Arriving at Mexico City International Airport, officially, Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juarez, we were chauffeured in a brand-new, private vehicle to the Hilton Reforma in Mexico City–which was more convenient and fair-priced than most of the taxi services at the airport. We were also able to immediately see our chauffeur holding up a sign with our last name printed on it at the baggage pickup area, allowing us to skip the long lines waiting for transfers.
We were whisked away from the airport. One-hour later, we arrived at the Hilton Hotel. The bell hop extended his hospitality and warm welcome, as he transferred our luggage to our room.
Gazing out our hotel suite window, panoramic views of the city were observed. The hotel is situated within walking distance around the financial, cultural and entertainment center of Mexico City. Cultural centers such as Palacio de Bellas Artes–te Fine Arts Museum, Museo Nacional De Arte–The National Art Museum, Teatro Metropolitan–The Metropolitan Theatre, Torre Latinoamericana, and Alameda Central were on our list for places to visit. The streets were crowded with international tourists numbering more than 14 million a year who visit the numerous attractions of the city each year.
The next morning after breakfast, while sitting at the desk in our hotel room, the building began to shake from left to right about eight times, prompting the hotel officials to immediately evacuate the entire hotel by stairs to the main plaza in front of the building. After an hour, we were allowed to return to the hotel. With a population over 23 million in the metropolitan area alone, protection from an earthquake is a massive undertaking. With numerous seismic activity in the city it is no wonder that this area has been sinking around four inches annually. When we visited the Metropolitan Cathedral, we found proof with its sloping floors, which suggest the building is sinking.
Before we left Mexico City we arranged for a private tour of The Great Tenochtitlan: Mexico City History Tour. After five hours, we learned “Mexico City was built in the years following the conquest in 1521, on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire, in the middle of the now drained Lake Texcoco. Today, it’s the oldest capital city of the Americas, blending native Indian (Nahuatl) and Spanish heritages. It has become one of the most dynamic and exciting cities of the world with it’s highest elevation 12,890 feet and located in the central Valley of Mexico in the highland plateau region.”
We toured the historical centre of Mexico City, listed by UNESCO as World Heritage. Our tour included the “Zocalo”, the heart of the city where we visited the National Palace and admired the famous murals of Diego Rivera and saw the ruins of the Templo Mayor, one of the most important temples of the Aztecs in their ancient capital city of Tenochtitlan.