Year Two

Flowers for the birds and the bees

I have lived on Samish Island now for one year and three months. It has been a year of learning and adapting and change. Mostly it has been good and mostly I am happy. There are things I miss. The companionship and community of my long-time friends in Seattle are foremost. I am making new friends on the island and in the nearby sweet town of Edison.

The months of July and August and now September have raced by. We have had a wet and cool May and June and then it got hot and has stayed hot.

My little raised planting beds have hosted lettuce, chard, and kale and cherry tomatoes and one little red pepper. The squash are now in full reign towering over everything even climbing over the top of a five foot wire basket—delicata—and zuchini. Lordy! So many zuchini!

The packets of wild flower seeds I sowed in the spring produced a sea of bright blooms still going strong and the deer didn’t eat them! They did eat the leaves of the strawberries. But the surprise was the French Sorel which I sowed in rows in a container. That sorel has produced several devine tureens of soup—delicious chilled and warm.

And so life goes on. Ups and down. Harvesting what I have sowed. More surprises to come.

Clematis entwined with Hydrangea

CONCUPISCENCE

I’ve rarely heard this word spoken. I know what it means and when Emma Thompson spoke it in her role as Nancy in the film “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” I was surprised. Later I thought it was the perfect time to trot that word out and think about it. It means strong desire, especially sexual desire. And, for the first time in her life, Nancy was greatly desirous of many things related to that topic. The scene where she reads her “wish” list to Leo is a momentous moment for her and, I wonder, how many of us have a like list with no one to fulfill it? Or no one who is able or willing to fulfill it?

I see Cupid’s name buried in concupiscence. Cupid or Eros was the child of Venus and Mercury. The word cupid came from the Latin cupere which means to desire. I’m sorry in modern times that Cupid is portrayed as a fat baby with a tiny bow and a quiver of arrows. I prefer the depiction of Eros the Greek’s god of love and sex as shown above.

You might remember that lust was one of the 7 deadly sins. Joining anger, covetousness, envy, gluttony, pride, and sloth which were a heavy burden for early Catholics to bear. The relief of their sins often entailed giving money to the church and receiving other penences meted out by clergy. Well, of course, Nancy would know all this—she taught religious education during her career. She was very well versed in concupiscense. In theory, if not in fact!

I don’t know if you have seen the movie, but please do. It is marvelous for many reasons. Older women, young men, sexuality, body image, sex workers, marital sex, nudity, candor, honesty, and yes, lust, all handled in one film shot mostly in one room, with two very talented actors. Daryl McCormack, Leo, in the film was pitch perfect in a role that could have gone wrong and did not. And Emma Thompson, brilliant! A Goddess!

I was moved, blazingly happy, wishful, jealous (a deadly sin) and hopeful as I watched the film spellbound. I cried at the end—for joy, really. Nancy and Leo’s conversations took place in one small hotel room, over four different sessions. Nancy learning to ask for and receive what she wants: intimacy, orgasm, and self-awareness. And Leo got what he needs: understanding, trust, and respect.

Maybe we should consider adopting a more vigorous and virile image of the god of love, sex and desire. It might be a very positive change. It certainly was for Nancy.

Upon Waking

I took this picture just after I woke up. An altar to beauty and an altar to memory. Each item on that table, including the table itself, evokes a memory of person, place—a moment—in time past. I suppose if Marcel Proust can write an enormous book about searching for memories of past times, I can manage a blog post.

I have just marked four months in my new home on Samish Island—no boat or ferry needed—a land bridge was built from earth dug up by early farmers in the valley to build dikes to keep their farms from flooding. I live in a little house built in the late 19th Century. It began life as the Atlanta Tavern. And later it became the home of early pioneers on the island. I’m sitting on land between Padilla Bay and the Samish Sea which was the home of Native Americans for hundreds of years. It is very beautiful.

So that table. Wood with inlaid marquetry. Slender. Just the correct size to stand across from the foot of my bed. It belonged to my dear friends, Jeff and Helene. They gave it to me when they left Seattle for Brooklyn. I think of them each time I touch the table.

