Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Up on the Trolley

I am now at home.  On Monday evening, my flight from Houston left on time and landed in Cleveland twenty minutes ahead of schedule.  In Mexico City, Alejandro is doing well after his operation, and today he will have his stitches removed.

I still have several entries to write about my trip.  You may remember that Alejandro and I took the aerial cable car across the Mexico City borough of Ixtapalapa.  After doing a round trip on the "cablebús", we then took another new addition to the city's public transport system, "el trolebús elevado"... the elevated trolley.  The route, which begins at the same location as the "cablebús", follows an elevated road dedicated exclusively to the trolley.  The buses have retractable poles which connect to overhead electrical wires when in transit.

The trolley travels 4.5 miles through Iztapalapa with seven stations along the way.  Although not suspended high in the air like the "cablebús", you look down on the poor district. 

There are a few examples of street art to be seen along the way.

The route has not been completed.  We got off at the last stop and then walked perhaps a half mile to the subway station where the "trolebús" terminal will be located.  We then took the subway back to my apartment. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

On the Way Home

I am writing this at the United Club at Houston International Airport where I still have two and half hours before I board my flight home to Cleveland.

My flight from Mexico City did not leave until 12:15 P.M.  I am used to departing much earlier, and it seemed strange to leisurely shower, shave, dress and have breakfast at Alejandro's house rather than heading to the airport before dawn.

My flight pulled away from the gate five minutes ahead of schedule.  As usual, we had to wait a while on the runway for our turn to take off, but the wait was no worse than my early morning departures.  Soon we were up in the air above the sprawling city.

The flight is not very long, shorter than the flight from Houston to Cleveland.  By the time I finished the book that I had been reading, we were already over Texas, and then over the outskirts of Houston.

The shadow of our plane as we are about to land.

We arrived at the gate twenty-five minutes early, and I had already passed through immigration and customs before our scheduled arrival time.  Hopefully there will be no delays with my next flight because it is not scheduled to arrive in Cleveland until 10:00 P.M.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Another Trip Comes to an End


I have been here in Mexico for over six weeks, a week longer than I had originally planned.  I extended my stay when Alejandro was scheduled for surgery.  He continues to improve with only minor pain.

Tomorrow, I head home.  My flight from Mexico City to Houston does not leave until noon.  (I am used to leaving much earlier in the morning.)  I have a long layover in Houston, and my flight to Cleveland does not land until 10 P.M.   It is not an ideal itinerary, but it was the cheapest change in schedule.  I just hope that there are no flight cancelations or delays... especially my flight home to Cleveland!

I will have only five weeks back home in Ohio before I return to Mexico for most of the months of January and February.  Those five weeks will be very hectic.  In addition to the holidays, I have several appointments and lots of things that need to be done around the house.  At least I have almost all of my Christmas shopping already done, and the Christmas cards are ready to be sent.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to start packing my suitcase. 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Swinging Above the Slums

Last Sunday, Alejandro and I traveled on one of Mexico City's new aerial cable cars known as the "cablebús".  Last year two "cablebús" routes were completed and another one is under construction.  They serve densely populated areas of the city where public transportation is difficult.  The route that Alejandro and I took crosses the borough of Iztapalapa. It runs for over 6.5 miles above the district and is the longest aerial tramway in the world.

Iztapalapa is the largest and most populated borough in Mexico City with more than 1.8 million residents.  It is also one of the poorest parts of the city.  More than 40% of the population lives in poverty, and some homes do not even have running water.  It also has one of the highest crime rates in the city.  This is definitely not a part of the city where I, or even Alejandro, would want to wander around on our own, but the "cablebús" gave us the opportunity to see this part of the city from above.

We took the subway to the "Constitución de 1917" metro station from which you can access one end of the "cablebús" route.  The cabins never stop.  As they enter the station, the doors open, and you hop into the cabin as it is moving.  It sounds sort of scary, but it is not.  Each cabin can carry up to ten people.

    And then you head out over Itzapalapa.

In many places you are not that high above the rooftops of the neighborhood, and you get some sense of life in Iztapalapa.  You can see women hanging their clothes on the roofs and young people playing soccer.  You can hear roosters crowing and music blaring. 

At one point we could even see and hear a small parade on the street below in celebration of Revolution Day.

There are six stations along the route.  Halfway you have to switch cars.

There were many places where the houses climbing the hillsides reminded my of the "favelas" of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Toward the end of the route, the "cablebús" crosses the highway that goes east to Puebla.

Just beyond the highway is the end of the line, the "Santa Marta" station which connects with the subway.

What makes the journey even more fascinating is that the construction of this aerial tram has spurred an explosion of street art and "roof art".  Countless walls and roofs beneath the route have been painted, presenting an art exhibit to the passengers above.


Even though the "cablebús" was not built as a tourist attraction, I highly recommend it to visitors to the city.  I look forward to taking the other "cablebús" route on my next trip to Mexico.