04.08.2009 - 12.08.2009 27 °C
I´ve been lazy with my blog & left it a week and a half now... so be warned for a long update:
Being sensible last week paid off.
My throat felt much better on Tuesday, so after a taco + tomato omlette breakfast, Nick and I decided to meet up. Elisa´s sister Milena and cousin Cecilia came with me to show me how the metrobuses work & where his hostel was and we arrived there around 2pm. Nick and I then set off for Chapultepec park where we walked around lots... and ate even more! 3 ice-creams (greeeedy!), cheesy tacos, fruit salad -with cactus fruit :-) ...pffff, hard work! hehe... Then around 6pm, we had some hot chocolate whilst waiting for Elisa and Arthur in Park Mexico (as it was raining). We then went to play some pool at Bar Malafama and got home around midnight.
The next day, Nick and I decided to check out the Frida Kahlo museum & we arranged to meet at 11:30. Elisa´s mum offered to drop me off in town earlier (as she was heading that way anyway), so I went to the ´Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil´ (a nice little modern art museum) whilst I was waiting.
I then headed to the meterobus stop and waited for Nick for 45 minutes and, after texting & trying to call him with no reply, I decided to go to the ´Museo Estudio Diego Rivera´ without him. I didn´t find it great- basically, it was just his studio and some odd bits of art- and Frida´s section was closed to the public (!), but once I had seen it, I finally received a text from Nick (he had arrived late & his phone was having problems) so we met up outside the studio & set off to find ´Plaza San Jacinto´- supposedly a fairly easy-to-find park/square nearby. It took us about 1.5 hours to find it!
At the plaza, we had some lunch. I had a ´gringa´ tortilla- with taco ´al pastor´ (spit-grilled meat- a bit like Shawarma/döner), cheese (Mexicans love their cheese!) and salsa. Yummmyyy! And for dessert, we had ´Pie Helado´ (= ice-cream pie!).
On our way to Frida Kahlo´s museum, we walked passed an ice-cream place where they dip different flavoured ice-cream popsickles in chocolate sauce with any additional coatings. Nick and I couldn´t resist the temptation (the Pie Helado was forgotten) and we both had a raisin-flavoured one, coated in chocolate sauce and nuts. It was...sweet. So sweet in fact, it made me feel a little ill! :-( No more ice-cream for me (*uhum* that day... )
From there, we got a taxi to the Frida Kahlo museum (this was where she also used to live) & I really liked it- the outside is painted completely blue with orange around the window frames- very pretty :-) And there were lots of paintings by her & Diego inside, along with a little gift shop and a garden. We then walked to the Trotsky house, but arrived just as it closed, so we headed back to the meterobus- walking through ´Viveros de Coyoacan´ park on the way, which was really nice & has lots of squirrels (this got Nick excited).
I then got the bus to Elisa´s house & when she got back from work, we watched ´Happy Feet´. Yay!
The next day, Cecilia offered to show me around Zócalo- the historic centre of México City. Elisa´s mum dropped us off at one of the metro stations (Viveros) and we continued on to Bellas Artes*
- Metro´s are pretty funky here- at every stop, someone comes in, loudly promoting something random s/he is selling -and I mean RANDOM- from CD´s to flowers, batteries, light bulbs and even origami paper!!!. Then, at the next stop, they get into the next carriage and do the same there.
Once we arrived at Bellas Artes, we went straight to the ´Museo Franz Mayer´, which was apparently displaying a World Press Photo 2009 exhibition. Once we got in, we were told that the exhibition wouldn´t be ready to be viewed till 8pm (!), so we had a look at the other stuff instead. There was a really interesting exhibition made by blind artists for sighted people, to show how they perceive the world (Becky- I thought of you here...). It was in a dark room and, after sterilizing our hands, we had to feel each piece of art. -Interesting & difficult to do- really makes you realise how heavily we (sighted people) rely on being able to see. After the museum, we checked out a Church (Santa Veracruz) which is visibly sinking.
- Nerdy note: México City is sinking by about 10cm per year due to the depletion of the water level below the city.
We then carried on to Alameda Central, where we had a quick peek at the ´Palacio de Bellas Artes´ (classical opera house/concert hall) and the 44-storey ´Torre Latinoamericana´- the highest building in México City at the time it was built. We then headed to ´Casa de los Azulejos´ (House of Tiles), which was really beautiful- both inside & out. From there, we walked to the ´Museo Nacional de Arte´, where Cece´s friend joined us, but the museum didn´t seem to have anything interesting on display, so we moved on to plaza de la Constitución (a.k.a. Zócalo).
Unfortunately, the square itself was taken up by a huge tent, displaying some sort of exhibition, so we didn´t get to see the square in its ´usual´ state (i.e. good views of the buildings from all directions) but nevertheless, the building´s (especially the Catedral Metropolitana) were very impressive. We took a 30-minute guided tour to the roof of the Cathedral (where I re-discovered my fear of heights!) and got a great view of Zócalo. The guide explained how they´re trying to save & monitor the building from sinking further (the Cathedral is apparently the largest & oldest in Latin America...it looked heavy to me :-) and it surprised me how obvious it was that the building is indeed sinking- its all lopsided! Was hard to keep balance walking around it...
We then had a quick look at Templo Mayor & went into the Palacio Nacional to check out Diego Riviera´s murals and garden. By the time we were done, it was almost 5pm, so we headed back to ´Casa de los Azulejos´ for dinner. I had ´Caldo Tlalpeño´- my new favourite Mexican dish -a chicken broth made with avocado, rice, garbanzo beans, cheese-blocks (once again, obviously...), rice and chipotle chili (which I would have eaten whole -ignorant me- if Cece hadn´t stopped me!) ...And, as if that didn´t contain enough carbs, I had bread and dorito´s with it...deeeeelcious! I really recommend it :-) We then walked to an amazing little ice-cream parlour, had some yummy ice-cream & made our way home: bellies satisfied :-)
The next day (Friday), Nick and I had another little ´cultural day´ in Park Chapultepec.
