Sunday, 25 February 2018

Mexico City

Our Hotel in the Historic City Centre

It's been awhile since I sat down to write anything.  I don't know if i am getting lazy or that we have been too busy.  

We did get off to an interesting start.  As we were riding in the back of a taxi to downtown, we experienced a Mexico City Earthquake.  Before we twigged to what was happening the taxi driver indicated to us to be calm.  He stopped in the middle of the street and we saw people streaming from the buildings and running to the centre of the street.  As a siren wailed we saw the look of fear in their faces.  Clearly the memories of last October's major quake, that resulted in hundreds of dead and injured, were still clear in their minds.  The trees swayed and we bounced up and down in the back seat of the car for well over a minute.  We didn't see any immediate damage but as we continued on to the hotel many people remained standing outside and appeared unsure whether it was safe to return.  Much of the historic portion of the city is built on fill.  The Spanish filled in lake that first attracted the indigenous settlers to the area so the city is prone to earthquake damage.

Our goal during our four days in Mexico City was to soak in as much culture as we could. We have been to the city before but most of the time it has been a short visit while we have been in transit to other places.

We have toured the city in the past by bus and bicycle.  This time we were determined to walk.  Walk we did, averaging between 7 and 8 kilometres each day (measured thanks to Deborah’s fitness type bit.) 

In this post I have let the pictures tell the story.

Our first stop was across the street to the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption – Catedral Metropolitana de la Assuncion.  Apart from the art and architecture the interesting piece of the visit was looking at the giant pendulum suspended in the centre of the church.  The Cathedral is sinking (remember eh lake) and the markings on the floor below the pendulum indicate the amount of building movement over the years.

Located on the Historic Zocalo

The Pendulum

One of Two Huge Pipe Organs

The Other One

Marks the Buildings Movements Over Decades

The Zocalo Constitution Square – Zocalo Plaza de la Constitucion is always the centre of some kind of celebration or protest.  This visit was no different.

Views From our Hotel Breakfast Terrace

Indigenous Dancers in the Square

Right next door to the Cathedreal is the National Palace – Palacio Nacional.  It was once the seat of government but is now a Museum of Culture and the headquarters for the National Army.  We may have found an answer to why every Mexican reacts with a shudder and throws their arms around themselves when you mention you come from Canada.  In the Museum of Cultures there is a Canada section.  It is devoted to snow and explains that Canadians live in snow 5 to 6 months of the year.  It is dedicated to all the things we do to embrace the cold in our culture.  I guess none of the anthropologists ever visited the lower mainland of B.C.  Then again, maybe they did this year.

Original Meeting Room of the Congress

The Courtyard Displays the Vegetation of Mexico

Has Many Murals by Diego Rivera

The Murals Depict the History of Mexico's Culture

Posing In The Canada Cultural Section

After a long walk we discovered the Fine Arts Palace – Palacio Bellas Artes.  
This is a beautiful building that serves as a performing arts centre.  Unfortunately there wasn't a ballet to attend.  Deborah is insistent that next time...

The Pop Art Museum – Museo de Arte Popular was a short visit.  A tribute to the Bug.  Volkswagen stopped making these in 2002.

A visit to the National Art Gallery was a hit.  Not only was the fine art worth a look, the building itself was inspiring.  Definitely worth the visit.

Painting of Mexico City's Beginnings

Montezuma Meets Ortez (Before Ortez Pissed Him Off and He Promised Revenge)

Interior Courtyard Shots

Getting Better With Selfies

We couldn't miss a few pics about dining.

Dining at El Cardinal 

Not Many Gringos

We did take a tour out of the city to view the Teotihuacan Pyramids (the Sun and the Moon) located just outside of the city.  Hector was our guide for the day and our party included a couple from Victoria, another from San Antonio, two from Minnesota, and a couple of young women from Dallas. 

The Grey Line Charter

Stop at the Tequila Store

Yes That Is a Worm

That is the Sun Pyramid in Background

From the Top of the Sun

Hanging Over the Edge

And That is the Moon Pyramid

Ever Present Trinket Sellers 

It is a Long Way Down From that Step

I can't end this entry without confessing to being possibly scammed.  I was sitting in a Starbucks waiting for Deborah while she got her nails done.  I overheard a well dressed man speaking on his cell phone with a British accent.  He was speaking to someone regarding the loss of his wallet and not having any identification.  When he was done speaking a Mexican English-speaking man approached him and offered to help get him in touch with the British consulate.  The man explained that he was just speaking to them and they couldn't help him.  He explained to the Mexican man that his wallet was stolen and that his passport was locked in his rental house safe in La Paz, a long distance away.  He thanked the Mexican man but said he didn't see how he could help.  I approached him and asked if there was anything I could do.  I felt sorry for him.  I am usually a distrusting individual and in this case I determined that I felt sorry for this guy regardless.  If he was telling the truth, I wanted to help.  If he was scamming, it was elaborate (including a doctor's bag full of medical instruments), and if he was that desperate for money, I wanted to help.  Long story short, I am out a few hundred as I shelled out for bus fare to return to his rental house in La Paz.  Days later and we have still not received an email.  I guess, lesson learned.