Tag Archives: Mexico City

Home to Mexico City and then to Home

Mar 15 – A two hour bus ride took us from Puebla back to Mexico City, where we hopped onto the Metro, then walked back to our original B & B. Coming from this direction, I got a totally different feel for this city – we walked down a street that contained all music shops, and the music made me tap my feet and smile! Nicer shops, better restaurants, just a more affluent feel than my first impression, I guess.

What to do with just one day? For the first time in our entire trip, the sky was cloudy and threatening rain. We opted to explore the National Art Museum, where the weather would not affect us.

The first exhibit was of Mexican painter José Maria Vasquez. His landscapes reminded me very much of the famous Brooklyn artist Jeanette O’Keefe (also known as my grandma). AJ and MH, don’t you agree?

The museum advertised a special limited exhibit of Caravaggio, who was not Mexican, but still a very good painter.

We walked through several rooms of paintings by others who were inspired by Caravaggio, and then finally to the room where his painting, The Fortune Teller, was displayed. Dozens of art students huddled around it, taking notes. It was the only Caravaggio on site, and was one of his earliest works, showing a pretty young fortune teller smiling beguilingly at a handsome young man while she takes his palm and steals his ring.

We then walked through a multimedia video display of many other Caravaggios, showing his attention to light and shadow, and the detail he painted into every inch of his work. The paintings were displayed on the floor and walls, magnified so you could see every detail. Very impressive.

Some Mexican inspired sculptures:

Bacchus always has a good time!

Smart looking Jesus:

Funny looking Jesus:

Meanwhile, the sky opened, the thunder boomed and the rain poured down. The museum workers scurried about with squeegees and mops, drying the floors, as the museum is built around an open center courtyard that let in all the wet.

A good place to be on a soggy afternoon.

Mar 16 – Just to prove that you can’t step in the same river twice, we got a terrible room with no hot water at our previously beloved B&B. Oh well. The breakfast was still great!

A bus ride to the Aeropuerto, two on time flights, and we are home! Thank you, PB for picking us up at the airport. Tomorrow we will pick up our dog, and life will return to normal. Until next time!

Sunday with Our Lady of Guadalupe

Feb 25 – After another scrumptious breakfast (with spicy scrambled eggs and papaya juice), we set out to conquer the Metro. We walked to the station, which was so surrounded by sidewalk vendors that the entrance was hard to see! We charged our card with the proper fare (easy peasy) and stepped inside to study the big map of the M3 line. A young woman immediately came over and asked if we needed help – Nice Person of Mexico! She confirmed that we were headed in the right direction, and let me know that if I was traveling alone, the Metro provides Ladies Only cars for females and kids under 12 to try to mitigate sexual harassment on the trains. Found out via Google that many countries provide this service. Sad that it is needed…

The train was crowded, but not like in Japan where they have to push you in to get the doors closed! In a blink we were at our stop, and walked upstairs into another plethora of sidewalk stalls selling food, clothing, shoes, bags and religious trinkets. We could see the Basilica straight ahead.

As we crossed the street, a parade with flags and a brass band marched by! I wonder how often this happens?

In our travels, we have visited other sites of Marian visions: Lourdes in France, Fatima in Portugal, Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the #1 most visited Christian pilgrimage site in the world, hosting over 20 million people each year. Here’s the story in case you are not familiar.

In 1531, a poor Aztec peasant named Juan Diego was visited by a Lady who instructed him to have a church built on the place where he stood.

He told the local Spanish bishop, who did not believe him. He reported this back to the Lady, who told him to go ask again. This time the bishop told him not to return unless he could bring back miraculous proof. When he told this to the Lady, she sent him up the hill to gather Spanish Castilian roses, which were not native to Mexico and definitely would not be blooming in December. He gathered the flowers in his cloak, and when he opened his cloak in front of the bishop, the Lady’s image was miraculously imprinted on the cloak.

The image of the Lady with dark skin and black hair, wearing an Aztec gown and black maternity belt and speaking the local Aztec language really wowed the natives, and millions converted to Catholicism in the next decade. The cloak, made of rough hemp, has not degraded despite being handled for 500 years.

