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  • Day17

    Coyoacán

    December 29, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    After consuming a copious brunch at Vegamo, we hopped on the Metro to set off exploring the Coyoacán neighborhood, located about 7 kilometers south of us.

    Just a quick word about public transit here in Mexico City. In a nutshell, there is no better way to get around. Once you've paid your 5 peso fare, you can stay on as long as you like. Yes. That's right, 5 pesos, the equivalent of about $0.35 CDN. The only negative about the Mexico City subway is the abundance of stairs and lack of functional escalators. On the plus side, I've been hitting my daily stair climbing goals since we got here.

    This neighborhood is one of Mexico City's oldest and was once home to artist Frida Kahlo and Marxist Leon Trotsky. Columbian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez now calls it home.

    On the way to our first stop, we stumbled across a very modern structure that is surrounded by a fence adorned with old French movie posters. Our curiosity got the best of us so we wandered in and learned it is the Cineteta Nacional de Mexico. It celebrates movie culture, has a film archive and video library and has ten theaters where you can watch a movie for 30 to 50 pesos, depending on the day of the week. At the moment, there is a European film festival underway with films being screened in their original language with Spanish subtitles.

    We then headed to our intended first stop, the Frida Kahlo Museum, but got no further than its general vicinity as the crowds were lined up around the corner to gain entrance. She is one of Mexico's most celebrated and recognizable artists whose face can be found on everything from t-shirts to coffee cups in souvenir shops and markets everywhere. The museum is actually housed in the home where she was born and died and contains many of her works and personal objects, including her bed with a mirror above it that she used for producing her self portraits. Rumour has it that beneath the bed still lie the eyebrow tweezers she lost as a teenager.

    We then made a quick visit to the local mercado which is by far the most claustrophobia inducing building I've ever been in. The stalls are strung together with a very narrow aisle running between them. All the vendors, save those selling food, seem to be selling the same tourist trap dust collecting souvenirs, which are busting from each stall. Clothing is hung over the passageways at a height suitable to the average Mexican, not a 6'3" Canadian. The cacaphony of bright Mexican colours adorning the wares is enough to trigger epileptic seizures. Needless to say, I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

    As a respite from the crowded marketplace, we next grabbed a bench at El Jardin Centenario, the entrance to which is through a 16th century double archway. We spent a little time people watching before continuing our exploration.

    Immediately adjacent to Jardin Centenario is Plaza Hidalgo and both venues were teeming with people on this cool Sunday afternoon. There were mimes, musicians and jugglers entertaining the crowds. There were organ grinders, candy sellers and even a couple of people trying to sell dogs. If we'd have been in Canada, I fear Brenda would have brought home a tiny Yorkshire Terrier puppy. I must admit, it was awfully cute.

    We popped into the 16th century Baroque style church, but didn't take any photos as there was a mass in progress at the time.

    After that we took a long leisurely stroll down the cobblestone-lined Francisco Sosa Street, one of the oldest in the city. As we made our way back towards the Metro, we admired the many 18th century colonial houses and mansions that lined the route.

    After we got off the Metro in our Roma neighborhood, we spotted people ice skating in a nearby park! Outdoors! In the sunshine! In Mexico City! OK, the ice didn’t look to be in the best of shape, and I didn’t see any future Sidney Crosby’s, but ya gotta love the effort and the novelty this must offer the locals. Pretty cool. Sorry, bad pun.
    The more time I spend in Mexico City, the more I like it!
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