ammunition
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Mexico City Or Havana?

Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:36 pm

Where would you go?, what would your recommend?

Im considering a short city break, maybe 5 days, the prices are reasonable at the moment so why not!

Its one or the other and while i know the countries have much to offer i am gong to limit myself to a city break/local area and relax a little rather than be rushed off my feet.
Saint Augustine- 'The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only 1 page'
 
AM744
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:54 pm

Mexico City:

Pros:
- Cheaper. You'll have to change whatever currency you bring to pesos. Exchange rates are better now than they were six months ago. (Almost $20MXN per GBP)
- Prehispanic, Colonial and Modern culture and architecture.
- Lots of museums.
- Easy to get around by subway. ($2MXN per trip)

Cons:
- Arguably insecure. (You'll be fine if you excercise the awareness level that you use on any other foreign big city)
- No nearby beaches. Not sure if this is a problem for you.

Havana:

Pros:
-You could arguably get to go to all the interesting landmarks in 5 days.
-Relatively nearby beaches. Again, not sure if you even care about that.

Cons:
-No preshispanic stuff. Colonial buildings are less and smaller than in Mexico City.
-The whole "Convertible Pesos" scam s**cks. Food is expensive and not that good. All in all, you DON'T get what you pay for. Economy is not healthy and it shows.
-No viable public transportation.

Think of Mexico City as an odd mix of New York, Sao Paulo and Mumbai and throw in some prehispanic ruins and the colonial grandeur of the biggest and richest Spanish ex-possesion and you know you got to come.

At the end of the day, it's a matter of scale. I think I'd choose London over Dublin.
 
nitepilot79
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:13 pm

Mexico is like a [email protected] war zone currently; maybe if you "blend in" you would be fine. Cuba (IMHO) would be like (as a US citizen) a hauntingly-compelling-ironically-seductive-cigar-smokey-beautiful girls-time of yo' life kinda place. Although maybe I've seen too many movies and read too many books and my imagination has gotten the best of me  goodvibes 
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:41 pm

I'd pick Mexico City by a long shot. I go there yearly to visit family, and I know my way around pretty well. I never get tired of going there. The traffic can get annoying at times but what very large city doesn't have that problem?

Definitely check out Xochimilco, Teotihuacan, Bellas Artes, the Zocalo etc. The whole downtown area is huge and has amazing architecture.

Also the approach into MEX is one of my favorites, specially when they use the ILS for 5R. Brings you really low over the city and in between some of the mountains.

Here's a video of the full approach:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU7fV9C78xo

Quoting Nitepilot79 (Reply 2):
Mexico is like a [email protected] war zone currently; maybe if you "blend in" you would be fine.

So not the case. Yes there's issues in some areas but it's no freaking Iraq for shits sake.

Quoting Nitepilot79 (Reply 2):
Although maybe I've seen too many movies and read too many books and my imagination has gotten the best of me

or you're smoking good stuff. can I have some?
 
csavel
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:02 am



Quoting Nitepilot79 (Reply 2):
Mexico is like a [email protected] war zone currently; maybe if you "blend in" you would be fine.

not Mexico City, maybe Juarez or Nuevo Laredo. Use the same caution you'd use in any big city. I've been to both I'd pick Mexico City. it is an extraordinary metropolis, can hold its own against NY, London Paris. The mix between Spanish and Native American is endlessly fascinating. How the cultures merged to form a unique third culture is one of the most extraordinary stories of civilization.

Plus now that I am having a hard time finding muy interesante at newsstands in NY, where else can i brush up on my Spanish.

The anthropological museum itself is worth a couple of days, throw in Teotihuacan, the downtown Zocalo, La Zona Rosa, Coyoacan, Trotsky museum, Frida Kahlo museum, side trip to Cuernavaca.

Mmmm wonder what the fares are from JFK?
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
 
captaink
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 10:43 am

RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:31 am



Quoting Nitepilot79 (Reply 2):
Mexico is like a [email protected] war zone currently; maybe if you "blend in" you would be fine.

I don't know where you are from, but lets put things into perspective using Turkey. Mexico is almost 3 times the size of Turkey. So considering the fact that the entire country is not a war zone, where exactly is? You have to be mindful of that. The border towns right now have been known for their major drug wars recently, but Mexico City is a couple hours flying from any of them.

Mexico City is one of the biggest cities in the world with unique big city problems. It can be unsafe if you act stupidly, but that would not be the City's fault entirely now would it.

Mexico City is awesome, this coming from someone who is not from Mexico. It is simply fascinating and there are endless to do. You best bet is to go there with someone though, I don't see it as a city where one would like to just explore alone. But Havana and Mexico City are incomparable. It depends on what you are looking for.
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JAL
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:09 pm

With the flu outbreak, Cuba would be a better choice!
Work Hard But Play Harder
 
ALexeu
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:19 pm

I'd go for Havana while it is still classical (e.g. old cars etc.). Plus you get a chance to fly on old Cubana airplanes...

Quoting AM744 (Reply 1):
Arguably insecure. (You'll be fine if you excercise the awareness level that you use on any other foreign big city)

I didn't know that, but I have expected it. Is it safe to walk at night in MEX?
 
photopilot
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:31 pm



Quoting AM744 (Reply 1):
The whole "Convertible Pesos" scam s**cks. Food is expensive and not that good. All in all, you DON'T get what you pay for. Economy is not healthy and it shows.
-No viable public transportation.

