I love Mexico City

19 Oct

My long-weekend trip to Mexico evolved and the night before I left I boldly stated “I have never felt more prepared for any trip, ever!” Except for the fact, to quote Helen, “you haven’t even packed yet.”.

Boom, good point.

I threw all of my items into a carry-on purse, except for a huge umbrella which I had to hold seperatly and didn’t use one.  I had heard it was raining and what was more appropriate during rainy season than to accidentally leave your favorite umbrella at an Airbnb forever.  “Dearest umbrella, I hope your new Mexican family loves you as much as I did.”

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La Ciudad de Mexico

I stayed in a gorgeous, tree-lined part of the city called Condesa, on Calle Amsterdam, and despite both the reputation of Mexico City and a street named Amsterdam, no one offered me any drugs during my entire stay in Mexico.

Before I had arrived lots of people not currently living in Mexico warned me to “be careful”.  And I was! But if Mexico City distanced itself from the name Mexico might it improve its international reputation?!

I read a wonderful guidebook called Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler (that I took as law), color coded my maps.me, and my wonderful friends — Brett, Dana, Bety, Nicholas, and Ben — offered advice, companionship, and photos that shaped this spicy trip. 

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Arte in the parquet.

I dropped off my bag (and umbrella *sigh*) and headed straight for tacos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Literally the best tacos I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.  And that plastic coating made for a cheap and easy clean-up plus an efficent  turn-around!

I watched the ordering procession before choosing a broccoli and steak taco, I think.  My Spanish was good enough to order the food but surprised by what came (and what didn’t come).  I scarfed down whatever type of AMAZING tacos I had been served and ordered two more before I realized that my mouth was on fire.  I tried unsuccesssfully to hide my distress as I bought a bottle of water from a laughing Mexican at the stand next door.

“Picante?”, the man chucked as he handed a bottle over and tears streamed down my face.   Mexico has a standard level of spice with plenty of options to add more heat.  Despite my reaction, I really did love it.  The tacos were so fabulous that they rivaled (in both taste and price) the street food I had eaten in Thailand.

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Lard is an actual ingredient.

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Free condiments making each bite tastier and sloppier than the last.

In Mexico, street-food is an honour system.  You order, stand to the side, eat, order more, eat more, maybe order again, and finally pay.  There can be 30+ people standing around full-joying.

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Amazing Taco al pastor from a friendly man.  An adaptation from the Middle Eastern immigrants.  Turkish-Mexicans. Cool!

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Blue corn flatbread. And I know that’s not my hand because I’m growing my nails.

I ate chilaquiles, mole tamale for breakfast, all the tacos, chile nargota with pomegranate, taquitos/flautas, string cheese, fermented pineapple (not good), coffee that didn’t wave, horchata that tasted like chai, a beer version of a salty bloody Mary, and always, always  bottled water.   Except for once when we ran out and melted ice from the freezer to brush our teeth.  Resourceful times.

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Conspicuous lack of burritos.  Did you know that’s a United States concept????!

For dessert there were dulcerias and bakeries with old-fashioned hand painted signs.  They were pretty and busy but unfulfilling.  Strong preference for TACOS.

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Chocolate covered figs (bottom right).

—————

After years of being apart, brilliant Dana and I got to reconnect in Mexico City!!  “What benevolent forces made this happen?!” It was with gusto that we saw each other everyday.  I was wowed and inspired by her fluent, Argentine Spanish.  We caught up, laughed until we cried, and talked lovingly about the sweetest Paula.

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My darling, outroverted Dana!

There was so much to see!:

  • A shop where they fixed bicycles and chopped meat; hind quarters and bike tires were hanging from chains around the garage.  We didn’t eat there.
  • A shop where they both cut hair and sold tacos.  We also didn’t eat there.
  • Mariachis.  Standing on the side of the road, trying to get work.  You could hire them for an entire day to follow you around or sing to your girlfriend on her birthday.  Allegedly, different coloured hats meant they were from different cardinal directions.
  • The mystery of the organ grinder: Why isn’t there more variety?  Is it just an old fashioned boom box?  Do they control things other than the speed at which the sound comes out?
  • Diverse architecture and an excessively positive Museo Nacional de Antropologia experience explained to us by the wonderful Frederico, pictured below.  His friendship made exploring and finding more food a pleasure and I have the newly married Bety to thank!  I am eternally grateful  ❤  Muchas, muchas gracias!
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Matching glasses.

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This picture is because of the one you sent, Nicholas!

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The Mayans thought people with Downs syndrome knew something.

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Flying men in Chapultepec!  HUGE thank you to Antonio for answering (and looking up) every single bizarro question that I had!  I was mesmerized.

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Mexico City has a higher elevation than Denver, Colorado.

 


 

 

Lucha Libre, elegant sounding words, no? — Like a foreign film or “free lunch” — But in actuality it’s Mexican wrestling.

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The masks for sale outside of the venue. We, of course, bought some.

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“This is not how I work up but, it’s how I look now.”

The event is a family affair and the smell of microwave popcorn hits you as soon as you walk into the arena.   At an early age kids started training — similar to signing your child up for Taekwondo you could sign your niños up for Luche Libre clase.

2 hours of pure entertainment. Good guys vs. bad guys, long standing disputes, and dozens of actors whom we knew nothing about.  A full impact event, these people destroy their bodies, throwing themselves off of the stage and into the isles. I loved it!  The sport — and I do think that’s the right word — is popular and wasn’t as funny as we’d thought it was going to be because it was actually really cool.

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El Conquistador and La Samurai.

 


The next morning, in stark contrast (and because I’m a humor thrill seeker),  we went to church.

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The most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world.  An 8:30am service with a children’s choir.  In the center of this photo is the Virgin de Guadalupe, the Virgin Mary with a different skin colour. Those empty seats up front were filled by a parade.

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Preciousness.

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Postcards of the Pope, he’s wearing a sombrero bottom right.

Mexico City and I had a Honeymoon.   There were blue titled buildings that reminded me of Portugal and jungle gym intricacies filled with happy children.  The harassment was barely there, no men kissed at me or tried to touch me!  The people were polite, kind, and courteous, even as I navigated through busy markets.  The begging was minimal.  The dogs I saw (and I saw heaps) were well-groomed, without mange, and all on leashes.  Where were the strays?!  I was continually impressed by how wonderful of a place Mexico City was!!

Other notes: cool temps, older folks dancing in the park, horrendous traffic, a hot-rod extravaganza (!), parques galore, the modern day library Biblioteca Vasconcelos, that flower market!!!!!, Mexican furries, and why would you eat anything other than tacos?

 

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My (double) Quinceanera’s coming up.

Love, from the top of the Mexican Angel of Independence,
‘mi

2 Responses to “I love Mexico City”

  1. Jerry Pitts October 19, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

    Sooooo fun Sammy!! We visited there and several other cities in MX 20 yrs. ago. Loved the people, food and hospitality. Thinking of spending time this winter in Xalapa and Oxaca too. Love you, Kathy and Jerry

  2. Paul Garcia October 20, 2016 at 2:34 am #

    For some reason I’m now in the mood for tacos! Thanks for posting!

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