At one end of the table I have placed a beautiful 19th Century etching of Jerusalem—the city on the hill. My sisters Rebecca, Deborah, and Troya bought it for me when they came to visit Seattle many years ago. I was very touched at their thoughtfulness. I love the golden light. The winding road up to the city. I remember my first visit to Israel and the road from Ben Gurion Airport taking me up the hill. What a long ride that was so many years ago. So many stories, lives, so much history.

But what catches your eye, the star of the show, is the glorious hand- painted maquette—a weavers guide—that runs almost the entire length of the table. It is painted on paper—old, wrinkled but still vibrant. Sound like anyone you know?

I bought that piece from a dealer in Tacoma many years ago for my wonderful store in Seattle—Found Objects. Actually, I bought maybe a hundred or so of similar pieces which I pinned to the very high walls in Found Objects creating a visual symphony. Each piece in varied size, design and color was somehow harmonious together. I sold all of them save this one.


Memories of Found Objects are always happy ones. I am touched when I meet someone who remembers the store and tells me about something they own that they bought at the store. I feel so honored to know that they found a treasure that made them happy. Found Objects was a work of love. A joy. Wonderful staff, wonderful customers, and a wonderful landlord—Melvin Poll—may he rest in peace.

Tall candle sticks made of odd pieces of plumbing and pipes kinda eccentric and irregular suit me just fine. Their dangling crystal drops seem incongruous among the pipe fittings but they make me smile.

The two Chinese bowls I bought from Mike at District are holding blue stone grapes—more offerings to the gods. The bottle of fragrance, a gift from a friend, is also. Aren’t all offerings clouded by mirrors and aromatic smoke?

Lying flat and not easy for you to “read” are some old—very old—scraps of decorative molding. (I shot a separate picture so you can see more detail.) I picked them up out of boxes lying beside the walk way in Florence. Scraps salvaged from the flood that ravaged that city in 1966. Some institution must have been cleaning out its storerooms because I was there in the late 80’s. I took as much of the small carved wooden pieces as I could stuff into my back pack. This larger one was a treasure since it is painted a deep red with gilt trim. I assume there were many such pieces put out for the taking. No one even seemed to notice or care that I was picking from the boxes. I am always reminded of Florence, Rome, and all the other places I visited over many years when I see these lovely pieces hand carved by artisans living hundreds of years ago.

Sitting on top of the painted wooden trim piece is a gift from Curtis Steiner. He came to my home for dinner and brought this along. It’s a sheaf of wheat made of gold wire. You often see these sheafs in the hand of statues from ancient times. I imagine to indicate abundance and good harvest. Curtis is a master at creating an abundance of beauty wherever he treads.

The crystal-handled brush and several others similar to it were purchased at a big out door flea in lower Manhattan. They were all sold at Found Objects but I kept this one. If I remember correctly, my dear friend Betsy was with me on this shopping adventure. She would trundle me from 156th and Riverside Drive where she lives in her trusty old Subaru and schlep me and all the stuff I bought back to the packing store. You’ll hear more about Betsy soon. We’re about to embark on a big road trip from Manhattan to Bal Harbor, Maine. Stay tuned.

The yellow Chinese pot is waiting for an orchid or some other perfect posy to rest inside. I bought it at Housewright Gallery a beautiful store in Seattle I believe the pot is conventionally filled with artists brushes, but I don’t have any of them, so a plant will have to fill in.

We’ve come to the end of the tour or my altar. I am a fortunate woman and I am grateful. I offer the closing words from Mary Oliver’s poem

“The Place I Want to Get Back To”

”If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named
Gratitude.”

Mother’s Day

PAELLA PARTY ON MOTHER’S DAY

I began this day reading a text message from Peter which had been preceded by a great card yesterday. Then a long call with Nick topics ranged from being alone (me) and being taken up in the lives and living of a busy father (him).

I had just listened to David Whyte, the poet and author, discussing the value of rest and taking time to be alone with ourselves. I believe my move to this small, remote island was very much about being alone with myself. Having been alone rarely in my life, I am reveling in it now. Solitude is for me a glorious thing.

