poor hands with great smiles and rich hearts
poverty is very common in mexico. with expensive real estate and living expenses, life can be really hard for many mexicans - marking their daily routine with hardship and challenges.
regardless of all this, the few days i've spent in mexico have shown me that poverty was never a barrier to the way of a bright smile. all the people i have talked to or bumped into, simple and sophisticated, they all had this charming smile of a rich heart full of love and generosity of spirit, putting all the hardship of their lives behind their back. they greeted me, gently spoke to me, welcomed my query, guided me to the right direction, gave me a great smile, and never asked me to pay back. i felt that i wasn't alone on this planet!
as my mexican friend once said, 'this is us mexicans; if you are happy, we are happy'
- Arts and Culture
since i lived in london for a while, policewomen meant tough, cold and banned from smiling. but when i saw the mexican policewomen, that was quite of an experience. first, they SMILED. second, they were so friendly and nice, AND wearing MAKEUP - i didn't feel that i was talking to the police.
there were loads of them, as many as policemen. i was surprised by their quantity to be honest.
i approached two of them as i always wanted to have a photo with a policewoman, you know equality and feminist pictures hunt me all the time!
"senora, hablo ingles?" i asked if they could speak english. but they didn't.
so i took out my camera, and said "foto con mi" pointing that i'd like to take a photo with them. they gave me a yes with such a big smile. gosh! i wanted to bring them back with me to saudi instead of the immature impulsive policemen there!
it was just an interesting experience; a police with a smile... and makeup!
- Arts and Culture
Museum Diego Rivera "Anahuacalli"
This is not a museum about Diego Rivera, is more the personal collection of Diego Rivera, his dream museum, the one he planed and help design. It's interesting that this museum was build with and following the Aztec arquitecture style and techniques in a modern world.
This museum is a must visit for those lovers of mexican history and arqueology, and a complement for those visiting the Arqueological museum and looking for more.
On it you will find themore vast personal prehispanic collection of Diego Rivera, wich is very rich and interesting in many ways. The building of this museum had just started when Diego die and he never saw it finish, but the arquitectural concept and decoration was his vision, it also include in it a studio where you can see some of his sketchs, the sketch of the most famous of his murals,etc.
The most amazing thing is that his personal collection include 59 thousand pieces of prehispanic art, that he want to donate to Mexico after his dead, as a way to give back to the México what it belonged to the mexican people, but with one condition, this pieces can never leave mexican land, unlike many other mexican pieces that are exposed in museums all around the world, this pieces will never leave this place, so it make it more a MUST visit.
Entrance is only $45 pesos is the same entrance ticket for both Museum Frida Kahlo and Museo Diego Rivera, if you don't have time to visit both same day, don't worry, it's still valid to visit 1 time in 30 days. visit are guided, that make the visit even better, it's a shame many people don't know or visit this museum.
*Call or visit website for time of guided visits.
- Museum Visits
Where would a trip to Mexico be without some Mezcal? We were given a free lesson about the agave or maguey plant (from which mezcal and tequila are made) during our trip to Teotihuacan. It was very interesting to learn about the multiple uses of this plant such as how the natives derived paper from it's leaves as well as natural needle and thread.
Aside from the mezcal we also got to sample different types of tequila which were all surprisingly much smoother than the spirit I am familiar with and have a very strong aversion to and which conjures terrible memories of embarassing actions and painful mistakes, not to mention hangovers. The tequila is a type of mezcal but distilled specifically from the blue agave.
- Wine Tasting
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
Most know that Coyoacan is a beautiful, peaceful part of Mexico City. The plazas there are fantastic, and the weekends are always FULL of people and things to see. There are great cafes for dessert, interesting ice cream flavors to sample, cool shops, etc. But one of my favorite parts of Coyoacan lies south of the whole plaza area, across the street Miguel Angel de Quevedo. Over there, you can wind in and out of the very beautiful streets, spotting amazing churches and friendly people. I got some fantastic pictures over there!
The most spectacular view...
...is on the roof garden/restaurant of Best Western Majestic hotel! The view on the Zocalo Square including the Cathedral and the surrounding buildings and of course the big flagpole + flag is just superb! Whether you choose to dine or have a coffee this is a must for someone at Mexico City! Extra tip: because the Zocalo square is a location of many activities, try to pick a day that has no concert or festivals etc, unless of course you dont get annoyed by that type of things.
PS. Take a look at the pictures! (There is a hotel picture in the website too, so you can see what people from the square look at!)
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Monarch butterflies Mexico State
Going to see the monarch butterflies was a treat as well as an adventure. There really isn't a lot of info on the preserves in Mexico state. As that is where our day trip took us from Mexico city. We took a bus out towards the town of San Jose but you will have to ask the bus driver as well as some others on the 2 hour trip when to get off at a not so clearly marked intersection. There you can get shady taxi to the preserve or you can hitch. We hitched to the preserve and found out that you have to pay roughy 150 pesos each to get a guide for anther 25 minute ride farther into the mountains and entrance fees to the preserve. Money well spent seeing as how you need the guide to show you where the butterfies are. What a great day!
