Our Mexico City Experience

March 13, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Mary and I kicked off 2017 with a vacation to Mexico City, a place I had no clear perception of before we arrived. I'm glad we went. It's an absolutely beautiful city.

"Mexico City", dusk, "Monumento a la Revolución", long-exposure, traffic, colorful, mexicoMexico City at dusk from the top of the Monumento a la Revolución. Mary found us a nice place through Airbnb in the Roma Norte neighborhood. The location made us feel like locals rather than tourists. Here's our studio apartment during the trip:

Airbnb, "studio apartment", "Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism A nice place to come home to after days of exploring.

Unfortunately that bed was like sleeping on a wooden platform with maybe a thin pad on top. I usually prefer a bed on the firmer side, but this was next level. At least there was pleasant wall art to look at while you unlock your spine in the morning.

Airbnb, "studio apartment", "Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, kitchenThe kitchen in our apartment. Small, but functional.

We had a full kitchen, if small - but that oven is the type that you have to manually light before each use. Through the power of the internet, we learned to go against our strongest human instincts: Turn on the gas, open the oven, light a match, and stick the open flame into a hole inside the most incendiary appliance in the kitchen. And our eyebrows lived to tell the tale. 

Not pictured here is the washer/dryer in a closet to the left. It's a stand-alone unit where, in theory, it will wash and dry your clothes in that one machine. The "dry" cycle was more of a "heat and turn" cycle. It took roughly 4 hours to get our clothes from 'sopping wet' to 'pretty damp'.  

Two things kept me from wanting to live this life full-time: 1 - brushing my teeth with bottled water. And 2 - not being allowed to flush toilet tissue. These are logistical challenges best left to people with more patience than me.

Open the shades to our floor to ceiling windows, and it's easy to want to get outside and see the world: 

Airbnb, "studio apartment", "Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, view, windowsThe view from our apartment.

Airbnb, "studio apartment", "Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, entrywayMary going out the front door of our apartment building.

This is Mary heading out of our apartment building. The locks were serious. You have to use the key to unlock the door from the inside and then re-lock it once outside - and it takes several full turns of the key to fully engage all the locking mechanisms. People talk about crime in Mexico, and the closest we got to even suggestions of it were locks like these, and a fairly substantial police presence. Most of the places we went felt very safe.

We really enjoyed walking around the neighborhood. There was plenty to see within a few blocks. Here, a crowd gathers around a steaming food cart.

"Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, "food cart", steam, morning, lightA crowd gathers around a food cart before work.

There were some really nice parks nearby. They were like mini-sanctuaries and offered so much greenery in January.

"Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, park, bridge, trees, green, sunlight, peaceful, sereneParks in Mexico City's Roma Norte neighborhood. "Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, park, monument, trees, green, sunlight, peaceful, sereneParks in Mexico City's Roma Norte neighborhood. "Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, park, "covered bench", trees, green, sunlight, peaceful, sereneParks in Mexico City's Roma Norte neighborhood. "Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, park, "walking a dog", "caution children playing", sign, "precaucion niños jugando", trees, green, sunlight, peaceful, serene, road, branchesParks in Mexico City's Roma Norte neighborhood.

To see the world outside of the Roma Norte neighborhood, we could walk for 15 minutes and be in the downtown area, or we could call an Uber, which was incredibly affordable there. One thing we weren't expecting was the crazy traffic. Not only did the congestion during rush hour rival the San Francisco Bay Area, the general rules of the road (including traffic signals) were regarded with the same level of respect one might offer to the late Rodney Dangerfield. Police would line the intersections to make sure vehicles didn't just blow through the lights. 

traffic, "mexico city", police, intersections, laws, rules, disregardedPolice line the intersections to prevent people from running the lights.

Here's a small slice of the things we saw just walking around town:

"Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, buildings, colorful, yellow, trees, green, sunlight, peaceful, serene "Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, trees, green, lamps, building, sidewalk "Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, restaurant, "open air", teal, chairs, "exposed brick", staircaseAn open air restaurant. "Mexico City", "Roma Norte", neighborhood, mexico, travel, vacation, tourism, balloons, "balloon vendor", "bunch of balloons", trellis, vinesA balloon vendor. sculpture, "playing cards", bench, cityscape, "lonely man", downtown, "art installation", art, hearts, diamonds, spades, clubs, scattered, dirtyAn interesting functional art installation that doubles as a bench. "shopping mall", "Mexico City", mexico, dj, escalators, skylight, glass, converse, shoppingA DJ was set up on the first level of this shopping mall. "Senado De La Republica", "Estados Unidos Mexicanos", building, architecture, display, photography, tree, "blue sky", concreteSenado De La Republica, Estados Unidos Mexicanos "Mexico City", "Estados Unidos Mexicanos", "stained glass", jesusA church. El Presidente.El Presidente.

We did venture to some places that weren't accessible on foot. We took a 45 minute Uber ride ($16 US dollars!) to Teotihuacán, an ancient Mesoamerican city full of pyramids. The largest of these structures, the Pyramid of the Sun, is thought to have existed since AD 100. This is an excellent place for anyone looking for a good stair workout. (I'm almost never looking for a stair workout, good or otherwise.) 

Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, rx1rii Teotihuacán pyramids. This is the vantage point from the Pyramid of the Moon. The Pyramid of the Sun is pictured in the background.

Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, rx1riiTeotihuacán Pyramid of the Sun Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, tourists, selfie, rx1riiA couple takes a selfie at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán.

Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, man, tourist, "cowboy hat", rx1riiA man takes in the view from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán. Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, officer, security, sombrero, rx1riiSecurity patrols the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán.

Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, carvings, "sacrificial temple", rx1riiIntricate carvings at a sacrificial temple at Teotihuacán. Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, stonework, rx1riiA detail shot of the stonework that appears throughout the structures at Teotihuacán. Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, tourists, rx1riiA tourist group mingles at Teotihuacán. Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, tourists, rx1riiFrom the vantage point of the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacán. Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, rx1rii Teotihuacán, pyramids, "pyramid of the sun", "pyramid of the moon", "mexico city", mexico, Mesoamerican, Aztecs, architecture, cactus, rx1rii

A day of rest followed the endurance test that was Teotihuacán, and then we experienced the home of Frida Kahlo, now a museum. I hadn't studied Frida's work or her life, and I was struck by how much she went through, and how much she challenged social norms. There was a long line outside which you can skip if you've purchased your tickets online.

"museo frida kahlo", "Frida Kahlo", home, museum, museo, mexico, "ciudad de mexico", travel, tourism, vacationMuseo Frida Kahlo, the home of Frida Kahlo "museo frida kahlo", "Frida Kahlo", home, museum, museo, mexico, "ciudad de mexico", travel, tourism, vacationMuseo Frida Kahlo, the home of Frida Kahlo "museo frida kahlo", "Frida Kahlo", home, museum, museo, mexico, "ciudad de mexico", travel, tourism, vacationMuseo Frida Kahlo, the home of Frida Kahlo  

My favorite part of the museum was Frida's studio, a bright, airy space with her paints, brushes, wheelchair, and other interesting things.

"museo frida kahlo", "Frida Kahlo", home, museum, museo, mexico, "ciudad de mexico", travel, tourism, vacation, studio, "paint brushes", "gas mask"Frida Kahlo's studio. "museo frida kahlo", "Frida Kahlo", home, museum, museo, mexico, "ciudad de mexico", travel, tourism, vacation, studio, "paint brushes", "gas mask"Frida Kahlo's studio. "museo frida kahlo", "Frida Kahlo", home, museum, museo, mexico, "ciudad de mexico", travel, tourism, vacation, studio, "paint brushes", "gas mask"Frida Kahlo's studio. "museo frida kahlo", "Frida Kahlo", home, museum, museo, mexico, "ciudad de mexico", travel, tourism, vacation, studio, "paint brushes", "gas mask"Frida Kahlo's studio. Mary, listening to the audio tour on super cool headphones: "museo frida kahlo", "Frida Kahlo", home, museum, museo, mexico, "ciudad de mexico", travel, tourism, vacation, studio, "paint brushes", "gas mask"Frida Kahlo's studio.

I didn't know that Frida had so many health issues, complicated further by a horrible vehicular accident as a young-adult. Here, a drawing in her diary depicts her relationship with her body and its maladies. 

This was Frida Kahlo's death bed, where a representation of her lays in memoriam.

"Frida Kahlo", "death bed"Frida Kahlo's death bed.

At Mary's insistence, we also experienced Lucha Libre - a huge, cartoonish, wrestling event in Mexico City that some say is bigger than the WWE. It's also where I learned the word "maricon," which was yelled by a spectator at one of the wrestlers, and which regrettably ended up in my Google Translate history afterward. (And now it's in this blog post, further illustrating my questionable judgement.)

Unfortunately cameras were not permitted at this event, so in lieu of pictures, here are our tickets. And if you're worried that we overpaid - don't be. $120 pesos is just a little over $6 USD.

No cameras allowed at La Lucha Libre. So here are our tickets.No cameras allowed at La Lucha Libre. So here are our tickets.

I did sneak a picture with my phone. This is one of the more flamboyant wrestlers making his entrance flanked by scantily clad women. I believe he was wearing some type of bird costume. 

We saw so much during this trip that I'm having trouble not sharing it all. I'll wrap this up with a few favorites - our visit to El Moro, (a wonderful churro shop), Zócalo, Monument a la Revolución, and Bosque de Chapultepec.

And finally, we discovered a view from the roof of our apartment the night before our departure. It was a pleasing send-off to a beautiful Mexico City experience.   The view from our apartment's roof garden.The view from our apartment's roof garden.

You can find additional pictures from our trip in this gallery.


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