Plus some Aztecs, and plenty of tacos
17.11.2016 - 18.11.2016 21 °C
¡Hola amigos! We've had two days in La Ciudad de México now, and while it's extremely busy and noisy, the pros outweigh the cons. The museums are world-class, the people welcoming, the architecture impressive, and the street food amazeballs.
Caroline with a tlacoyo, a crunchy corn tortilla served with beans, onion, cactus leaf, coriander and cheese
Off five hours of sleep and incredibly jet-lagged, we took it a bit slowly yesterday. We took the dizzying glass lift to the lookout on top of the Monumento de la Revolucion, a grand dome dedicated to the heroes of the Mexican Revolution.
There are millions of cars on the traffic-clogged roads, and the city is surrounded by mountains; together, these mean that smog hangs over the city constantly, and we couldn't see all that much.
So we went back to street level and took the metro over to the Chapultepec Park and the National Museum of Anthropology. It's a brilliant museum, tracing the history of Mexican people from ancient times through to the modern era, and then explaining the customs and practices of modern indigenous groups. There are lots of artefacts and some seriously impressive large-scale statues and models.
Matilda's spirit god, the Aztec god of corn (not really)
A model Mayan temple
In the Chapultepec Park
Catching the metro back across town during peak hour was an experience, making Melbourne's peak hour trains look positively empty. It was more exciting too - not often in Melbourne are there people selling donuts, ice creams or phone chargers between platforms, or elderly couples dancing in the middle of the station.
We had dinner at a tiny taco place, with options like 'hearty' and 'solid' - we didn't really know what we were eating but it was freaking delicious, and at around a dollar per taco, pretty cheap. And then we decided we hadn't quite eaten enough, so we stopped at another taqueria on the way home for more.
Taco fiends milling around
Today we started at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the beautiful Art Deco fine art 'palace'. The building is beautiful, and the murals were the highlight inside. Diego Rivera (ex-husband of Frida Kahlo) had the best one:
A section of Man at the Crossroads by Diego Rivera. This was originally painted at the Rockefeller Center in New York, but it was destroyed a year later due to its anti-capitalist sentiment (you can see Trotsky here, and there are calls for 'all workers to unite' as well). Rivera recreated it here
Palacio de Bellas Artes
We saw a protest outside, apparently against the Governor of Veracruz (a Mexican state), who is allegedly a bit dodgy in terms of corruption and human rights. Allegedly. Anyway, their brazen tactics got them extra publicity, on this blog at least.
Dodging and weaving through the bustling streets, we eventually made it to the centre of the historical city. The Catedral Metropolitana, which took 240 years to build, was pretty grand. Not sure I would have spent 240 years building it, but happy to piggyback off others.
Post-lunch siesta at the roadworks
The Palacio Nacional, which houses the presidential office and some other government departments, was also worth the visit. More Diego Rivera murals lined the walls of a grand courtyard, and told the story of Mexico's history.
On the ceiling of the old Mexican parliament. (Illuminati confirmed)
The Templo Mayor was our last major stop. It was an Aztec temple for centuries, and was considered the centre of the universe. But then the Spanish came, knocked it all down, built churches on top of it - recycling the bricks - and effectively buried the site.
It wasn't excavated until 1978, when electricity workers happened across an eight-metre stone disc, portraying an Aztec goddess being decapitated. They're still finding new artefacts, and have done a pretty good job of displaying what the temple would have looked like when the Spanish arrived.
The Templo Mayor with the Catedral Metropolitana in the background
As the evening passed, we went to a square full of mariachi bands, popped in to the grand old post office, and had a delicious dinner inside a fancy restaurant (final bill under AU$30). It's not a great city for vegetarians, though, let alone vegans. Sorry Mat.
Having fun with a fountain at a park
The Palacio Postal
The fine arts palace at night