We took a moving walkway past the cloak, which is mounted high up on the wall of the new sanctuary, where mass is said 24 hours a day.

The new sanctuary is huge, and was totally packed with worshipers kneeling and singing.

In the museum, there were lots of other images of the Lady.

We walked up the hill to the old sanctuary, where natives were chanting and dancing.

The old church was small and crowded with people just walking through.

We saw the exact spot where Juan saw the Lady. We

Unlike other Marian pilgrimage sites that welcome visitors from all over, all the signage and the masses here are in Spanish. With the exception of one Korean group, we saw few foreigners. We did see many babies and young children dressed in white, brought here to be baptized.

The walk down the hill.

The Words of the Lady inscribed above the door, “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?”

Saturday in Mexico City

Feb 24 – Our hostess, Rosario, fed us a five star breakfast, with warm fresh brown bread, cucumber juice (yummy), fresh yogurt, pancakes with warm raspberry jam, sliced banana and a huge mug of strong coffee. Fuel for the day!

Walking out in the morning, we encountered many poor men sleeping barefoot on the street, and beggars grinding street organs for spare change. No upscale buskers here. Our first excursion was to the National Palace, a magnificent structure longer than a city block that includes a cultural museum.

The Fountain of Pegasus.

Here, the artist Diego Rivera painted huge murals all around the second story, back in the 1920s. He hoped the Mexicans would unite as Communists to make their lives better.

The Spaniards branding slaves.

Not sure what the turquoise feathered guy is doing with that arm…

I listened to an English tour guide describing this one to his group. Karl Marx is at the top, like God. The pipes are filled with the blood of the Mexican workers, which turn into money for the government at the bottom. The priest kissing the prostitute on the left represents the corruption of the Church, which should be helping the people, and likens the Church to the Nazis by showing the line of crosses with a swastika included on the right.

Below, the good Communists, including Rivera’s girlfriend Frida Kahlo (with the eyebrows), are taking charge and teaching the poor children to read. Thank you, tour guide. He was the only we one we encountered today who was not guiding in Spanish.

I liked these little sculptures, and the two big ones flanking Jim.

In the afternoon, we walked through several markets, which underscored just how poor this country is. We saw lots of energetic selling, but very few were buying. A peso is worth about five cents, or 20 to the dollar. We wandered into an area where small animals, birds, puppies, hens and goats were packed together cruelly, and a man, seeing our cameras, shouted at us to leave. We left.

We are only spending a few days in the city before flying south to the beach. We have mastered the bus system, and tomorrow we will take the subway (Metro). The other travelers we met at breakfast said we are brave to try the Metro. I’ll report tomorrow!

Down Mexico Way

Feb 23, 2018 – Jim wanted to take a break from winter and warm our bones in someplace sunny. We had tried a short cruise to the Bahamas in December, and discovered that cruises were just not our cup of tea. So this morning we got on the big iron bird, and by lunchtime we were in Mexico City!

Our plan was to take a city bus from the airport to the city center, guided by our trusty phone GPS. As we exited the airport, I was dismayed to discover that the phone would not connect, no matter what I tried (yes, of course I tried turning it off then back on!). We pestered the bus driver to tell us when we reached our stop, as the stops were not announced or posted. Very nerve wracking! We got off at the right stop, and Jim found our B&B by some miracle, as there was no sign at all, upstairs in a office building. Once we got WiFi, I spent an hour troubleshooting the phone with the guy from T Mobile, doing everything including a factory reset, but no luck. Finally, I did what I should have done first, and texted Peter. He solved the problem in two minutes! Now we will be able to find our way around this big city.

Our very nice B&B Chillout Flat is in the Centro Historico, very near to the Metropolitan Cathedral.

The cathedral was built by the Spaniards by taking the bricks from the ancient Aztec Templo Mayor, leaving the temple in ruins.

Next to the ruins, several groups of natives drummed, played, chanted and danced.

Our B&B hostess recommended several tourist restaurants nearby for dinner, but Jim had a more authentic experience in mind. We ate chicken with spicy salsa verde, green beans, soup, rice and tortillas at a second floor walk up family restaurant, where we were the only foreigners in the place. A good first day!