Arriving in Mexico City

1 01 2013

This past week whirled by with the sights and sounds of shuffling feet, scrumptuous food, and new friends.

My partner and I arrived in Mexico City on the morning of Christmas. We popped out into the sunlight after catching the subway to the Zocalo center. Street performers dressed in what I assumed was traditional Aztec dress danced to drums and bells while smoke filled the air. After adjusting to the very crowded and chaotic scene, we oriented ourselves to Hostel Cathedral which was located behind the Metropolitan Cathedral at the heart of Zocalo plaza. After check in, we sauntered into the streets where Rock received a 10 minute massage from an old man with deep wrinkles who exclaimed the powers of his arnica rub. We entered the cathedral and listened to part of the Christmas mass admiring the 16th century architecture, golden altars, and excessive reliefs and overly ornate columns. Apparently this Cathedral is the oldest in Latin America and rests on the ruins of an old Aztec temple.

More meandering took us deeper into the throngs of Mexicans celebrating the holiday. An ice skating rink and snow mobile track were set up in the middle of the plaza and the surrounding buildings were adorned with massive garlands and illuminated holiday decorations. Police strolled the streets like cats and stray mangy dogs teetered by. We filled our bellies with tacos de pollo from a small taco shop before heading to bed.

The following day we headed to the National Museum of Art. The museum housed an incredible contemporary art wing where artist Alejandro Pintado juxtaposed bold colors and lines to transform traditional artists work including several religious pieces and many from Velasco. Also  works from Gaugin, Cezzane, Rodin, Seurat, Monet, Renoir, Lautrec, Diego Rivera, and Kahlo lined the sterile walls and pretended poverty did not exist outside . But street venders, disabled elderly, and child beggars lined the streets throughout most of the city.

Our next stop was at the Museum of Modern Art which was located near the Chapultec metro station. Navigating the subways in Mexico is incredibly easy and cheap–only 3 pesos (25 cents).An amazing collection of surrealist women artists filled the museum including Frida Kahlo. Near the Belles Ares metro station we found a cafe on Montalina Ave. where musicians and street performers clogged the streets. Some tortilla soup and nachos were had before jumping on a Turibus for a night tour of the city…..