Though I was initially thrown by told I was leaving Oxford a couple of days earlier than expected, I was absolutely delighted by the fact that I'd have the whole weekend to explore Mexico City. And explore I did. I started on Saturday morning at the Frida Kahlo museum, which is situated in the house she lived in. Take a guess at the name of the house:
Yes, it's called Casa Azul, the Blue House. The museum is an interesting mix of her (and her husband's) work, set amongst pieces from their everyday lives.
It was quite nice to sit in the garden for a while, admiring the blueness of the house, the statues that litter the garden, and of course the pyramid. You just don't see enough pyramids in backyards these days!!
From there I headed to the San Angel saturday market, which was packed full of people. I love the sights and smells and sounds of markets, and I sat for quite a while listening to a brass-heavy concert band, which brought back many memories of doing similar performances when I was at school. On the request of a friend I bought one of the below pieces of embroidery, and think I'll have to go back next weekend to get one for myself!
From there I crossed the street to the Museo de El Carmen, a former convent, which apparently houses lots of important stuff. One of the benefits of going to museums where you don't read the language (or only a little) means you don't get "museum-ed out" because you don't stop an examine every single item. I like to think this approach is more "holistic" and allows the visitor to take in all of the surroundings, rather than just the artifacts. Or perhaps it's just an excuse for my terrible spanish!! :-)
That being said, it was an interesting place, complete with mummies in the crypt!
After all that, I was a bit tuckered out so headed back to my little serviced apartment to chill out for a while. Eventually I succumbed to the need for food and headed down to the place on the corner for dinner. It became apparent that eating alone is not typical at this place, and the staff were entirely confused about what to do with me. Thank goodness I'd thought to take something to read with me, to avoid their curious stares!!
Today started out with a visit to the centre of the city, for breakfast with an old amigo. He'd suggested a place on the 7th floor, which had a fantastic view of the main square, right at the large cathedral that dominates the vista.
Roberto and I met in Bolivia a couple of years ago, and spent four days 4WDing around the countryside, a little jaunt that remains in my top 5 travel experiences. He's a fascinating guy, a biologist that does all sorts of adventurous things, including filming various tv shows. I've dubbed him the Mexican Steve Irwin. And it was fortuitous timing, he's off on another adventure, caving in the south of Mexico for the next two months, and just happened to be in the city this one day!
From that delicious brunch, I headed to another part of town to meet my new colleague, a Brit who I'll be training over the next week. She's a lovely hostess, and took me to Chapultepec, which is a massive (MASSIVE) park, inside of which is a castle.
filled with Spanish paintings, clothing, as well as some traditional indigenous bits and pieces. There was also a special exhibition on the Golden Eagle (the national symbol) which included some great photographs of what appears to be an entirely majestic bird.
We walked and walked around the park with the intention of heading to the museo nacional de antropologia, but along the way my colleague got a call from some friends wanting to meet up for lunch (it was about 3:30pm by this stage). I was invited along and thought that sounded like a much more sociable thing to do than wandering around another museum (though I do really want to get there next weekend), and as such, had a wonderful afternoon with a lovely Mexican couple, who very kindly spoke in English the whole time. I will admit that more than a few Spanish words and phrases have come back to me, and I'm understanding more than I thought I would, but frankly, mi español es muy malo!!
It was 6:30pm by the time I got home, hot and sweaty (the temperature here is perfect!), with sore feet but very happy that such a weekend was had. Mexico me gusta mucho! I've put more photos up at the usual location. Now to prepare myself for work tomorrow!!