Mexico City was founded by the Aztecs in 1325. At that time they were known as the Mexica people. After the fall of the Toltec Empire they migrated to a Valley of Mexico where, after some resistance from the natives, they managed to build a home on a small island on the side of Lake Texcoco.
That village quickly grew and by 1500 was a city four times the size of London. To meet the needs of the population more land was reclaimed by building canals and islands and now the city has spilled over into the surrounding countryside and has 24 million people.
One of the clearest remnants of that island living is found at Xochimilco, the Lake of Flowers. Brightly coloured boats called trajineras ferry tourists through the canals. Each boat is given a ladies name. Countless other boats flit between them selling food and drinks or delivering a busking mariachi band.
I read that to get their attention one simply waves and they’ll paddle over. Unless I was mistakenly waving a lot they will gladly get on your boat without invitation and try to sell you trinkets. The drinks and corn snacks are welcome, but the jewellery is a bit dodgy.
Most of the mariachis are guitarists, so the occasional xylophone player is a fun relief.
Whole families come to Xochimilco, charter a few boats and tie them together. Once the barbeque is installed and the beer on board, they have a great time.