Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mexico City, Day 3: Zoo

We got a good night's sleep last night. Greta is still struggling--she looks like a little baby zombie--and refused her morning nap today despite clearly needing it. Nonetheless, late this morning I set out with the girls to Chapultepec, to go to the zoo. Walking to this zoo seems like it should be a piece of cake--it's not that far from our apartment. But the park actually has just one entrance, much farther away than it seems on a map. The entrance's location, however, is the least of my concerns. Getting to the park itself requires a lot of brute stroller-pushing strength. The sidewalks even in this upscale neighborhood are terrible, a challenge for any stroller let alone our cheapo umbrella-double. The city is not handicap-accessible, so at every street corner I have to hoist the stroller down and up curbs that are sometimes about eight inches high. This stroller is actually handling quite well, all things considered.

But I can handle the sidewalks. What's really challenging is the traffic. There's a lot of it, and it's fast, and though there are crosswalks everywhere, no one stops for pedestrians. The road I have to cross to get to the park is one of the city's main thoroughfares, Paseo de la Reforma, and it is all but impossible. Today, a man who was actually heading the opposite direction turned around, stepped into the road, and held out his hands to stop the traffic so we could cross.

We enjoyed the zoo, especially the monkeys. The animals are very much in the open, so much so that in some places I had uneasy visions of lions and antelope simply leaping over the inadequate (to my eyes) fence. Greta pointed to the animals and often observed, "Fuh. Fuh" ("Woof. Woof."). Lucia waved at some tiny deer.

The walk home was very, very long--I really need to figure out this park's entrances and exits--and Greta conked out in the stroller, snoring through bumpy sidewalks and mad dashes across busy roads. I'm amazed at how well both girls are doing. I've been taking them out a lot, and they are, for the most part, game--although now and then today Lucia said plaintively that she didn't want to live in Mexico; she wanted to go home.

This afternoon, we went to the playground, where the girls--back in easy, familiar territory--had fun chasing bubbles, drawing with chalk, swinging, and playing. Lucia played for a long time with a little boy, throwing a ball back and forth and sliding down twin slides together. Andrew joined us there, freeing me up to chase after Greta, who is eager to climb on all the things she's much too little for.

We did have an ill-advised outing tonight after dinner: we'd promised Lucia ice cream, so we packed the girls back into the stroller and headed out, only to then second-guess the wisdom of eating Mexican ice cream. We ended up buying some dubious fake ice cream at a grocery store as a placeholder until we figure out definitively whether eating it is safe. (Lucia was happy regardless.)

At the playground tonight, Greta was transfixed by a squirrel. A squirrel! And also some sparrows. You'd think we still lived in a city. Our yard at home has deer, turkeys, squirrels, chipmunks, countless birds, hawks, and occasionally a neighbor's cat, yet this is what drew her attention. And Lucia has been intent on collecting leaves and flower petals she finds on the ground. I think these girls have been as tired of winter as I've been.

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