Above: Trajineras line up in the floating gardens of Xochimilco in Mexico City

One of the most pleasant memories of our trip was an afternoon spent exploring the canals in the outlying borough of Xochimilco on a traditional 30-foot-long trajinera, a type of colorful gondola. Using a long, wooden pole, our boatman propelled our craft along the calm waterways past verdant chinampas (floating gardens). This network of artificially made islands bordered by well-stocked nurseries was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Our rainbow-colored trajinera was equipped with a bright red-and-white wood banquet table and 12 slightly rickety turquoise-painted rush-seat chairs.

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