So it all started when I was invited to teach in Florida. I was buying my tickets and paused to think for a minute if there was any place close to florida that I had wanted to go. Mexico City! A destination that has been on my bucket list for 30+ years. When I figured out a 3-legged flight itinerary, it was around $20 more than a RT to florida. On top of that, Tracy said he had enough points on his Marriott card to get all 6 nights comped at the Marriott Reforma. He must have mentioned that we were celebrating our 35th anniversary because when we arrived, this was on our bed. Little piles of colored rice that had been placed using stencils, and a note that said to dial “0” to get it scooped up.
This was the view from our room at 2am when we got in.
The next morning we went in search of coffee and found this cool spot a block down. I wanted that pink chair bad!
A mexican couple heard Tracy trying to explain to the non-english speaking baristas what we wanted to drink and offered their help with translating. They approached us a few minutes later and offered us a warm mexican breakfast treat they had bought for us. It was such a warm and friendly gesture, it was the perfect welcome to a city that quickly became our most favorite we’ve ever visited.
This fabulous sculpture was a feast for the eyes on our first walk to breakfast.
We asked the concierge if he could recommend someone who we could pay by the hour to take us to some of the local graffiti, some murals and other stuff we had on our list. He called Pedro Velazquez. A 32-year-old sweetheart (with wife and 3-year-old daughter) who studied to be a chef but didn’t want to be down in a galley being yelled at every day…the way chefs do. So he learned english and french, bought an SUV and decided to be a driver. At $15/hr, it was the best money we spent.
After an awesome day, we asked him if we could hire him for the rest of the week. He said yes! Tracy later commented that it was the best trip ever because he didn’t have to worry about finding addresses, parking, driving, Uber’s (which didn’t work out so well for us the first morning)…and Pedro even suggested awesome places to eat. Yes, that chef degree came in very handy! You can bet I picked his brain on recipes and why this or that tasted a certain way. Found out that Avocado Leaf has an amazing taste and is used a lot. Here are some random shots from the first day.
This is Pedro! He was full of information on anything and everything.
The next morning, Pedro took us to Mercado San Juan, a food market he used a lot when studying at the University. This was the first sight.
I saw some taquitoes that some business men were eating here, so Pedro asked for a couple platefuls for us. They were awesome.
These are cow tails. If you’ve ever bought oxtails in the states, this is the untrimmed version. I’ve already decided I don’t want to eat meat and this absolutely solidified my decision.
This little stand sold Lion, Turtle, and pretty much everything else you could never imagine. sad.
Outside this interesting creature was just standing there.
Lots and lots of chicken. ugh.
Below is the outside of The Mercado de Artesanias Ciudadela. It was a great place for buying more authentic handmade items from Mexico.
Outside of a Museum…can’t remember the name…
Pedro took us to El Cardenal for lunch. It was so awesome to have him go in and ask for the best seat in the house in Spanish. He spoiled us. You gotta love it when you can see the ultra clean kitchen.
So this next stop was Templo Mayor, a fairly recent discovery of the main temple of the Aztec City, Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. They are still digging it out but you can walk through it.
At one point, Pedro dropped us off at this restaurant and said to get a little bite while he walked back to the car since we had walked so far. So we did.
I think it was day 3 when Pedro took us to Coyoacan…a part of mexico city but on the outskirts. It was such a relaxing retreat from the big city. This was a big fountain in the middle of town.
Hacienda De Cortez was one of my most favorite things I saw…A grand house that had a restaurant attached.
These are some sights around town.
I had always wanted to try huitlacoche, a fungus that grows on corn. Not sure I need to have it again.
This was a grasshopper dish. Something else I don’t feel I need to ever eat again. But we all ate a taco full of lime-tasting little bugs.
This was supposed to be a paella, but it ended up being soup.
Tracy ordered turkey with 2 kinds of Mole.
Pedro had cornish game hen.
So this is the first time I’ve taken photos of a bathroom but this was just so cool.
Back to the heart of Mexico City. This roundabout is about 2 blocks down from our hotel.
So this night we were sitting outside on the sidewalk only about 10 minutes earlier having a couple of churros when we decided to go get a taco to help balance the sugar. This hail started coming down hard as soon as we were seated and didn’t let up…just got worse 30 minutes later, so we decided to run the 4 blocks back to our hotel. After all, we are Seattle-ites. Well, this wasn’t Seattle and it was the most dense rain we have ever experienced. We were completely soaked through…our shoes, clothes and my mascara was streaming down my cheeks. The other problem was that it was COLD! We finally reached the hotel lobby and looked like drowned rats. I filled the bathtub up with warm water since our room had the air conditioning still on. We finally got warm and sunk in for a night in the room. I had only brought one pair of shoes, but Tracy suggested I dry them the next morning with a hair dryer and it worked! The rest of our clothes were still wet.
This is the building that holds the worlds biggest Mural. It is called Polyforum Siqueiros. I can’t even tell you how magnificent the inside mural is. If you go to Mexico City you MUST go. It’s located right next door to The World Trade Center. I had read something about it but I thought it was just the outside mural panels. When we paid our admission and walked into the room, I gasped. And then I broke down in tears because of the grandness of it. There is so much passion that is seen and felt. Pedro explained that it represents “The March of Humanity on Earth and Toward the Cosmos” and he said that perhaps that was why I had the emotional connection. I think he is right. It’s about how oppressed Humanity has been and it’s near the time when we will have help from our space friends. The artist, Siqueiros, represents this as astronauts from the cosmos. Anyway. It really felt like a very important thing to see and feel for me. Trust me…these photos do not do it justice.
Inside the Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico, this was an upstairs room in which Joaquin Clausell used the walls to sketch, paint and “journal” on. It was closed when we went but I managed to get them to take us up to it to see it, privately.
Lastly, we made it to the Archeological museum below where I took over 300 photos. But this post is long enough and has taken me all day…so I will show the most magnificent reproductions here and call it good.
Final Thoughts. While we had family members who thought we were being irresponsible for going to Mexico, we discovered that it is one of the safest places on the planet. The people were so warm and friendly, bighearted and extremely proud of their country. I’m not sure who or what it is that is at the heart of spreading fear about Mexico, but it is absurd. I feel that Mexicans will have a big role to play in the betterment of Humanity which I believe will happen in my lifetime. Go and discover their rich heritage and feel the passion they still hold from Aztec and Mayan times. There is something magical in their past and you can feel the energy of it. This is my 8th trip across the border and there is something that keeps drawing me back there. And do look up Pedro if you need a very smart and passionate guide who speaks 2 languages and is working on a third (japanese because he wants to go to Tokyo and eat sushi there). I have his email but don’t want to post it. Email me if you want to arrange his services.
ps… I know some of you are thinking…”what?! No Frida Kahlo?” Nope. I wanted to spend my time seeing “off-the-beaten-track” kinda stuff for the most part.
pps….and a big thanks to our dear friend, Michael DeMeng for some great suggestions!