After Querétaro, Peña de Bernal, San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, I finally take you to Mexico City where I had an incredible time and where I ended the year 2015 in the best possible way.
It was my second time in the Mexican capital (story of a week-end here) and I was glad to have the opportunity to go back there because my list of things to do and to see was still long. Actually, my list is still long today because Mexico City is so big that you can definitely not do everything in few days.
So, what did I do for this second-long week-end? First of all, as soon as we arrived at night, we went for some “street tacos”. The question which is recurrent and natural that you may ask: would I not be sick? I won’t lie: you can be sick. I mean, it’s a possibility. But fortunately, it is not a constant. It’s not because you are not in a gastronomic restaurant that you will necessarily have an indigestion. Besides you can perfectly be sick after having eaten in a restaurant which is apparently clean: sometimes we don’t see the condition of the kitchen…The idea is simply to follow the flow: street tacos are a “must to do” in Mexico so go for it!
The day after, early in the morning, we took the road to Teotihuacan, one of the most important archeological site of Mexico, located at approximately 1h30 from Mexico City. It can be a bit less or it can be way more if there’s a lot of traffic (which is something really common in Mexico). We went by car, but there are regular buses from the Central Norte station (ticket around 80 pesos: less than 4€).
The history of this “City of the Gods” is not precise and historian’s points of view are diverging. It seems that Teotihuacan was built between the 1st and the 7th century and that it was one of the most powerful cultural center in Mesoamerica. The most important and the highest building of this archeological site is the Pyramid of the Sun. You need to climb 243 stairs to reach the top and have a global view on the whole site. At the north of the Pyramid of the Sun and walking along the Avenue of the Dead, there is the Pyramid of the Moon. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to see them, it seems that the Pyramid of the Moon houses human remains and offerings (jade, shells, jewelry, obsidian…) as well as human burials.
It’s hard to imagine that Teotihuacan was a complete city by the past, counting around 25 000 inhabitants. It activates your imagination to be there, trying to reconstitute in your mind how people were living at this time. The site is simply spectacular and definitely worth to see.
After Teotihuacan, despite of our tiredness (well I was not that tired but the others yes!) we went with my better half to Frida Kahlo’s house, a dream for me which came true. Frida Kahlo’s “aficionados” became a trend, something fashionable. The image of Frida itself, more than her paintings, are everywhere: handbags, wallets, phone protections…I deplore it. I understand that the character of Frida can fascinate, but I regret that many people run just after her image without knowing anything of her art. I wanted to visit her house because this place has a strong history. This is where she grew up and then shared her life with Diego Rivera. This is where she painted so many canvases. This is where she developed so many feelings, attached to her family and her bus accident, that she then relayed into her paintings. When you look at a Frida’s painting you literally face another world where she elaborated her own language. It’s full of symbols, far to be always aesthetic, but strongly poetic. This is this language that people must try to decrypt or simply see. When I face a Frida’s painting, I feel “taken” by her language, taken in another world. This is what should seek people instead of buying a wallet because it’s trendy to move around with Frida’s face. Or maybe, at least, buying something related to Frida’s image because we really have a particular affection for Frida’s work.
The house also, located in the nice area of Coyocan, takes you to another world. It reminded me the colonial houses seen in San Miguel de Allende with the inside garden and rooms organized all around. All the place was really well maintained and colorful: I especially remember the yellow kitchen and the intense blue of the structure itself. Moreover, some Frida’s clothes were exhibited from her traditional Tehuana dresses (wore by women in the region of Oaxaca in the South) to the medical corsets that she had to use as a result of her bus accident.
The limit? As the place is highly touristic there’s always a lot of waiting, it’s pretty crowded inside and you have to pay more to be allowed to take pictures! Since when do we have to pay a supplement to take pictures???! I really dislike when culture turns expensive. But it’s business.
To celebrate the New Year, we went at night with the big family of my sweetheart to the nice Japanese restaurant Suntory (part of the family has Japanese origins) which was playing music and had a dance area for the occasion. I have to admit that if I like Mexican food I was happy to change of diet for once! Mexican cooking is far to be the healthiest in the world and at this time (one year ago) I didn’t have manage yet to learn how to not gain weight while consuming Mexican food. I also have to admit that I missed my friends in France with who I am used to spend New Year’s Eve but if we think about it, with the time difference, they actually already had their party and were sleeping. Conscious of that I had the reflex to text some early in the afternoon. I think that by being abroad we always have a bit of melancholia sometimes. But then we realize that we are also having incredible experiences. Finally, after 5 months in Mexico, I was sitting down in a Japanese restaurant in Mexico City with amazing people who had opened me their arms. What else could I have asked? I had everything. Actually, I got even more at midnight when I said “yes” to my better half.
The 1st of January, we started the year 2016 with some pancakes, a bowling game, a walk in the city and a good burger in La Condesa at night. Pancakes, burger…it doesn’t seem to fit with the “good resolutions” of the year! But no matter. At this time, I knew that I had less than 2 months before going back to France and that there I will lose weight (and I indeed lost weight when I went back). I really like the area of La Condesa in Mexico City and I definitely recommend it. It’s walkable, young, animated, full of bars and little restaurants. It lives!
I remember that I was in this pub, with my better half, his brothers and his cousin, and that I felt grateful. What can be better than starting a new year in a country which is not yours, where you can sometimes feel alone, but where you have met good people who make you see things differently? It was the end of an incredible road-trip through the Spanish heritage of colonial cities in the center of the country. It was also the end of a year which brought me to Mexico and which was telling me that Mexico was actually only a beginning.