What a load of nonsense. I spend a month in Cuba every year for my annual winter vacation and I can't think of a better spot to experience a unique cultural experience. The CUC (Convertible Peso) is not a scam at all. It's simply the "hard-currency" equivalent and is used for almost everything. It's a closed currency, so it's not traded outside Cuba, but it has real value, buys real services, and isn't any hassle to use.
There is some great food in Cuba, though it's not a society that uses really hot spices such as Mexico. But if you actually get OFF the tourist resorts and sample some of Havana's many fine restaurants, you'll not be dissappointed, or hungry. Public transportation is available, cheap and it does get you around. For intercity use, the Viazul is bloody marvelous.

Quoting AlexEU (Reply 7):
I'd go for Havana while it is still classical (e.g. old cars etc.). Plus you get a chance to fly on old Cubana airplanes...

There's not too many of the old Russian planes left anymore. For domestic flights, they often use ATR 42 and 72's, though there are still some YAK-42, and AN-24's on some flights. The IL-62's are now all retired, but if you're around Havana's Jose Marti, some are still around the perimiter in various stages of salvage.

Cuba is a great country to visit and it offers a unique society and frankly, it's got a sense of deja-vu like stepping back to the 1950's or earlier. Don't sell it short.

S.
 
captaink
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 10:43 am

RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:55 pm



Quoting JAL (Reply 6):
With the flu outbreak, Cuba would be a better choice!

Right now, it should be the only choice. Things are pretty chaotic here right now. In fact another option would be postponing traveling for a bit.
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LTU932
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:00 am

If it wasn't for the current flu outbreak, I'd definitely pick Mexico City if I were you. That being said, even with the outbreak, I'd still pick Mexico City.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
MadameConcorde
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:48 am

I would say go to Cuba. The island is still not tourist invaded and they have some of the best medical facilities and very good doctors in case you have any problem.

I would not go to Mexico (the country and cities) with the new virus strain. I'd still travel but not to Mexico.
There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
 
AM744
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:10 pm



Quoting Photopilot (Reply 8):
I spend a month in Cuba every year for my annual winter vacation and I can't think of a better spot to experience a unique cultural experience.

I don't dispute the cultural experience factor.

Quoting Photopilot (Reply 8):
The CUC (Convertible Peso) is not a scam at all. It's simply the "hard-currency" equivalent and is used for almost everything. It's a closed currency, so it's not traded outside Cuba, but it has real value, buys real services, and isn't any hassle to use.

The thing with CUC is that it's expensive to get them (even USD command a 10% surcharge) and prices are blown out of proportion. Far from feeling welcome as a tourist I felt like being juiced or something.

As stated in my original post, this shouldn't stop any tourist from visiting Cuba, it's just a "con" in my list. Nothing more.
 
KLM685
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:44 am



Quoting AlexEU (Reply 7):
I didn't know that, but I have expected it. Is it safe to walk at night in MEX?

It depends on where you want to walk... Mexico City is ridiculously big to have interesting spots to look like. Although I would take a stroll in downtown if it's not past 10, or walk down Masaryk at night to see all restaurants and cafes open, etc...

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 11):

I would not go to Mexico (the country and cities) with the new virus strain. I'd still travel but not to Mexico.

The media makes it look as if the city is going out of control (which is fortunately not), 1000+ possible infected out of a 20 million population in the city is of course nothing. That said I would recommend you coming to Mexico City, just not right now. More than being safe, the experience of watching everyone having the surgical masks on is well quite bothering. It's not the experience we want you to have in Mexico City.
KLM- The Best Airline in the World!
 
AM744
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2001 11:05 pm

RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:43 pm



Quoting AlexEU (Reply 7):
I didn't know that, but I have expected it. Is it safe to walk at night in MEX?

It is for the most part, as long as you don't are blatantly touristy carrying a big camera around, jewelry, etc... I second KLM685; doing it on a low profile, preferably before 10PM won't get you into trouble. In recent years the Historic Center has got it's act together and surveillance is frequent.
 
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Braybuddy
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RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:14 pm

No doubt Mexico City is off your list now, and while it otherwise would have been a good choice, being the vibrant city that it is (it's dangers are greatly exaggerated), your best choice is Havana. I say this because it really is unique, frozen as it is in 1959 in many ways. It's like stepping into a time machine and whisking yourself back fifty years. This is all going to change when the regime finally collapses, as it inevitably will do, like the Soviet Bloc twenty years ago. So go and experience it while you still have the chance. When this 'flu epidemic subsides, in ten, twenty years or more, Mexico City will still be the exciting and lively Mexico City it is now.
 
captaink
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 10:43 am

RE: Mexico City Or Havana?

Sun May 03, 2009 2:50 pm



Quoting AM744 (Reply 14):
It is for the most part, as long as you don't are blatantly touristy carrying a big camera around, jewelry, etc... I second KLM685; doing it on a low profile, preferably before 10PM won't get you into trouble. In recent years the Historic Center has got it's act together and surveillance is frequent.

The Historic Centre has changed drastically.. When i first came to Mexico it was a crazy marketplace behind the Palace and what not, last week I was in the City, went there and almost didn't recognize the place. Good work. Do miss finding strange things to buy though. The thing about Mex, generally speaking is that you have to look like you know what you are doing, and people don't bother you with or without big cameras and avoid places you would avoid in any city, everyone knows what such places may look like.
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