My main purpose of this trip was to see some great basketball and we happened to score some amazing seats right behind the scorer's table. Here are a couple stories from the 2 games we got to see at Mexico City Arena:
- Not to complain but, watching the actual game from our seats wasn't great. They were on the same level as the two tables in front of us so we didn't have much of a vantage point. We were right in the middle of the action though. The benches and floor were within 10-20 feet of us and we could hear the coaches yelling plays and every now and then what the players were saying.
- In the midst of the chaos on the first night Richard Hamilton and Shawn Marion both passed by so I greeted each and gave Marion a high-five (which I had done when I was in middle school at a Mavs game!) It was cool to see them up close and how tall they are in person, also how friendly they were to everyone around us.
- The highlight of the game for me was Boban noticing my "Boban is the Real MVP" shirt. This was kind of my goal for making the shirt and it happened during a timeout late in the game. Boban didn't play the entire game but was looking at people in the stands directly behind the Mavs bench in the fourth quarter during a timeout. He began to look in our direction but I wasn't sure if he would notice me. That was, until he grinned and I pointed to my shirt and he gave me a head nod that he saw it! He also had Luka Doncic check it out and they both had a good laugh outside the huddle.
- The San Antonio game was the one I was more invested in as a Spurs fan. It was fun for me to be that close to Popovich and hear him throughout the game. During the first game there weren't really any fans specifically cheering for the Mavs or Pistons, mainly just specific players like Luka or Derrick Rose. But during the second game there were a ton of Phoenix and San Antonio fans. Both could be heard booing and cheering during free throws. It gave the game a great atmosphere especially during the crazy ending.
- The Spurs had opportunities down the stretch to close out the game but the Suns made plays to keep it close. It ended up going into overtime and Patty Mills hit the game winner with about 2 seconds left. It was fun to see it happen on our end too! Go Spurs Go!
Other than the great basketball games we got to see, we had some incredible food on the trip. After thinking about it, I have to say it's probably the best food I've had on a trip top to bottom. We had tacos, costras, and pastor at El Califa. It was so good, we ate there twice!
On Friday between game days we also took a food tour around the San Juan market area. There were 8 stops during the walk and everything was interesting and incredibly delicious. It included a little bit of everything as well- seafood tostada, pulque, stops at the market including grasshoppers, a neighborhood tortilleria, mole, and steak flautas.
After a long morning/afternoon of walking and eating we rested at the hotel before heading back out that evening to visit the Zocalo and see the Christmas lights in the plaza. They were in the middle of setting up some decorations but the large lights were hung on the buildings and ice skaters were practicing for a show on the ice rink.
Saturday before the Spurs-Suns game we visited the National Museum of Anthropology. It has collections that walk you through the periods of Mexican civilization including the Aztecs, Olmecs, and Mayans. We only had time for the lower floor but it was amazing to see some of the artifacts that have been found in the country from past people groups. In the middle I did find a hoop from the original "ball game" that was played.
On the way back to the hotel we walked through a market that stretched nearly all the way from the museum back to where we were staying. It was about lunchtime so of course we stopped and had some food from the vendors.
It was a fun trip that was pretty easy to navigate from Abilene, only a 3ish hour flight from Dallas and easy to Uber around the city. Staying where we did, walking was an option as well. The exchange rate also made everything VERY affordable. And of course the food was awesome!