But Nick reminded me that finding community and friends in this new home I’ve come to—now almost a year—is vital. And he’s correct. It is. And so I took myself to Edison, the nearby town founded in the late 1890’s, where a paella feast was scheduled today.

The venue for the paella adventure was Slough Food one of my favorite places in Edison. I don’t eat paella—shellfish is not on my food list—but I enjoy the place and the people and the rest of the menu which is very tasty.

So alone, and not alone. Two ways of being. Each salutary, each enriching.

Atmospheric Rivers and Other Strange Things

On November 12, while attempting to cut a recalcitrant squash in half, I managed to damage my left rotator cuff. Within two hours I was assaulted by crippling pain so acute I could barely move. Early that next morning having spent the night popping Tylenol and dozing upright on a stack of pillow, I had a virtual visit with a physician in Spokane! Yes. I live in Skagit County.

This kind man said I had probably torn my rotator cuff, I needed and X-ray and perhaps an MRI, and Physical Therapy. Fine I said, but the pain. What about the pain? Keep up the Tylenol.

Let me say, and anyone who knows me will verify this, I am not a hypochondriac I am not a whiner. I avoid medical establishments like the plague. I am and have been a very healthy person. So when I say I cannot bear this pain—I cannot bear the pain. I, once upon a time, gave birth to two boys—two and a half years apart—natural childbirth. That is my bar for pain. This shoulder pain was in second place.

Throughout that long day I placed calls, texts and chats with my health care provider asking for pain relief. Nada. On the 17th, I asked a neighbor to drive me to the Mt. Vernon Regional Medical Center ER. She did. After waiting several hours, I was taken for an X-ray of the shoulder and then seen by a kind, responsive doc and sent home with 6 tablets of hydrocodone.

I could relax, I could sleep, I could manage gingerly such things as dressing—in loose things with raglan sleeves, clogs, sweats and so on. I didn’t fix food—I had no appetite. And I slept. Sleep does “knit up the raveled sleeve of care.” It allows the body to heal. By the way, pain pills did arrive from my primary care provider on November 20–8 days after my injury.

So here I am today able to key board, wash dishes, prepare a limited cuisine. Open bottles and pop tops of cans, dress, undress, shampoo my hair, take a walk but not drive. Not yet. My left hand and shoulder begin to ache if I use the hand too long holding the arm crooked at the elbow for as long as it’s taken me to write this makes it hurt. So I have to stop now. But I’ll be back with some of the funnier things that ensued and reflections on distance and solitude. And facing the reality that getting help needs to be planned and in place not a spur of the moment response. No one can plan for every contingency, but I can do better—I must.

Have you ever tried to shampoo a big mop of curly hair with one arm and one hand? Forget the shampoo. Have you tried to wash yourself with one hand. And even more taxing, dry yourself after the shampoo and shower? I realize there are many people who cope with disabilities every day and I now have greater respect for what they must do to accomplish routine self -care.

After I took that shower—first in ten days—I was unable to dry myself. I ended up just rolling on the quilt on my bed and air-drying my hair. Thankfully, the ambient temperature was pleasant. Getting dressed was also a challenge. Certainly no bra—no way—anything over the head, painful. Raglan sleeves, good. Sweats yes. Laces on shoes, not possible. Great jolts of sharp pain would remind me anytime I tried to move my arm away from my side. Mostly I kept it safely tucked on my chest where it liked to stay.

It was so hard to make something to eat. Friends brought soups—easy to manage with one hand—but meal prep was hard. Opening a jar? Not so fast. Pop tops, good. But I had no appetite—I lost five pounds during the first two weeks. I just didn’t eat.

Eventually, with meds and Physical Therapy, the kindness of friends who drove me to PT, and bought groceries for me, I got better. The PT was wonderful. It’s six weeks after the bout with the squash and I am functioning fine. Still tingling in the left hand if I keyboard too long. And most activities are doable. I am still careful with my arm, and have some tender areas. It’s important to keep up the exercises the PT doc gave me. I’m not as diligent as I should be, but when I do them my arm feels much better .

The Atmospheric River dried up or rather converted into a a snow storm on December 25 which continued for several days shutting everything down until January 3. An overnight rain and warmer temps melted all the snow away. I’ll be able to drive somewhere this week.

