Thursday, February 6, 2020

Up, Up and Away

To the north of the Mexico City limits, in the State of Mexico (the state which surrounds the capital on three sides) is the city of Ecatepec.  Ecatepec has a population of over 1.5 million people and is a part of the greater Mexico City area.  It has a reputation for being a very dangerous area, but, nevertheless, Alejandro and I have been talking for some time about visiting a unique attraction there.  In 2016 Ecatepec inaugurated an aerial cable car that travels for three miles above the crowded city with five intermediate stations.  It was built not as a tourist attraction, but as a form of public transportation.  In this densely populated city, it could take more than an hour to travel those three miles from one part of town to another.  There was no room to build wider roads or a subway system, so instead they built a transport system above the city.  Now that distance can be covered in 17 minutes. 

On Monday we decided to experience the Mexicable.  The problem was, how to get there?  Alejandro lives on the north side of Mexico City, not that far from Ecatepec, but he still had to consult Google Maps on how to go there by public transportation.  (We were not going to drive and leave his car parked on the street in that sketchy neighborhood.)  We took the Metrobus near his house to the end of the line, and from there we took the Metro to Ecatepec.  Alejandro then called an Uber to take us to the Santa Clara terminus of the Mexicable.

Outside the terminal are a group of sculptures... a colorful family of elephants.  (I don't know if there is any significance to the sculptures.)

The outside of the terminal is decorated with a painting of Frida Kahlo.

Upon entering the terminal, we bought a rechargeable card (similar to the card I have for using the Metrobus and the subway in Mexico City) with which we could travel on the Mexicable and other public transportation networks within the State of Mexico.  We then used the card to pay our seven peso fare (about 37 cents) and pass through the turnstile.  There is an elevator, but we climbed the stairs up to where we boarded one of the cable cars.

The cable cars never stop, but as they enter the terminal they slow down, the doors open, and it is easy to jump into one before the doors close.  Then they speed up as they sail high over the city.  Monday, the day that we took this adventure, was a legal holiday, the observance of Constitution Day.  As a result not many people were using the Mexicable, and most of the time we had the car to ourselves.  (Each car can accommodate up to ten people.)

And away we go...