Joined March 2017 Message
  • Day2

    Local colour in the Place of Coyotes

    February 24, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Why the Place of Coyotes, you might ask? Well, the area of the city where the Casa Azul is located is called Coyoacán, which is Aztec for... The Place of Coyotes!

    So on leaving the Kahlo Museum, which incidentally was on London Street, on the advice of a very helpful tourist office guide, we decided to take a stroll down to the Jardin Hidalgo - the local square in the area. The streets are bordered by beautifully preserved neo-colonial buildings, which leant the region a laid back air, and the main street called Allende was thronged with all manner of shops, a market and a panoply of food vendors selling Mexican staples that were being snapped up with alacrity. It seems to me that the Mexicans are always grazing and I felt I should join in. I chose esquites - white corn boiled in stock with herbs and served with mayonnaise, cheese, lime and chilli. Sounds strange and not at all photogenic but absolutely delicious.

    We reached the main square which was teeming with people and families out for their Saturday constitutional and the place felt alive. It seemed that we'd started to discover the real Mexico City. The largest edifice was the basilica dedicated to John The Baptist, which proved the maxim that the Church have all the best buildings and keep the money to themselves. It was richly decorated in places with some fine stained glass but the lack of light and increasingly heavy air lent the place a sombreness that I found oppressive and I was pleased to be out of there.

    The other notable feature of the area, apart from the many bars and restaurants that were well frequented by the locals, was the Coyote fountain, firmly locating the name Coyoacán in the memory.

    A much easier stroll back to the Metro saw the end to our first days adventuring and a well deserved meal of tacos, huaraches, tortas and beer. All in all a fantastic first day in this alluring city.
    Read more

  • Day2

    A meeting with Frida and Diego

    February 24, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Fully satiated with breakfast and with the guide book already consulted, we ventured onto Mexico City's public transport network to visit the Casa Azul - Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's home, now a museum to both of them and a place we weren't going to be visiting as part of our tour.

    Despite the usual mishaps of almost mistaking the Metrobus for the Metro (which, truth be told is reminiscent of the NY subway in that it's efficient but a bit grotty and not somewhere you'd want to be late at night) and getting slighty lost on the way there, we arrived to find a huge queue. Normally we would have turned around and left but as this is in the Top 5 of the city's attractions, we bore out the 90 minute wait to get inside.

    Once though the turnstile, we entered into Frida and Diego's world. This was the house where she was born, lived and died, although it had been altered when she took full control on the death of her parents. The grounds were an oasis of tropical plants, sculptures and fountains. However, it was on entering the two exhibitions, one permanent and one seasonal, that we discovered Frida as person and artist. I had been aware of her and the style of her work but it was a passing acquaintance.

    The temporary exhibit was a display of her clothes, medical corsets and prostheses. I didn't know that her right leg had been withered by polio at the age of 6 and that she had suffered serious injuries in a bus accident at 18 years old that had required her to have 22 operations in her life. Rather than be bowed or cowed by her disabilities, she turned them into strengths often turning her corsets into works of art. She also adopted indiginous style dress called Tehuana - her mother was half Zapotec. These dresses involved a highly decorative and embroidered top half and a dark, long and flowing skirt. For Frida this dress drew attention away from her disabilities, allowing her to accentuate her positive features and appear taller. She eventually had her leg amputated in 1953 after which she coined her most famous phrase, 'Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly!'

    Frida, the artist, was equally as interesting. She painted in both surreal and magical realist styles that highlighted the real and the absurd in life; the magical and the political. She was a follower of communist theory and actually gave refuge to Trotsky and his wife for two years following his exile from the Soviet Union. There are 3 examples of her work in the photos, ones which I found particularly notable. She also engaged in photography and made commentary of issues important to her by cutting portions of the photos out, sometimes leaving the spaces blank and sometimes transposing bits.

    All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience although I would say go early if you were going or attempt to prebook tickets that, in theory, allow you to jump the queue. That being said, the website seemed to be as abstract as her paintings and those who were queuing in the prebooked line were not moving much faster than us!
    Read more

Join us:

FindPenguins for iOSFindPenguins for Android