SNAKES, BEASTS, AND EDISON

I moved to Samish Island—once a true island now you drive on. Many people visit Edison a wonderfully charming little town in the gorgeous Skagit Valley founded in the late 1800’s, Edison has a funky arty vibe. But few come to Samish Island unless you live here or a friend does. There is no commerce at all on the Island, but scenery abounds as well as heron, eagles, and all kinds of small birds whose names I do not know. Deer, and perhaps other small beasts—I hope so—but haven’t seen any yet save once when I spied a young deer nibbling something in the garden bed. S/he left a large brown blob as a calling card!

S/he may be ruminating on the all the leaves of my strawberry plants just consumed.

Sitting quietly on my $10 purchased-at-a-garage-sale wicker chair on my porch is the best. Usually a bevy at hand and a book on my lap. Early morning—birds sing and the two mile loop walk beckons. Early evening birds sing, breezes whisper, the Samish Sea and Padilla Bay shimmy and shake as the glorious sun sets.

But I wanted to write about snakes or serpents. Yep. I bought a marvelous linen table cloth and as I examined it carefully saw that the brilliant artiste Nathalie Lete who designed it used winding snakes to slink around the cloth’s border. I’ve never been a big fan of snakes, but I resolved to love these creatures because I adore the tablecloth.

Here’s that slinky snake.

I’ve wondered why my immediate impulse is to turn and run when I encounter a snake. I don’t think my response is really fear, I think it’s two fold: the suddenness of a snake’s appearance in my path and the psychological message we’ve been given that snakes are bad. I think that stems from Genesis. Eve or Hava, is bad—she disobeyed the rules—she took a bite from the apple. And both Eve and the serpent are punished.

I’ve thought a lot about this lately and I think Eve was curious and intelligent. She wanted to have knowledge. Good for her! I’ve never been very good about following rules either. All this is to let you know that when I was gardening a few weeks ago a little green snake came sliding by quite near me. I stopped, stayed still and watched. S/he moved along smoothly and silently. Where to, I don’t know. Out of sight.

So now I know to watch out for this visitor. To watch where I shovel and hoe. To be alert for another visit. I’m also told that her/his visit was an auspicious moment. That it was a “howdy to you, new girl” from my small, silent neighbor.

All’s Well That Ends Well

I spent most of last week in bed.  No, not that, sadly, in bed with a bug.  I did something very foolish.  I had the touted quesadillas of one of our neighbors.  She sets up a table on Friday afternoons and makes delicious quesadillas which she sells for 15P.  Normally, I would never do something so foolish, but my host raved about them and has had them numerous times and is of course inoculated against local bugs.  He lives here.  So I took my plate home and ate them.  They were very good.

Later that afternoon I walked to The Rosewood to spend the glorious hour before the sun sets ensconced on a banquet at their chic rooftop bar with an unobstructed view of The Parroquia.  I ordered a mezcal cocktail (when in Rome etc.) and some guacamole and chips.  All delish as was my server, Jose Antonio.  Seriously, he was able to converse intelligently about Sapiens–a book that has daunted many who have opened its covers–I am one of those people–though I plan to give it a go again when I get home.  He has been at The Rosewood since it opened eight years ago.

Then I took a taxi home.  The driver, Paco, a personable, attractive guy who had written across the top of his windshield in beautiful script “Nunca te olvido.  Te amo siempre.” 

As I paid him, I asked,  “What’s her name?”

“Luz,” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“She found another.” he said sadly.

“Es impossibly! Ella es tonta!” I said.

He smiled.

I got out and walked home.

I wasn’t especially hungry at that point, but I made myself a bowl of rice and called it  day.

Hours later, I awakened to a ferocious head ache, chills, sweats, and gasping discomfort. I made a mad dash to the bath room, not quite making it. I lost everything I’d eaten for the past hundred years.  Right there!  Boom!

The next morning I awakened groggy and unable to move.  I was being prodded.  I did get up and looked into my little purse and, as my subconscious suspected, no wallet.  I had the change from the taxi driver when I paid him, but no wallet.  I realized it had fallen out in the taxi probably as I was getting out of the car.

