January 5, 2019

Mexico City New Year

I'm a sucker for airline miles manipulation, and this year, they got me.  After our trip to Aruba and our flight back to California, I was shocked to see that I hadn't flown enough on actual paid trips this year to maintain our Delta flight status.

Sunset on our way to Mexico City.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Super ridiculous privileged first world problems, but if we're going to be honest about privilege and first world stuff, then we need to talk about financial literacy.  It's very important in terms of people's ability to transition from parents who are "poor, first in their family to go to college" to children who are "Bay Area hyper-educated normal." My family was *not* upper class, my parents were both the 1st to go to college in their families, and my 2nd generation college-groomed privilege was that I found finance interesting and I could subscribe to magazines about investing and business and my parents let that happen (they were all essentially free due to some weird sweepstakes magazine thing)...

Tacos from El Rey De Suaderno -- Delicious!
All of this (understanding the scarcity model plus a desire to maximize profits) contributes to my ability to realize that if I didn't get at least Silver Medallion status on Delta for 2019, I was losing quite a bit of value (as I had several reserve MQMs that wouldn't roll-over unless I was at least Silver, not to mention upgrade opportunities, free drinks/food, etc.).

Zocalo, the 3rd largest public square in the world.
E called it when I saw my status on the Delta App on our flight home from Aruba/Atlanta, "You're totally going to book a New Year's Trip that gets you status to protect our 2019 travel, aren't you?"

consommé -- one of the best things about  CDMX taquerias
Well, yes.  I tried to brush off his suggestion initially, but of course he knows me better than I know myself and 1 week later, we'd booked a New Year's trip to Mexico City.

The ruins in downtown CDMX right off the Zocalo.
We have several friends who've gone in the last few years, and they've all had wonderful things to say, particularly about the food.

Aztec Sun Stone
I knew we'd have a wonderful time -- it's the largest city in North America -- of course we could find things we'd adore.

Stereotypical touristic stuff at a ridiculously charming outpost near Teotihuacan.
But, folks, it totally exceeded our expectations.

Pyramid of the Sun -- the largest pyramid in the world you can hike up (3rd largest overall)
It was awe-inspiring.

View from the pyramid of the moon.
The teotihuacan pyramids are, frankly, almost as impressive as Machu Pichu, but with less crowds, and much easier to get to, so net, possibly a better experience.

The food was, as promised, excellent.

We decided on a light Portuguese lunch
(Jamon Iberico, Pan Tomate y Mejillones y Pulpo)
The museum of Anthropology was one of the best museums I've ever been to, which is saying a ton, as I tend to prefer my museums on the modern, arty, side.

We originally went with hopes of out of control Mexican fireworks (for which they are known), but, one of the few downsides of modern day Mexico City is the air quality (abysmal).  As such, fireworks had been more or less outlawed (as had tire fires and trash fires), so we found ourselves on Paseo de la Reforma with a cheery, happy group of folks with nothing more than a band, lights, and *HUGE* sparklers.  It was wholesome and wonderful and one of the more enjoyable ways I've crossed the new year's threshold.

Overall, it was a wonderful way to transition into the new year and I'm a bit shocked that it isn't held out as more of an international destination for Americans who want to travel.  It is the largest city in North America, very tourist friendly, but clearly its own Latin American destination where English will work, but not remotely as well as Spanish (so if you have some, use it -- they will appreciate your efforts!), and it has tons of culture.  Why it is not on the default list of easy places for American families who want to raise world traveling children is shocking to me -- the pyramids alone are worth a trip.

Also, the food.  Did I mention the food?

Chapulines -- look closely, those are baby grasshopper tacos (delicious!)
We'll probably go back as our friends stayed an extra day and did stuff we didn't do that sounded wonderful, plus there were neighborhoods we didn't visit and food we didn't try.

We fit in all sorts of fun cultural stuff including a great night of Lucha Libre!
If you're looking for a short international trip that has tons of culture, you should consider Mexico City.


Angela said...

Mexico New Years twinsies!!

Mexico City has been high on my list for a while now but then the whole Ensenada thing happened so who knows when we'll finally get down there. But you're right, it's so easy and close, and I've always heard the food is amazing. So we hope to get down there sometime in the not-too-distant future.

And I also definitely see various travel status/points stuff as just being smart & not leaving value on the table. Why would you not take advantage of that if you can?? (Because all my flights are so short it seems like I always end up just short enough on the status thingie that it's not worth it to spend more money to get there, but I am definitely not too proud to mileage run if I were close enough.)

bt said...


Thanks for the validation on the miles/points thing. Do let me know when you decide to go to CDMX, I have a billion forwarded recommendations from folks who've lived there and our visit as well.

Jen said...

Happy New Year! Looks like a fun trip, and bonus points for retaining your Silver Elite status. I can't seem to commit to one airline, so I'm all over the place with my miles. I need to be more strategic, like you!