The long walk of CDMX | Day 344 of my 2023 Journal

silke-yuna

The classic pilgrimage to the main art museum, the cathedral, the central square, and the Aztec ruins took us through a rich array of experiences. The market for handmade artifacts, some amazing and some cheap stuff for tourists. The dodgy area where people live in tents in the streets. The park had a square with communal dancing (it was Sunday).

Of course, there were beautiful buildings from colonial times and new and shiny huge houses on Main Street; we saw insects roasted with salt and chili, served in plastic cups with French fries, lime, and chili sauce. Dried corn of all colors and a beautifully ripe passion fruit so big, it was hard to eat without tools.

We met Chinatown with street vendors, steamed bread of all colors, noise, and a huge crowd. And we walked out of it, right into the groups in front of the Palacio del Arte, the central art museum.

In Mexico City, all museums (with only two exceptions) are free on Sundays, and there were quite a few people there. We enjoyed looking at people and sat taking turns looking after the dogs while the other team was inside to enjoy Diego's murals and other overwhelming pieces, plus the building itself.

As we continued after the museum, the crowds intensified, and we almost turned around but decided we wanted to go through with the plan so we did not need to go back on another day. The central square is the largest in the Latin American world, but no one could see it because of the many market tents and thousands of people. Pushing around a corner, we realized one part of the cathedral was open (most was closed), and escaped the crowds to the silence of meditation and prayer for a While. How very nice. And what a contrast!

Outside the dancers, imitating the assumed Aztec style, the hundreds of dolls for sale, the snacks, the souvenirs, the political protesters in tents, the beggars, the police, the tourists. Inside the simple house of God, silence, beauty, and peace.

This gave us the strength to push through and arrive at the Aztec ruins. Unfortunately, it was not early enough for all of us to enjoy, but Silke and I made it in before they closed it off for the day. More treasures from the prehispanic times for us to take in: skulls, jewelry, the remains of a dog, the remains of a wild culture!

Escaping the crowds, we aimed for a vegan restaurant and sat down with relief to rest and some lovely food. What a privilege! In the end, we walked back alongside the main road with the tall buildings and the several kilometers-long Christmas fair, looking at stuff, people, and buildings. Took pictures of the angel of liberty and became very cold and tired so that we could collapse on the beds upon our return.

The contrasts of this city are plenty. It is crazy to see the street people collapse on the side of the road, the huge buildings of steel and glass, and the initiative of the many street vendors, food stalls, jugglers at the red light, tourists, and expats.

The little lady in one of the photos cooking mini pancakes on a handmade stove of close to nothing is making some living at the main square of Mexico City, where the soldiers shot the centerpiece of the calendar stone a few hundred years ago, the dancers with the big dress-up same story, living off something they do and can. I am not sure what to think about it; I find it a relief and somehow disturbing at the same time.

Underneath all the snacks in one of the pictures is the smallest little wagon; the roof is just a piece of plastic, and the whole thing is put tighter with pegs and tape. I am baffled and full of respect. 

With love

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Cecilie Conrad

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The waiting Monday | Day 345 of my 2023 Journal

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