So…what did I do next?
I’m afraid, dear reader, that I took the wimp’s way out and decamped to a special deal in a local 5* hotel. It had a great view of the Bitcoin Volcano too, the one that President Bukele is going to use for cheap energy for Bitcoin Mining.
I’m just too old and apparently not cut out for roughing it in hostels (even upmarket ones with lovely people) anymore.
While there, I had a real good think (while it rained and rained all afternoon and evening again) and decided to cut my losses, go to Mexico as originally planned and wait out the rainy season, coming back in November for the Lightning / Bitcoin Conference.
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I was going to head straight for Puerto Escondido, down on the coast in Oaxaca State, which my son said was the best place he’d visited in his several weeks in Mexico (although that was by no means an exhaustive trip, he said he could have spent months traveling around Mexico alone).
This involved a layover in both Panama City and then Mexico City so I booked a bog standard 5* in Panama City as I wouldn’t have time to enjoy anything else, then for Mexico City, I booked a hotel as close to the centre as I had some time the next day to enjoy a bit of a wander. It looked very arty but still up market. I was using an app called Priceline to book flights and hotels with a bit of Booking.com mixed in.
I arrived in Panama City to find that they had booked my check-in luggage right through to Mexico. This was a bit of a disaster as all of my clothes and toiletries were in that suitcase, with only a packet of wet wipes and the bare minimum of contact lens-related stuff in my handbag. The carry-on bag I never check has all my computer & podcasting equipment in it, as I hate the thought of that getting thrown around!
Putting a VERY brave and cheerful face on now, I asked the lady at check in at the hotel if they had any emergency supplies or if there was a chemist open that late (it was about 9.30 pm by then) and luckily she did. A toothbrush kit, tiny deodorant and the usual shampoo, conditioner and shower gel supplies saw me through to the next day.
I made a small list of vital essentials to pack into my carry-on bag/handbag for emergencies in the future. Once burned, as they say.
Arriving in Mexico City, I got in an official airport taxi (more expensive but it’s got to be safer surely?) and he hurtled me through Mexican rush hour traffic to very near my destination. He threw me out at the end of a small square and pointed at my hotel.
Casa De La Luz.
While my suitcases had wheels they were not up to the potholed street I was confronted with, the pavement being full of people and small vendors selling street food. I spotted a bank at the end of the street and breathed a sigh of relief, as I had no Mexican pesos, which I would need in the future.
As soon as the doormen spotted me, obviously heading their way, they came and greeted me and whisked my luggage into the hotel, while I checked in.
Well, while I was greeted by a polite, perfect English-speaking young lady with a cold drink in hand. She could barely get any sense out of me, because my jaw had hit the floor at the sight of the lobby and I was having trouble winding it back up again.
Sitting in Reception
The front doors were huge, as was the doorman/security
The restoration of the house was amazing, with as much of the old stonework uncovered again as possible.
My bedroom looked out onto this lightwell with stunning semi-circular windows and glass with many patterns – you can see that in the video below.
This hotel was AMAZING! Jaw dropping. Beautiful. Comfortable. Luxurious. Historic. Words fail me so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
When Jesus and I got to my room (yes, you read that right, the bellhop was called Jesus, pronounced HayZoos) via a very modern lift I was glad to see, the stairs looking very daunting, I was even more blown away. We are talking a top end boutique hotel but in a really ancient building which turned out to be the original house of Hernán (also known as Hernando) Cortés.
Here’s a short video walk around my bedroom!
The walk-in shower was the biggest I have seen yet, and I thought the one in the Dominican Republic was spacious.
Hernán Cortés was a Spanish conquistador, or conqueror, who is best remembered for conquering the Aztec Empire in 1521 and claiming Mexico for Spain. He also helped colonize Cuba and became a governor of New Spain, a vast area that included large parts of North, Central and South America, as well as several Pacific island archipelagos. “Like many explorers we know about today, Hernán (also known as Hernando) Cortés’s role in the Age of Exploration was influential but controversial,” said Erika Cosme “He was a smart, ambitious man who wanted to appropriate new land for the Spanish crown, convert Native inhabitants to Catholicism and plunder the lands for gold and riches.”
There was a restaurant and bar in the hotel, I was glad to note, and I was offered a complementary cocktail. I was glad about that as when I’d mentioned going to the corner to get some cash, one of the doormen cum security guards said he’d come with me. My ideas of having a wander tomorrow were fading fast.
So after freshening up, taking & uploading many photos of my room, the stairs, the bathroom etc., I headed up to the bar with my complementary drinks card (in a cute little envelope – it’s the small things that make the difference!) and there I was blown away again.
It was raining again (obviously a bit of rainy season in Mexico City too) but there were covered walkways to the bar and when I got in there, not only was I blown away all over again, but I went on to have my most fun evening since leaving Greece.
Semi-open air, the staff were all very lively and did a great job of looking like they loved their jobs. Quiet at first, the place filled up gradually and it was obviously a ‘destination’ venue, with young couples and families celebrating special events.
I ordered a margarita which was one of the most lovely I’ve seen, before becoming aware that this was NOT my complementary cocktail.
Darn it, I’ll just have to try that now. This involved some theatre with the lighting of the rosemary twig and the wafting of the smoke towards me so I could inhale the aroma while drinking my cocktail, which looked like beetroot juice and champagne.
I’m a sucker for this stuff!
There was also lady who was hand-rolling taco shells to order. When my complementary taco arrived, my waiter insisted in pulling a trolley over and then grinding & mixing my ‘special sauce’ to my very own taste!
However, it made me very sad that all the servers had to wear tight-fitting black masks the whole time. I wondered if it was just this hotel and asked the waiter. He said everyone in hospitality had to wear them still, which is madness as they are proven to do no good, in fact to harm the wearer and even the corrupt CDC have dropped all mandates on wearing them, globally.
For dinner, I had an octopus ceviche taco (below) for a starter which was fresh and delicious with lime and heat, followed by some spice-rubbed short ribs and a side salad.
Wine was a Mexican red, which was initially unusual and ultimately delicious. I loved it that all the wines were Mexican and I’ll certainly seek that out back home.
Then I rolled off to bed, happy and positive, looking forward to sleeping in that amazing bed, in that amazing room.
All was well, in my world.
I’ll fill you in on the rest of my adventure tomorrow!
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