Darling Luis, came in to check on me and I told him.  Both of us were ashen.  Again, stupidity prevails, that wallet contained my credit cards and about 3,000 P.  Thank God, my passport was safely at home.

I called my bank.  There is very little they can do but cancel the cards and, I was about to authorize them to do so, when Luis came to the door, face beaming, he had called The Rosewood, the taxi driver had turned the wallet in to their Concierge.  There was no cash or change in the wallet, but all the cards were there.  Later that day Luis and River ran to The Rosewood, picked up my wallet and left a big tip for the driver.

Have I vowed to mend my foolish ways?  Will I wear the little pouch Rick Steves sells under my shirts?  (Yes, I have one.) Probably.

I said a prayer of thanks, and went to sleep.  I pretty much slept for the next three days missing days one and two of the Writers Conference (more on that to come).  I dragged myself to the Conference the third day and all the other days feeling better each day but no appetite or energy in sight.  I’m sure both will come back!

“Mejorando,” as they say.

 

 

 

 

Wandering

I’ve had a couple of low energy days–maybe a little bug–so have slept a lot–that and tea are my principle responses to a bug.  Yesterday, feeling a little more energetic, I walked down Cinco de Mayo and headed to the organic farmers market.  Didn’t see anything I had to take home so I decided to head back up hill and walk around the neighboring Colonia Guadiana. It and San Antonio where I’m living are trending upscale (says the real estate ads) but I would classify them as solidly middle and working class neighborhoods.  There are tours of the homes of the “rich and famous” which I might sign up for later in my stay..

What interests me is the delight in color here.  I think color is an inherent quality of Mexican life–perhaps even DNA.  I remember the Aztec high class had capes made from the colorful feathers of tropical birds.  So delight in color goes back a long way.  You just marvel at the streets lined in sherbet colors and more vibrant paint.  Most homes extend to the sidewalk–if there is one–sometimes there is an entry courtyard.  Of course what we can’t see are the lovely interior patios and roof top gardens that usually exist.  River and Luis’ home is a perfect example of that architecture.

Enjoy!

Afternoon light in my bedroom

Buenas noches

Adios

 

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Across was Toscano, a terrific restaurant.  Seating outside looking at the park and fabulous food.  I went there twice.  Each time I was very pleased with the food and the service and the ambiance.

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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.

Jumex, Soumaya, and Museo de Antropologia

I am a museum nerd.  When I’m kinda tired, overwhelmed, and don’t really know what I’m doing a museum is just the place for me.  And if I’m alone, so much the better.  No one to urge me to hurry up.  No one to judge my choices.  No one to insist it’s time to 1.  eat, 2. leave 3. find the bathroom 4. chatter about and comment on the nature of my current object of fascination.  It’s really best if you just leave me alone and arrange for a time and place to meet later in the day.

I have this dandy little book published by Phaidon and authored by Wallpaper’s City Guide series on Mexico City.  It’s a guide that is very carefully curated and makes no attempt to be a comprehensive guide to the city.  It’s only interested in places and sites that are laudatory.  The introduction is most complimentary of the city of today: “Mexico City no longer begs a visit.  It demands one.”

Being slightly brain dead, I took a taxi–Yes, a taxi.  I know there’s a great metro.–to Museo Jumex and it’s neighbor across the tracks, Museo Soumaya both in Nuevo Polanco.  The austere design of the Jumex is clothed in sand colored travertine blocks and topped with an unusual sawtooth roof.  Cutting edge modern work occupies three floors.  There is a cafe that offers simple but good food at reasonable prices.  The 50P entry fee is waived for mature visitors.  Very kind indeed!

I started at the third floor showing an exhibit on the impact of TV on modern culture.  The piece I most enjoyed was a video which I took to be a commentary on the Mexican soaps which are notorious for their dramatic plots and divas.  The video featured a cast of individuals ranging from a 9-year old boy to several good looking men and women.  Every single actor cried, wept, sobbed, and struggled to control trembling lips, and leaking eyes.  They hugged and sighed and threw themselves on couches, chairs, and beds throughout the video.  It was well done and amusing.  I don’t know how the actors were able to produce so many tears.

