Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Enamorada in Mexico City

Yes, yes, I know this is a "Cancun" blog, but a girl with a passion for Mexico has the right to expand her horizons once in awhile! This past weekend I had the chance to experience a place I had never been before, Mexico City or as it's known down here,  "D.F.". I'll admit I went with some preconceived notions in my head, it's one of the largest and most heavily populated cities in the world and I expected to find a big, bad concrete jungle (with some cool museums thrown in the mix of course, I was starved for "cultcha").

Lake Chapultepec

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.

Chapultepec Castle

The next day was a biggie, time to see the sights and act like a tourist. We set off early, errr, too early nothing was even open! We had intended to start out at the Museum of Anthropology but arrived an hour before opening time so we crossed the street to Chapultepec Park. The air was fresh (ok ok, I was shivering with cold, my body is definitely accustomed to the heat of Cancun), the sky was blue and it was a peaceful walk through the lush grounds. The princess in me was drawn to Chapultepec Castle, the former home of "Maximiliano" (I knew I HAD to get some photos for Max of "his" castillo). Wandering the halls filled with history and art was a fabulous way to start the day. We headed back to the anthropology museum, an emotional experience for me, the energy in the artifacts was powerful and it hit me right in the solar plexus.

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)


KfromMichigan said...

Sounds like you had a fun filled and very educational weekend!

Christy said...

Glad you had a great time! I was there in Jan. and loved it. Now the traffic may get on my nerves if I had to ever live there but it was an amazing trip. You need to go back! You need to see a ton more stuff! Glad you blogged about it. People need to change their mind set on what Mexico City really is like.

Steve Cotton said...

It is a great city. I need to get back over that way before long.

CancunCanuck said...

KfromMichigan, it was...DREAMY! :D

Christy, I agree one hundred percent, traffic would kill me but I must go back! I am certainly happy to spread the good news about Mexico City, it gets a bad rap and I think it stops people from experiencing something wonderful.

Steve, I recommend it (but come down this way first, teehee!)

Reaper Stinky said...

I agree with you... Mexico City is soooooo amazing. :D that tláloc sculpture is my favorite aztec culture statue!

Hope to see you again soon, best regards!

Dr George Leddick said...

When "we" went people watching in the red light zone, was that the royal We? Or are you holding out on us?

CancunCanuck said...

Reaper, it's a beautiful city and I agree, that sculpture is stunning!

Dr. George, always reading between the lines, are you? Let's just leave it at "I had a delightful travel buddy" for now.... :D

Nancy said...

I knew you'd have a blast! Love the post, you really capture the most amazing city in the world. Besos!

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Gary Denness said...

It is just such a great city isn't it. I left my heart there too. As I've been making well known, I think. I will be back. We'll have to meet up there one day!

Unknown said...

Hola CancunCanuck. Thanks for the post. I am originally from DF and now live in Calgary, AB. Your post made me happy. Gracias!

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