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Albert Maywood Courtright II

Trip to Mexico, Summer 1940

Sunday, July 14

Bright sun in the morning. Went to Xochimilco. Pestered with guides riding on our car. Parked in narrow lane behind houses where we got a boat for the round trip for $5.00 (Mex.) about a two hour ride. Original asking prices was $10 for one hour. Our boat was called "Carmen." Most boats have tourists aboard but there are many Mexicans with tables & a lunch on the boat. Most of the late comers are Mexicans. Many boats with musicians. Dug out canoes with flowers & all sorts of food. Whole families piled themselves in the little boats along with the articles they were selling. There were several large boats with whole tours aboard. Stopped at a bridge & market for about 15 minutes, then rode back. 40¢ tip for boatman. After a little tie-up in traffic occasioned by the piggish Mexican method of driving we drove on through the town & around by road to the same place we had gone by boat. Alan & Yolande took horses for ½ hr. ride 75¢ + 25¢ tip for the two horses. Walked on down to the bridge & market where we bought a tamale or something, bits of chicken wrapped inside of a tortilla with a hot sauce, fried in grease. It was passable. We ate platanas, cookies & drank cocoa-cola besides. The rain started about 4 pm - rather late - & everybody started for home, though some must have got caught. Stopped to visit old Franciscan monastery and Churubusco. Rain came down in earnest rest of the way home & we encountered a number of flooded streets as usual. Some buildings have sunk below street level & the water was pouring in through the doors. Had to drive through water up to the axles again. In places water races along the curbs for several blocks before finding an opening into the sewer.

Monday, July 15

Decided to stay at home today & rest our knees. Firewood sells for 5¢ a kilo - used for water heaters & cooking. Drove to market where Yvette bought a boiled dinner. Maid came in to make the beds about 1 p.m. Built our fire for water heater at 8 a.m. - before we were up. No rain until after we had gone to bed. Yvette still not sleeping well.

Tuesday, July 16

All of us went downtown in the morning. Got money changed for rent. Yvette had passport picture taken 6 for 2 pesos. Broken down elevator run by small boy. Got films I had taken. Most were good. Salesman spoke 4 languages; Spanish, English, German & French. His mother was French Canadian from Montreal. You can have your car washed or the top painted while you are parked. Work done mostly by small boys who should be in school. Ate rest of boiled dinner when we got home. Small loaf of raisin bread 50¢ (Mex.). Almost bought a roasted chicken for $4 (Mex.) - 80¢ (U.S.). A place on 16 of Sept. St was roasting about 30 at a time on a revolving spit. They looked good. Couldn't find a store selling thread. Got some from a sidewalk vendor. Yolande & Alan both went with friends on the bus. Very few large stores - even downtown. Each store specializes in a few articles.

Wednesday, July 17

Got up early to go to Pyramids of Tenochtitlan. Discovered car hadn't been greased for over 3000 miles. Past the center of town found we had forgotten camera. Turned around & decided to visit Chapultepec Castle instead. After two tries found road leading to top. Declined ever-present guide service & visited the 10 or 12 rooms which were open by ourselves. Arrangement of rooms & furnishings similar to European castles. Upper part of building being renovated. Artist working on murals. Murals in central hall not so good. At bottom of hill visited a museum of natural history. Taxidermy poor. Many horsemen in Charro costume in park. Tried one of the paper sheet pastries & found it OK. Yvette & I went downtown just as the rain started (5 pm). Rain over by time we reached the center. Got film & bought chicken. $4.00 all roasted ready to eat. Had full moon for a short time.

Thursday, July 18

Went to Pyramids for a very interesting day. Yolande & I climbed to top of Pyramid of the Sun. Alan didn't feel so well & Yvette's heart not equal to it. Yvette & I walked over to Pyramid of the Moon which I climbed while she took a double exposure of me. Best view is from here as it is at the end of the wide avenue. Coming back we decided to look for artifacts. Found innumerable pieces of pottery and Yvette found a small statue. We bought two heads of an Indian girl for 30¢ (Mex.) 6¢ U.S.) When Alan saw what we had found he was all ready to go back and look for more. Reconstruction work going on at Temple of Quetzoquatl & near Pyramid of the Moon. On way home got our first view of either Popo or Ixtaxihuatl - a snow covered mountain at any rate. Upper part was in the clouds. Valley looked much greener than when we drove into Mexico. Got home just ahead of the rain - 5:30 EST.

Friday, July 19

Spent the day at home except for a short marketing trip. Got taken to police headquarters for taking pictures in the market place. Let us go then sent us for our tourist cards. They finally decided everything was all right. Another American & his wife were there about the same time. Had been ordered to appear to pay a fine of about 80 pesos for some violation of a traffic ordinance that the wife had committed. Kept Alan in bed all day. Complains of stomach. Has fever 1° above normal. Afternoon cloudy but no rain.

Saturday, July 20

Visited post office. Went shopping but didn't buy anything except three U.S. magazines.

Table of Contents
Sunday, July 7 through Saturday, July 13
Sunday, July 21 through Saturday, July 27

Last modified on 21 March 2017 @ 19:10