After I arrived in Mexico City on Thursday and checked in to Chill Out Flat in the historic center just four blocks from the Zocalo, I hit the streets. (Reminder: I’m traveling alone and feel completely safe here.) Carlos Slim, the wealthiest man in the world and owner of Telmex, has invested heavily in the renovation and resurgence of this part of Mexico City. There are broad walking avenues lined with shops and restaurants, newly paved cobblestone streets, and a sense of energy and spirit. I did not blink an eye about walking back to my hostel after dark!
So on my first day out, here’s what I found!
First at the Dulceria de Celaya on Calle 5 de Mayo, sugar sculptures in preparation for Dia de los Muertos. And, some tasty meringues.
Just outside the sweet shop was this young organ grinder. I couldn’t help myself with this series of quick street portraits.
Then, on to Remigio’s in the Azul Historico complex at Isabel la Catolica #30, around the corner from Francisco I. Madero, a couple of blocks from the Zocalo, where Oaxaca’s indigenous textile maven has opened a new shop. Below left, Sofia Neponuceno Victoriano and Sagrario Martinez Ambrosio, both Mixes from Oaxaca, can help you find exactly what you are looking for. The best quality is here!
At the Zocalo, I found Mexico’s cathedral, an impressive tribute to the might of Spanish conquest and conversion.
Inside, the massive organ dominates while small shrines to protect women and children line wide aisles. The one with the locks and bows caught my attention.
Outside, a shaman healer smudges a passerby with a copal incense burner and smudge sticks. Notice the skull sculpture that adorns the corner below right. Bones were an important part of Aztec tradition, a way for the Old World priests to attract the indigenous to the New Religion.
And just so we don’t forget what’s really important in today’s world …
Along Av. Simon Bolivar I come across a Quinciniera photo shoot and follow the troupe down the street. Is she too old to be age fifteen? I assume it is a mock portrait session. A great opportunity for me, too.
From a corner balcony on the pedestrian avenue, an opera singer in full regalia, microphone in hand, is singing Mozart. I turn to look at the crowd of families, couples strolling hand in hand, visitors from foreign lands and all parts of Mexico. It is a perfect night for walking and window gazing.
Eco-bike parks are everywhere, hop on and hop off for an environmentally sound way to travel in a congested city with 23 million people.
Then, spotted at a local Amigos hostel, a warning to guests!