I’m beginning to realize how good we have it back home. 400 miles in a day doesn’t seem like a marathon that leaves you unable to move or think. But here…it is exactly that. We made it to Mexico city on a Friday night, right around rush hour. For anyone who needs to strengthen their patience, come to Mexico city. I mean the traffic in LA on Wednseday before Thanksgiving is a walk in the park compared to here!
Since we decided to arrive in Mexico a day earlier, we had to storm our AirBnB host and ask her for mercy. We found the house, buzzed the doorbell and she came down. She was happy to see us and welcomed us to her house.
We start exploring the city, bright and early the next day. Some cathedral in the main square (aka “zocalo”) of the city. Dont ask me the name, dont remember.
Hyein trying to control her modeling instincts and failing.
After days of driving we were happy to just walk around the city on our own. But we soon found out that our legs forgot what they are for and gave out in a few hours.
Mexico city is huge, so we focused on the central region the first day. A short walk from the zocalo is the museum of art – Bellas Artes.
I’m not necessarily a museum type of person, but the hot midday sun of Mexico was brutal and we splurged $10 to go inside.
Ironically, they had an exhibition of Russian avant garde art. Can’t escape the Russians, no matter where i go!
Most of the art piece explanations were in Spanish, so we had a fun time trying to figure out the meaning of each piece just by reading the what is in the art itself. The museum itself is tiny, the size of Guggenheim in New York City. You could walk the whole place in less than an hour. We tried to stay as long as we can to escape the heat, but at some point hunger drove us to the nearby streets for local deliciousness.
Calle Lopez is where its at, if you are looking for some good food in the center. There is a mercado, like in all the cities here. And a whole street of small restaurants that cook up all sorts of meats, soups, paellas and desserts. I look grumpy, cuz i haven’t eaten anything yet.
Outside of the Mercado, doesn’t actually represent the kind of amazing goodness you will find inside. Dont be afraid, go in with me.
I told you this shit is worth it….. i’m sad that my stomach can stretch only that much.
The restaurants on the street are not far behind in their offerings!
The food is good and cheap, we had 3 tacos each for 13 pesos per taco, then some chicharon, ice cream and some other stuff. Ugh, i feel disgusted with myself, but can’t stop.
Oh i know, a nice walk will help me feel better about myself!
Paseo de la Reforma – looking east.
Paseo de la Reforma – same spot, looking west.
Again Paseo de la Reforma – a nice wide avenue filled with modern buildings and statues, american hotels and Starbuckses. I personally enjoy the historic stuff a little more, but in a pinch when you need to walk off a little piglet that you just consumed….this will do.
For dinner, we checked out the hipster area of Condesa. Hyein proclaimed that although tacos are delicious, she needs to eat something else for a change. That something turned out to be japanese ramen. Full, tired and no longer able to think straight from all the pork that was consumed today, we went home.
Next day, Mexico city greeted us with cold rain and closed coffee shops. If you think that i’m a nice person, then you have never seen me before my morning coffee. We managed to find some coffee somehow and made our way to the south of the city, to Coyoacan.
There are two reasons why we decided to visit this place: 1) churros and 2) Frida Kahlo’s museum.
Churros were great, but…..
……. the line to Frida’s house was too long, so we couldnt get in. Apparently if you buy tickets online, then you can just go in. We looked for wifi, but no luck. Whatever, Frida can wait till next time. Not like she is going anywhere.
If you leave your house early enough in the morning and drive from Mexico city to Teotihuacan, then you will be greeted by magnificent views of the suburbs, brightly shining in the morning sun.
If the photos look like, they were taken through a window of a car moving at 70mph. Thats because they were. A beautiful sight was opening all around us, but we couldn’t stop and take photos.
Because most Mexican roads dont have a shoulder….go figure.
You can’t go see ancient ruins of a civilization that was here a thousand years before Columbus showed up, without having my favorite dish – minced up pork parts (nose…yum, ears…even better, knee … oh yes, skin – why not!).
Obligatory, i’m too cool for this shit photo.
If you are not in the know, like i was, Teotihuacan is ancient city that predates the Aztecs by like 700-800 years. Imagine this, the Aztecs got to this area thinking they are the first. Only to realize that a whole civilization has sprouted, lived and collapsed AND no one knows anything about them. That is some awe inspiring stuff. We still dont know much about them, just from what we can see in their architecture and murals. No writings are known of.
Pyramid of the Sun, or aka the 3rd largest pyramid in the world. Not bad for a civilization that we know almost nothing about. Check it, this city was the 6th largest city in the world at the time of its peak. For reference, now the 6th is Manilla (Philippines) and New York is the 8th.
Pyramid of the Moon and Avenue of the Dead (main street) as seen from top of Pyramid of the Sun.
Okay…finally feeling like we are on vacation!
Finally found some trustworthy tourists to take a picture of us.
If you are wondering about our daily routine – we try to have a nice hot “homemade” dinner any time we can. We incorporate the things that we learned on the road and try to buy cheap veggies at local markets. This is what it usually looks like: chorizo, rice, salad, grilled green onions.
By this point we tried a bunch of different brands of chorizo and the they range from super sour and spicy to perfect. The best one we had was the one we bought from a local market. It was sweet, spicy, juicy, with a hint of acidity, amazing color and smell. Still trying to find the same ones everywhere we go.
Enough about food, back to travels.
Next we go to Oaxaca, a place of Oaxaca cheese and Mezcal.
Managed to find parking for the night right in the center of the city, about 5 minutes away from the zocalo. The four side of the zocalo are lined by outdoor restaurants and coffee shops, mariachis and souvenir peddlers.
Omg….did you expect this by now? Another cathedral….
Theater from 1909. The architecture in the center of Oaxaca, once again reminds me of a smaller European city.
Still can’t get over the fact that i’m looking at a cathedral, but in front of it are agave plants and cacti. “wait….but it looks like Spain!”
Enough with churches, lets get back to what ACTUALLY moves people’s souls!
You guessed it – food. Local cuisine to be specific. Here you are presented with Tlayuda (left) and Mole (right). Tlayuda is like a Mexican version of pizza made with torilla, frijoles (sauce), lettuce, tomato, avocado, pork, beef, chicken and Oaxacan cheese…..are you hungry yet? Stop reading and go eat your lunch!
Mole, is sweet and savory sauce that supposedly takes hours if not days to make. Kinda like curry, not in taste, but in the way you use it in a dish. Served with chicken.
I’m getting old…i can see it. Next time i’ll photoshop my hair color also!
Local “delicacy”…grasshoppers. Why is it every time there is something disturbing to eat, people call it a delicacy? In Korea, they have Beondegi (aka silkworm). I tried it and it was not bad. Thats it…not good, not bad. In Oaxaca, they have grasshoppers. There are ladies in the market selling them by the pound. We tried to buy just 3-4, ended up with like 20 of them. Once again, “not bad”. These little things were sour and crunchy, not much else to them.