- Budget Travel
- National/State Park
Explore the cute neighbourhoods of Mexico City
One morning, I wandered along Moneda and watched the city life waking up from sleep - locals vendors setting up their kiosks, the chilly morning greeting the beams of the sun. I loved the small churches with figures of saints twisted from pain with such a horryfying expression on their faces that gave you a shrill. It was like being on a borderline between life and the other world. On my walk, I ran into small plazas with tropical trees and plants decorated with ribbons - quite a touch of exoticism for me.
I love early mornings in warm countries - the chilliness being gradually replaced by the heat and the intensity of light that amplifies within minutes. The dawn soothes your soul and brings you back from your hybernation.
- School Holidays
The Pyramids of Teotihuacan
Visiting the Pyramids of Teotihuacan is a great excursion from Mexico City. To get there, you can make arrangements with any of the many tour groups offering a package deal, however, you'll save a bundle if you just do it yourself like I did. Just take the Metro to the Indios Verdes stop (north end of the city). Here, you'll find a number of buses. Just walk all the way to the last bus platform ("anden"), which is platform J, and then walk toward the northern end of the platform (toward the mountains) and get on a bus that has a sign in the window for Teotihuacan (or it might just say "piramides"). The one hour ride should cost 25 pesos.
I went on a Sunday and visiting the pyramids was free. You should allow yourself a good three hours or more to have enough time to visit the pyramids and the other sights to see here. For more details, check out my Teotihuacan page.
Iglesia & Hospital de Jesús
If I wouldn't have met Rafael one day, I never went there, that's for sure, as he took me there to pick up his cousin Adrian.
Built on order of Hernán Cortés between 1521 and 1524, it is the only building of the 16th century in the Centro Historico. It was constructed in a place Aztecs called Huitzillan, referring to the first encounter between the emperor Moctezuma II and the Spanish conqueror on November 8, 1519 after entering Tenochtitlán. A monument on Calle Pino Suárez reminds of that event.
Cortés died 1547 near Sevilla (Spain), but his remains were carried 1794 to this church (entrance Calle Salvador).
In 1663 a rich indigenous woman named Petronila Jerónimo left this institution an image of Jesús Nazareno, origin of its current name.
The hospital is not Latin America's oldest, but the only one what has worked without interruption since its foundation.
In the upper level can be found murals by José Clemente Orozco.
Address: Pino Suárez and El Salvador, Centro Histórico Open: Mon-Sat 7am-8pm, Sun 7am-1pm and 5-8pm. Free admission. Metro: Zócalo.
A Daytrip to the City of Eternal Spring
About an hour outside Mexico City is the lovely mountain town of Cuernavaca. This town has a lot of charm and a great year-round climate. It was the city which the Aztecs named "the City of eternal spring."
In Cuernavaca, you can dine, shop and even stay the night at a terrif Relais and Chateaux hotel -- Las Mananitas.
It's a great day or overnight trip!
- Historical Travel
- Business Travel
Out of the way... have some fun
Six Flags is an ok theme park!
You will have fun, just try to arrive between 11.00 - 11.30 am, in that way your day will be just fine and will be finishing all games before rain comes.
Batman the Ride, Escopion, Kilahuea, Medusa and Superman, most be the first one you get in, they are always full! Just get out of the routine and meet some other people in the city.
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel
Live music, drinking, and dancing
Boomers is a great bar with live rock music. It's in the town of Cuautitlan-Izcalli. Everyone just likes to have a good time. The great thing about the people there is that they just like to have fun and they'll dance with you just to dance. The music is great too, great rock en espanol!
Remains of Aztec ''floating gardens'', Xochimilco [''Place where flowers frow'' in Nahuatl] are located some 20km south from Mexico City center.
You can board trajinera* for a slow ride round the gardens. I must say, I was a bit dissapointed with Xochimilco. Nothing really fascinated me and it was kind of boaring.
I think this is more apropraite for larger groups, that can have a party on trajinera.
To get to Xochimilco take metro No. 2, direction Tasquena, get of at the final stop and here take Tren Ligero to Xochmilco.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
- Sailing and Boating
Teotihuacan: City of the Gods
50 km northeast of Mexico City, you will find the ancient city of Teotihuacan. Walking on the wide avenues and climbing the pyramids is "another-worldly" experience.
The main avenue, "The Avenue of the Dead" (cheery name, isn't it?), is breathtaking. This is one of those places with an incredibly-high awe factor. The Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan is the world's third largest.
See my travelogue for more scences from this amazing place.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
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