As my time in Mexico City ran out, I decided to revisit some places I liked and did not take another tour. I had planned to visit Teotihuacan which is 25 miles northeast of Mexico City. The pyramids there were the most architecturally significant in Mesoamerica in preColumbian times. It was the largest city in the Americas in the first half of the 1st millennium CE and the sixth largest city in the world with a population of 125,000 or more. I regret not pushing myself, but next time.
I had seen it many years past and I remember climbing to the top of the Pyramid of the Moon. But to be honest I’d run out of steam. Touring is exhausting. Sometimes I like to give it a rest and just go to the places I like that require little effort and usually please me.
So my Concierge Ariel urged me to visit a small museum on the Alemeda just a short walk through the park from the Palacio de las Bellas Artes. This little museum hosts the 1947 mural by Diego Rivera called”Sueno de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central.” “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda.”
This wonderful mural was originally displayed in the Prado Hotel. In 1987 an earthquake destroyed the hotel but the mural survived intact. It was transported to a safe place until the museum could be designed to house it. Again Rivera has invited us to meet all the famous and not so famous personages in modern Mexican history including him, of course, and Frida Kahlo. He appears as a boy holding the hand of the Calavera Catrina front and center and again on one side as a chubby adolescent his eyes closed in a dream. Diego paints La Calavera Catrina with a feather stole symbolizing Quetzalcoatl.
The Catrina was created by a skilled engraver, Jose Guadalupe Posada, who played with the design in various publications. She is now most famous for the Day of the Dead celebrations.
There was an interesting show upstairs focusing on the Rivera-Kahlo relationship with Chinese artists post-Revolution. The Chinese were interested in documenting their current social and political life in mural style. Note Frida depicted in a wheelchair.
I walked back across the Alameda Park and crossed Avenida Juarez to the beautiful Art Deco Sears building. They have a tiny cafe on the 8th floor looking right across the street at the Bellas Artes. You can get a coffee, sandwich, a sweet, or a smoothie and gaze across the city and beyond.
Then I walked back on Juarez and passed the beautiful monument to Benito Juarez. I think you could say that the Mexicans hold Juarez in the kind of esteem and awe that we hold Lincoln. Juarez was the first “Indian” to become President of Mexico.
Then I walked to the Hilton where they got me a cab back to my hotel. Take advantage of this when you can–at any hotel. They never ask if you’re staying at the hotel. You will be insured a driver who doesn’t overcharge and a safe and careful ride. I did have a rather harrowing ride one evening after the Folklorico performance in what appeared to be a metered taxi but once in the car no meter. We agreed on a price–by now I knew what it should be–and half way there he asked me to go with him for drinks. When I declined he asked me if I was too tired to go dancing. At this point I was pretty nervous, but when I stopped responding, he dropped me right in front of my hotel and that was that. I have no idea what I said or did to provoke his behavior. Who knows.
One night I wanted something tasty and more upscale that Casa de Tonio. I walked to the Marriot on Reforma. I had a great dinner and the most amazing service. I also had a wonderful chat with Alexis who was my server. He likes 60’s American music and plays guitar in a band. Since I’m a 60’s girl I gave him a playlist of my idea of the best of the 60’s. It was such fun. He spoke good English and was a very nice person.
I had stumbled on Roma Norte one day when I got very lost and said this is the place I’d live if I ever had occasion to move. Some of the most beautiful buildings I’d seen were there circling a wonderful park–Plaza de Rio de Janeiro. Lots of dogs being walked. Lots of interesting people strolling or coming home from work. And a lovely fountain with David in the center sans fig leaf.
I went back to the Marriott Mansion my last day for lunch. By luck they have live music Monday – Friday in the hotel during lunch service. The 4-man group “Son entre 4 y mas” set up near my table and the leader, Javier Matias, came over and asked what I’d like them to play. Not Cielito Lindo! I opened my trusty iPhone to my play list. Went to the Linda Ronstadt album Canciones de Mi Padre which has kept me company in all kinds of places. They were so excited and proceeded to play numerous of these lively Mexican rancheros. We were all happy!
So a wonderful two weeks were over. I could not have been more pleased with my time there. I would rank Mexico City right up near the top of my favorite cities–that includes Roma and Paris.