When I arrived, he´d bought me a huge flourescent pink candy floss and strawberry drink, so, being full of sugar, we walked up the hill to check out the Historical museum in the Castle. Half way up the hill, thinking it was the historical museum, we checked out the INAH museum- a snail-shaped building explaining the history of Mexico in statues (in Spanish)... my Spanish is definitely not that advanced yet, so basically, I didn´t learn very much. But the statues were interesting....and the building had a nice ceiling, hehe...
We then carried on to the Castle and got some good views of Mexico City. The Castle itself was also impressive, full of paintings, old furniture and archaelogical artifacts. From there, we walked to the other side of the park to get to ´Museo Nacional de Antropologia´. We got there at 4:45 and the museum would close at 6pm, so we whizzed through it & managed to at least see all the rooms. It is HUGE and incredibly impressive. Soooo much to see! My guide book says you should take out 2 days to view the whole collection (!) and we did it 1 and a half hours...so we really didn´t do it justice. Next time, I will reserve at least a day for it :-)
After that, we got a taxi to the Arena Mexico area, had some dinner at a taco stand (nopales, cheese, beans etc)...yummy! And some coffee at a nearby restaurant, and we then headed to the Arena to go see the Lucha Libre wrestling! It was WICKED!!!! :-) Absolutely loved it- the crowd goes crazy and its all pretty fake and dramatic, but really fun. Elisa and Arthur joined us there later and I bought myself a ´Mystico´ headband to support the wrestling hero (though he actually lost that night, hehe..). We then drove to a bar which does different flavoured ´Mezcal´ (= similar to Tequila) shots and I had a caramel-flavoured one. Yummy... just like Baileys actually.
Early the next day, Elisa, Gina (a friend who was on Elisa´s marketing course), Milena, Cece and I headed off to Taxco. We stopped at ´Tres Marias´ for breakfast and arrived in Taxco around 12:30. Elisa managed to park the car (with great difficulty as the streets are incredibly narrow & busy) and we walked around the main square to see the ´Santa Prisca´ Church. We then had lunch on a rooftop terrace overlooking the Church and we then started an epic shopping session, as Taxco is famous for its silver. The jewellery there was gorgeous- so much choice! And the town is really beautiful, with steep cobbled streets and lots of colourful buildings. Around 7pm, we had dinner at another restaurant overlooking the Church and then headed to Elisa´s aunt´s house- about 1.5 hours away. Once we got there, I was shattered! Too much shopping (hard day) so headed to bed early.
The next day was spent lazing about Elisa´s aunt´s house: drinking beer, eating, swimming in their pool and sunbathing. The weather was amazing and by the end of the day, we all had lovely, bright red skin... *ouch* -may be we took the sunbathing a bit too seriously! We got back to Mexico City around 9pm.
Then, on Monday (i know, i know...this blog is getting too long), I met up with Nick again and we spent the day walking around the Plaza de la Revolution area- rather aimlessly & just enjoying the weather, checking out lots of market stalls (I bought 2 more pairs of earrings...as if I didn´t have enough!) and eating lots of yummy goodness. This made me decide that I am now getting rather plump & that going to the gym might do me some good, so the next day, I got up early and used the gym in Elisa´s house. I then headed into town to meet Elisa as she was going to view the apartment her parents have just bought (Elisa will be moving there once the contract is signed)- and the apartment is gorgeous! Was all envious and am secretly hoping she´ll get the keys before I leave Mexico so that I don´t miss the housewarming party :-)
After the viewing, I made my way to Bellas Artes as I wanted to check out the World Press Photo exhibition (attempt numero dos)... but getting there, I annoyingly found it closed. Arrgghhhhhhhh!!!!! :-( So, instead, I wondered around the area for a bit and arranged to meet Elisa and Arthur at 7pm at the main University stop. I texted Nick & we both met up at the station at 7pm, where Elisa came to pick us up and took us to a gorgeous little plaza in a town that´s been swallowed by the city, i.e. its now part of Mexico City. There we had dinner whilst listening to some live-love songs (gorgeous singer, hehe...) and then had some profiteroles at the Italian nearby (I know, not very Mexican... but they were goooood!).
Then, today, I spent the morning doing my laundry (as Elisa and I are leaving for Merida (Southern Mexico) tomorrow). I then met up with Nick and we went to the Museo de Leon Trotsky again, which was really worth going to (last time we tried, the museum was closed). Feeling lucky, we then decided to give the World Press Photo 2009 exhibition one more try and this time, it was open!!!! Yay! Finally got to see the exhibition, and it really was worth it. Glad we went :-) We then had some lunch at Casa de los Azulejos, where Elisa called me to come home as Mexico was playing America (football) and she was worried something would happen to us. Apparently Mexicans can get quite rowdy, so, once again being sensible, I decided it would be best not to take it too lightly and listen to Elisa and head back early. So now, I´m back at Elisa´s place, typing this blog whilst I really should be looking up hostels for tomorrow.
Our flight leaves at 7am, so I think we have to wake up around 3am...early early... but I am really looking foreword to it :-)
We shall be seeing flamingoes, caves, pyramids and sinkholes (hopefully)... can´t wait!
So that´s the update.
Mexico has really been fun so far, though it seems that here- like in Cuba and Panama- the time just flies by...3 more weeks and I´ll be back in Holland! I can´t quite grasp it... so I´m choosing not to think about it & just enjoy my time here whilst its all still happening instead :-)
Ok... must go pack now...
Hope you are all having a good week (so far) and that you have an even better weekend!