Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Easter... Passover... whatever, days off!

Easter does not mean family time in Mexico, like it does in Canada, for example. It means religious services and events, for some, and treasured vacation time, for many. And you know what happens when everybody is travelling? This fantastic city becomes empty, and quiet, and calm! And since my Jewish experience with religious traditions is next to nil and I was not going to attempt a Passover seder by myself, we were left with four days (including the weekend) to do nothing but explore and enjoy Mexico City. Yay!

We used plenty of public transport. Which allowed us to enjoy some interesting signs, like this one below saying "toca una bes el timbre te escucho", which would mean "ring once I am listening". But only if "once" were spelled "wunce" or something like that. We also saw, taking a different bus, another funny one: it had a light that would turn on when you requested a stop. This must have been a bathroom light, because right above it it said "ocupado" (occupied). Priceless!  

We went to museums too! So nice to not have to jostle with crowds! Especially since there was this one exhibition about British landscape art with two pieces to totally die for by David Hockney (Bigger Trees Near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le Motif pour le Nouvel Age Post-Photographique) and William Turner (Riva degli Schiavone, Venice: Water Fête). And all this at the beautiful neoclassical Palacio de Minería (Palace of Mining).

Ah, yes, we also saw a painting exhibition at the former Palacio de Iturbide, now a museum owned by a bank (BANAMEX) where, of most interest to me, were some paintings about the caste system that operated while Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire. It's ridiculous the intricacy of that system, but I guess they had a vested interest in specifying who had Spanish blood, and to what extent. Fascinating. And unbelievable.

We tried partying too. But there the holiday gods conspired against us and, bar the very first night where I happily unwound with friends at our local drinking hole with some nice IPAs and mezcal, the other nights were quite a flop, with either music I really didn't like, or people with a bit of an attitude. But at least I made an effort to go out and try new places, so it wasn't an absolute loss!

We also enjoyed quite a bit of the Roma Norte district. It's this area of town, not too far from where we live, with leafy streets, quite a few squares and parks, and plenty of interesting places for eating, drinking and shopping. It's hipsterizing up, but still pretty welcoming and pleasant. Plus, that's where our favourite brunch place is (Volver, with amazing vegan waffles and deliciously refreshing mimosas), where many trees are blossoming (spring! yay!) right by old houses, and where we enjoyed an IPA basking in the soft and warm rays of a beautiful sunset. 

Being this a Christian country, it's no surprise we ended up entering two churches. Not that we were looking for them, but you know, they were on our way to other places! And seeing Art Déco influences at one (the Sagrada Familia, in the Juárez district) and hearing the end of a beautiful concert (with, what else, Alleluia) at another one was not half bad at all.

And that's just a small part. We did plenty more!  We went to the movies to watch a Franco-Greek film called Xenia which managed to avoid a fair number of clichés (while using one as its basis: two brothers on an adventure in search for their father) and show us a pretty unpalatable side of Greece. We saw people dancing danzón in one of the squares in the historic centre (this always makes me feel so good! it's such a joy seeing all these older couples dressed in their best clothes and having fun!). We saw a photographic installation about the multi-ethnic inhabitants of the Juárez district. And I got to take the odd photo here and there (like that one of toys spread on the street, just because). 

And everything else I forgot to mention. Quite a rich, happy four days. Pretty cool.

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