Next Museo Soumaya.  I saw the train tracks when I arrived but was surprised that they were functional. As I was exiting, a long train rumbled along the space between the two properties .

The Soumaya is a breathtaking design.  The exterior is covered in scale-like metallic tiles which mold to the sensuous structure.

Entering, the first piece I was drawn to was a large mural by Diego Riviera “Bano de Tehuantepec” or “Rio Juchitan” 1953-1956.

A scene of women bathing in the river and a man with his son who doesn’t want to have a bath.  It is composed of glass Venetian mosaics.  It is vibrant and beautiful.  (I just photographed the ends.)

The interior stairway circles up the 4 floors each dedicated to artifacts ranging from coins to furniture to paintings of Mexican history and life.  It is an interesting collection.  My favorites were a collection of folding screens that are remarkable and in superb condition.

Even more noteworthy was the behavior of the numerous elementary and middle school  students who stood quietly and respectfully listening to the docent.  I found it amazing.  It caused me to reflect on the children I taught when I was a teacher in California many years ago half of whom were Mexican American.  They too were absolutely respectful and polite.

I had a light lunch and realized I needed to rest.  I almost took advantage of the floor mats scattered about for napping art patrons.

Instead I taxied back to the hotel and slept for 12 hours!

The next morning I headed out to the highly touted Museo Nacional de Antropologia located in Chapultepec park.

On Sundays major streets are closed to traffic and people on foot, bikes, pushing strollers and walking dogs fill them.

There is only one entrance open to the park on Sunday and getting there takes much longer since the taxi has to circle the entire “forest” depending on the direction you are coming from.  Nevertheless, I arrived and entered.  There are ticket kiosks which I recommend using as the lines at the ticket windows are long.  The entry fee is 75P about $4.00.

I would guess that the majority of the visitors were Mexican families.  No strollers.  Children either walked or were carried.  A sea of multi-generational families  Many of the kids had workbooks they were writing in as they gazed at exhibits.  I gathered schools assign their students to go to the museum.  And why not!  It is amazing.

Lots of the exhibits are replicas–clearly the Pyramid of the Serpent no longer exists–but the replica is fabulous and huge conveying some of the dimension and splendor of the original.

The building is a U-shape two story modern building which begins at ancient history and anthropology and concludes at modern times.  The tall fountain in the courtyard is a wonderful way to cool off.

The first floor circuit took me 2 hours. 

The second floor which I almost passed on–I was tired and hungry–I liked the best.  It is focused on the indigenous people of Mexico stretching to the Chaco in New Mexico and Anasazi of Mesa Verde in Colorado.

The statue below is a member of Los Raramuri “Niki raramuri ju.” I am a raramuri. I have light feet.

I was amazed.  I watched all the very well done and informative videos and left hungering for more.  I told you I’m a nerd!

One of the nicest features of the museum allows visitors to exit the exhibit rooms to relax outside and enjoy the gorgeous gardens and the pleasant weather.

The entire property is enclosed making this possible.  I spent two more hours but it was time for my comida–3 o’clock the big mid-day meal.

I read that there was a restaurant and headed toward it.  I had very low expectations.  Boy! was I surprised!

Sala Gastronomica “Sabores Mexicanos” was perfect. It offers a menu that celebrates regional favorites using ingredients sourced locally.

I hadn’t had a proper meal since I arrived. I ordered a glass of vino tinto, agua minerale, pollo de Oxaca and mole poblana con arroz. This was my first mole poblana a sauce made of ground seeds and nuts, chilis, spices, masa and Mexican chocolate–it will not be my last.  It is delicious!

For dessert I chose a sampler of Mexican dulces which varied from tamarinda dulce and tamarinda con chili (didn’t like) to marzipan and coconut dulces, but my favorite was a lime split and filled with juice soaked shredded coconut.  A superb espresso made with beans from Chiapas concluded the feast.  The wait staff are excellent. The open patio and banquettes where I sat are divine.  This dinner set me back $50 plus a 20% tip.

Back I went to the hotel totally satisfecha!