March 12, 2020
Many tourists to Mexico City would go explore the city’s many murals, art museums, or perhaps enjoy a coffee in one the City’s many cute sidewalk café’s. We went to the Chocolate Museum. The museum was small and a bit disappointing in that the only samples they offered were of plain roasted cocoa beans which were a little bitter and not sweet at all. They had a number of exhibits on the history of Cocoa which was apparently enjoyed by natives all the way before the Mayans. Perhaps the coolest exhibit was a room tiled with real chocolate. We were done with the museum in about 45 minutes and we bought some of the rather expensive chocolate a the gift store because we really couldn’t visit a Chocolate Museum without sampling some chocolate.
Outside the museum was a tent encampment blocking the intersection. I am not sure why the encampment was there right in the middle of a middle class apartment neighborhood with Chocolate museums and chic sidewalk cafés but the locals we asked said it had been there for three years.
From there we walked back to the Chinese Market to pick up a few more groceries before we went around the corner to another Chinese restaurant that was recommended by the people at the Chinese market. The restaurant, aptly named “China Food” was family run hole in the wall with tile floors and only four tables and bare tile walls. As soon as we walked into the place we felt we were home. Unlike the overly decorated El Dragon restaurant this place was exactly like any of the innumerable little family run hole in the wall Chinese restaurants in China and in many places of the world which are run by Chinese for Chinese.
This was confirmed when the waitress came and she only spoke Chinese. She didn’t even speak Spanish. When she has Mexican customers she just has them point to what they want on the menu which was in Chinese and Spanish. The food was also authentic and about what I expected from a hole in the wall family restaurant and it was made real Chinese style. It hit the spot providing much needed comfort food. Since we had more groceries we just took and Uber back to the hotel for the evening.
We had been following the CoronaVirus 19 pandemic in the news. By this time China had mostly brought the disease under control while it was spreading quickly through the rest of the world. I had the wild idea that soon would be a good time to go back to China so that we could visit our families there. There were numerous reasons why soon would be a good time to go while everyone was panicking about the disease. First of all, Mexico City was one of most convenient places to fly to Asia. An overwhelming number of flights to Asia would have to connect through the USA so the further south we went the longer the journey would be. Second, flights were ridiculously cheap. Last time Holly and Olivia went to China it cost 75,000 points and around $200 per person to fly from San Francisco to China round trip. Now it was going to cost 40,000 points and $178 per person to fly from Mexico City to China. I could even get premium economy for 60,000 points per person. Third, with travel decimated I expected hotels and AirBnB to be much, much cheaper as well. Finally while the disease was spreading like wildfire throughout the rest of the world, new infections in China were low and dropping fast. The safest place in the wildfire is in the middle burnt out area where the fire has already passed.
Ultimately I decided on holding off booking our tickets, not because of fear of the disease but the expectation of widespread travel disruptions caused by travel bans, flight cancellations and possible quarantines on arrival.