Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mexico City Vignettes (Summer 2013)

Somewhere I have 350 pesos left over from my last trip to Mexico City, but all I can find is 6 peso coins. Tomorrow, I need to get from the airport to the Zocalo via the Metro. Tengo 6 pesos. it. just. might. work.

Flying in, volcanic ash fills the sky for miles around. Descending now, the sky clears and there she lies: endless structures surrounded by mountains, in a bowl of green foliage. And we touch down in clear light of morning.

Hotel Washington Interior

A day that started at 3:30 am in Dallas ends 20 hours later and a thousand miles away, and I've officially walked and backpacked myself to exhaustion in the time between. What dreams will you show me tonight, Mexico?

Palacio de Bellas Artes

View of the Palacio de Bellas Artes at night, on the corner of Eje Central and Avenida Juarez. It marks the transition from the chaos and grime of the Centro Historico into the culture and refinement of Alameda Park. The sleaze of Plaza Garibaldi and Langunilla market, though only a few blocks to the north, seem worlds away. Artist types lounge and chat out front, jazz and rock bands play for coins across the street, and lovers make out on the marble steps.

Lagunilla Market Side Street

Side street in Lagunilla, massive and chaotic indoor/outdoor market on the north end of the Centro Historico. Tepito, the "thieves market" is just to the east, and Plaza Garibaldi a few blocks south and west of there.

Little Dog, Big Bone, Centro Historico north of Zocalo

All along the dirty streets and endless corridors of Lagunilla market, blown by the cool breeze, on into Plaza Garibaldi,stray dogs and mariachis wander aimlessly, in search of a song, or someone to listen.

Mariachis on Eje Central

What do mariachis do when they're not playing? They stand around looking cool, that's what they do.

Ecobici Ride

Riding the Ecobici (public bicycle) along the bumpy stone streets of the Centro Historico and back roads past the Palacio de Bellas Artes on to Reforma. Vehicles are everywhere and I sometimes found myself going the wrong way against traffic. No worries though, it just flows.

The Angel on Reforma

This evening I rode the public bike from the Angel on Reforma in to the Centro Historico and back. I have to admit it is a thrill to zip past and through all the traffic stuck in gridlock, cool air rushing by, all the while ringing the little bicycle bell.

Lago Chapultepec

Lago Chapultepec. Peaceful scene, while just off camera hundreds of vendors hawk their wares.

 Avenida 5 de Mayo, Tepoztlan

Today I travel to Tepoztlan, high in the semi-tropical mountains, about 50 kilometers south of Mexico City. It is the home of Tepoztecatl, ancient god of pulque and creativity.

Pyramid at top of Tepozteco

Wow, I made it to the top of Tepozteco. It was a heart pounding one hour hike up the mountain, but worth every minute. The view from the pyramid of the valley below, the nesting vultures calls echoing through the canyons, and a surprise feast day parade with fireworks when I descended back into town. Exhilirating! And now I'm beat.

Bells in Tepoztlan Church Courtyard

These are two of the bells in the courtyard of the Templo de la Natividad in Tepoztlan The inscription on one said 1831. Workmen were high above, repairing the bell tower.

"Barra!! Barra!! Cho-co-la-te'!! Milky Way!! Cinco, cinco, cinco pesos!! Cho-co-la-te'!!" The CD salesmen, with the blasting boombox speaker backpacks, haven't sold a single disc in all my Metro rides. The chocolate seller, on the other hand, is cleaning up.

Cathedral Door

Mysterious, small leaded door, front facade of the cathedral, right at its center. Where does it lead to? What is its function? Maybe it's a janitor's closet, lol.

Cleansing ritual from the indigenous woman at the back corner of the cathedral. Charcoal smoke blown from a wooden censer, a whisk made of fresh herbs, and scented oil. When she finished, she looked at the eagle tattoo on my arm, then into my eyes, and pointed to the sky, saying "fly".

 Terrazo, Mexico City

Sitting on the enclosed terrazo, I take in the sounds drifting in from the sky above: children singing, helicopters chopping the air, a droning church loudspeaker voice, whistles, the man yelling "Gaaaaass!" door to door, birds chirping, morning rituals, dogs barking, the pulse of dance music through the walls, a whole world in sound.

Riding on the Pasero, or Microbus

Riding on a pesero, or microbus, with my friend Berta, going to visit her gallery, in an ex-convent private university near the Centro Historico. The microbus, which covers the back streets, costs 4 pesos, whereas the larger red buses on the main roads are 6 pesos.

     I stood on the side of the road at Hangare, the last Metro stop before the airport, watching traffic whizz by for 3-4 minutes straight, without a single break, before realizing this road cannot be crossed, and held up my hand for a taxi.

No comments: