Thank God for conviction and a strong sense of a self. As you will note in a previous blog post, I got quite a bit of slack about my plans to go to Distrito Federal, otherwise known as Mexico City. The articles published online did not help my side of the story I wanted to paint, but I am so glad I went ANYWAY! I mean, I was ten seconds away from missing my first flight to Dallas because I have no respect for Houston's Hobby airport, but that is another story for another day. I suppose my bad karma from not respecting Hobby, was the fact that the wind did not respect me inside of the super small plane. After we landed, as one lady put it, "I thought we were plunging to our death". Awkward.
Thankfully, my flight from Dallas to Mexico City was better behaved. As we were making our approach into the city, I was astonished by how crowded the city was. I knew Mexico City was big, and crowded, and more populated than New York, but I was still searching for a clearing of land in order for the plane to arrive! Somehow, Benito Juarez airport made its way into the scene in a relatively close location to our AirBNB home. I even managed to make it through customs completely in Spanish and received a compliment for my Spanish skills (woot woot). I had less than an hour's wait before I caught up with my travel partner, TaQuana. We secured a taxi at one of the booths, got slightly lost in the airport, but eventually made our way to our AirBNB home.
As our taxi parked and was getting ready to get our bags, we felt a bang behind us. Did someone just hit this taxi?...And drive away like nothing happened?! Answer: Yes it did. We met an older lady who was a friend of our host who allowed us into the building and showed us how to get familiar. Once again, I was internally thanking God I remembered those years of Spanish practice from secondary school through college, as she did not speak English. After we handled logistics, we went to the first floor of our building to get some pizza. I got two slices and a coke for $3. If that was going to be the trend for Mexico City, then that was the kind of city for me.
Later that evening, we deliberated over our dinner plans and decided on Azul Historico, due to the fact that it was one of the only restaurants open past 10:00pm. We had a bit of a wait and were encouraged to go to the roof top to enjoy a drink and the DJ as we waited for food. This DJ was dope! I would have expected salsa, but he completely surprised us with his remixes of Kelis, Will Smith, and other 90's hits. It was a relaxed atmosphere, but some people had no shame in getting down. I would definitely come back to that roof top on another visit to Mexico City. Dinner at Azul Historico was an added bonus to the experience. It was on the expensive side for Mexico City standards, but if you were in the mood to splurge for a meal, this would be the one. The servers were extremely attentive and you can tell they pay special attention to detail from the candlelit decor, trees, and delivery of the check in a beautiful box.
The following day, Friday, we consulted the list of restaurants our AirBNB host left for us and chose El Cardenal. Once again, we were a bit lost in pursuit of the restaurant as we walked right past it, but eventually after I asked a police officer for directions, we were found! The staff loved us. I suppose seeing, #2BlackGirlsInMexico was a rare sight but they were not rude. We received plenty of attention, greetings, and stellar service! The only thing that was mildly funny was that it seemed as though all of the tourists were placed in one area of the restaurant.
After breakfast, we went site seeing to some historical Mexico City landmarks. The Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral was IMMACULATE. I am not Catholic, but I could still appreciate the splendor of this establishment. The details all created an experience that led to me getting slightly emotional, as that day was the one month mark of my grandfather's passing. It was peaceful to see so many people in prayer, and we even had the opportunity to watch a priest deliver mass and bless individuals as they were leaving. As soon as you thought that you captured everything within an area of the cathedral, you would catch another detail that you initially missed. I took plenty of pictures, but they did not do that building justice.
We did the short walk over to the National Palace at the Zocalo after finishing our tour of the cathedral. It was absolutely insane with how crowded and noisy the streets of Mexico City were, once you were inside the palace it was a place of serenity. This is partially because they monitor the gates and only allow 150 people in at a time. We had less than a ten minute wait and were not allowed to bring in large bottles of water, but that was a minor detail compared to this site. It was refreshing to see a space of greenery and more history. My favorite piece of the palace was simply admiring the Diego Rivera murals. Each segment told a story with so much emotion and representation of Mexican culture. I was pleased to see blacks included in the storytelling done by Rivera, which lets me know that at least he was aware of his nation's true history. The funniest moment from visiting the palace was when a security guard waved me down just to simply say hello. I was under the impression I was breaking some sort of tourist violation, but lo and behold, I was just receiving more black woman adoration.
When we departed from The Zocalo, we roamed around the streets a little bit and heard plenty of "beautiful", "mami", "Jamaica", whispers, barking like Omegas and other catcalls, from cops among the masses (I suppose crazy is universal). In fact, while having a leisurely drink at Puro Corazon, a pilot from Holland introduced himself to us and eventually joined our table. We invited him to join us for dinner back at Azul Historico, because I was determined to have the steak that TaQuana had the previous night. My meal was heavenly and my drinks were nice and strong because I noticed the bartender continuously making googly eyes towards me, so I would flash the occasional smile. Hey, if someone is handling your liquor, be nice to them!
The next day, Saturday, we went to Teotihuacan (click here for the post). Let's just say that because we hiked on empty stomachs, in mild heat, and then scarfed down our food immediately after, going out on a Saturday night was not happening. In hindsight, we missed the PRIDE parade, but I am just going to have to play that memory out in my mind.
On Sunday, we started the morning off by visiting Pasteleria Madrid, located one block away from our home. I was on a quest to buy some eyeshadow because I used the very last bit of my favorite shade and needed an immediate replacement. This led to an impromptu shopping session at LiverPool and El Palacio del Hierro. After we dropped our bags off, we went to Bosque de Chapultepec aka Chapultepec. We managed to go to the zoo, which was free and I think that's pretty dope. The city is so large and needs to have enough activities for the children of the city. Unfortunately, the rain gods decided to let their presence be known and we needed to make a fast exit. We dipped off into a bookstore that looked like a tree house. We desperately tried to make it to the Museum of Anthropology, and other museums, but this rain was nothing nice.
To get out of the weather we were on our way to grab a drink. Here's a funny story. I was paying the cab fare of $200MXN when the driver would not take the bill. Now, it did have a slight rip in the corner but everything else about the bill was in tact so I was pissed that he would not take the fare. In fact, I told him off in Spanish (so not ladylike) in all kinds of ways but somehow I had another bill and paid with that. We asked a bartender how come the cab driver would not take my bill and he informed us that the bill was counterfeit and told me to feel it. What the hell?! Look at karma. In hindsight, I believe I received it at the bus terminal because it was one of the rare moments that I used a large bill. Lesson learned! We were able still able to enjoy ourselves at Puro Corazon and the bartenders even played all kinds of ratchet fun music for us (i.e. Future, Nicki Minaj, and Fetty Wap). Our server, invited us out to hang out that night since we missed out on the Saturday night party.
We quickly made moves to get ready for the Museo del Tequila y el Mezcal (MUTEM) so that we could at least say we went to one museum. We were superstars there! You already receive two sample shots, one of tequila, the other mezcal, but we also receive a whole lot of love. They let us wear the special and obnoxiously large Mexico sombreros, and the male dancer who danced with a shot on his head, sent it to me. The mariachi man got a hold of my name, "Nicole from Texas", and summoned me to the stage to dance with him while he sang. Plenty of staff members, randomly floating mariachi men, and museum patrons wanted to talk to us, snap photos, and flirt. It was in good nature, unlike the bar we went after where the men were a little too persistent and we were so uncomfortable we decided to leave.
Overall, Mexico City was a blast. It is such a large city that you would think four days would be enough to explore it, but it was not. I would try to avoid being there on a Monday as all of the museums were closed, and that next time I would not go during rainy season. However, being there was definitely a nice mood lifter. Not that the two of us do not feel adequately attractive, but we definitely received an extra surplus of love and attention. You can visit the city, be fabulous, get some culture, and receive extra tequila. Sounds like a party to me!
Peace and Blessings,