What I discovered was something completely different. A magical place, all the things I love about Toronto and Chicago and New York City rolled into one with something extra, like a spicy salsa thrown on top of my favourite metropolises. This city is ALIVE, pulsating, vibrant and warm, and yet still somehow laid back enough that I never felt a moment of anxiety or heart-racing panic. Most surprising was just how green it was, soaring trees everywhere, plants and flowers lining the streets and beautiful parks with sculptures and bubbling fountains.
Angel of Independence
I only had one short weekend but I made the most of it, packing in some of the city's highlights and seeing the things that had most piqued my interest. I arrived on Friday night, checked into the hotel and set off for the "Zona Rosa", getting my first glimpse of the famous "Angel of Independence" statue lit up in the night as I walked. I filled my lungs with big city air and felt refreshed as we meandered past packed restaurants and bars filled with young and old alike, bookstores and coffee shops and neon pink "love" stores. I enjoyed tacos on plastic chairs as I let the sounds of the city wash over me, sirens and honking and car accidents and laughter. We found a tranquil bar inside a huge book store and drank civilized drinks and people watched the street below us. My big city heart was full and happy and I was exhilarated.
Tlaloc at the Museum of Anthropology
In the afternoon we hooked up with my "amuga" (labeled forever due to an iphone typing error) Cristina of the fabulous blog "Mexico Cooks". We wandered an artist market and she then took us to eat the BEST pozole I have ever tasted. Nap time followed, then a great Argentinian dinner and a night of belting out tunes in a karaoke bar. And not to brag, but I DID win a bottle of champagne in the karaoke contest.
Historic center with the Torre LatinoAmericano in the background
The next day was spent in the historic center, wandering the delightfully crowded streets, seeing the monuments, towering sky scrapers set amidst the old buildings, the cathedral, the Palacio where the President of Mexico delivers his famous "El Grito" speech and spending time in Bellas Artes admiring the murals and paintings. I couldn't resist lining up for a "limpieza" (a cleansing) by a shaman from the Mexica tribe, he banged my body with a small, hard fruit, brushed me with leaves, sprinkled me with some liquid substance and blessed me with abundance, prosperity and love. I've decided I am a firm believer and all those things are coming my way.
Mexican shaman blessing CancunCanuck
It was a jam-packed weekend, full of adventure and energy, physical and emotional exhaustion set in and I got on the plane feeling strangely tired and elated at the same time. Mexico City, my dear D.F., estoy enamorada, encantada! Perhaps the shaman put a spell on me, or maybe it was just the magic of the city but I've left my heart in D.F. and I know that I will be back soon.
(for all my photos, check out my "Mexico City" Flickr set)