the itinerary. I tried to call them. They’re all “we’re there for you 24/7” they are not. Eventually I spoke to someone who told me I’d have to contact the local company. Whatever that means. I did call the local number but that person had no clue what I was talking about. At all.

So it started at 8:45 in the morning. It was to have been a tour but no one else signed up so I was alone. I was met near the National Cathedral by a very nice woman who told me that she was to show me the markets after which she was dumping, er, handing me off to someone else who would be taking me to Teotihuacan. I wasn’t sure about being alone but I figured no matter what I probably wouldn’t die.

The tour of the city markets lasted until 1:30 which is when the other tour guide finally arrived. Seriously, 20 minutes would have been good. Four hours??? What is there to see? Flowers, dead animals (oh Lord, this was not pretty or fragrant), a bunch of cheap junk. It was tedious. Then, on to the fake pyramids (see previous post). After that he took me to a little house where they made obsidian shit that I did not want to buy. And he left me there to go smoke. I didn’t like being left there with people shilling their handicrafts but I was happy to escape his incessant yapping. Then on we went to the “family meal.” In a group this may have been fun. But it was only him and me sitting in a dark garage-like dining room eating chilaquiles. No abuela, no niños, although there was a begging dog. But nothing like a “family dinner” after which there was nothing else except a city bus ride home. The only thing I’d have died from was the guide’s nonstop nattering. He wants to be a trumpeter and has the fucked up lips to prove it.

The next day was a less lengthy tour of, as described on their website; “Frida Kahlo’s home, Xochimilco, University City.” Frida Kahlo’s home is the reason I came to Mexico City and I booked a  not-inexpensive private tour. Now I know, as I had been there already, that Xochimilco is a good 40 minutes away from the city. How they were going to get these 3 disparate destinations into a 6 hours I didn’t understand. And neither, it turned out, did the greasy, 80 year old racist that squired me around. As I said, I’d been to Xochimilco and didn’t really want to go back there to party which is really what the place is, a party destination. Particularly with someone I didn’t know, an 80 year old man with a fun quotient of about -7 on the horizontal axis and +F on the vertical. I don’t know what the hell the point of just the 2 of us going on a party boat at 9 in the morning on a Wednesday and I think the freaking tour company should know and understand that this isn’t even something they should be offering. Eventually, and I really could drag this on for a while, after he told me that the Jews live in such and such and “we don’t have the blacks so crime is not a concern,” I got into a fight with him where he just doubled down on his argument. I should have left. An Uber would have been $2.50. But I’d paid for tickets to Frida Kahlo. We walked for another 2 hours looking at Cortez’ colonial home and some other not particularly interesting things and got to the Blue House as her home is known in time for our 1 pm entrance. At this point he decided it would be best for me to do this on my own. I was good with that, I’d had enough of him. Even though I’d FUCKING PAID FOR A PRIVATE TOUR OF FRIDA KAHLO’S HOME. I didn’t care, I’d had enough. But before he left he gave me another quick speech about why he’s right to be a racist and then asked for a tip.

The Frida Kahlo house was a complete disappointment. Utterly packed with people. Not that much to see. A couple beds and some paintings and photographs. And this is what possessed me to come to Mexico City.

You really can only see only so much of this sort of thing.


A freaking zoo

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