Travels with V



Dance, smoke and mural art

Mexico City part two

Once our backpacks are safely stored in our room we set out to explore Centro Histórico. And we’re dazzled by the impressions we encounter. The excavated Templo Mayor with its slithering stone snakes, the exciting temple museum, the grandiose cathedral and the enormous National Palace. But most of all what we see on the small plaza between the temple and the Zócalo square. Heavy drumming incites dancers with heavy headpieces and traditional dresses to swirl and sway while smoke from healing ceremonies fills the air. 

In the main square, the Zócalo a man holds a sign accusing the Mexican government of being corrupt. Street musicians play the traditional oompah-oompah and swarms of people walk in every direction. We slip into the cathedral, but only in a chapel at the side, the queues to the main hall is way too long. Inside you’re surprised, as always in catholic countries, by the ways the relations between Christ and the church dignitaries is portrayed. And how the holy virgin is always the perfect and self sacrificing mother. 

We leave Zócalo and walk through Centro Histórico with its small and a bit tired shops mostly targeting tourists. A few blocks away the magnificent exterior of the Palacio de Bellas Artes appears, a fluffy little castle that’s an art museum and a culture center. We enter to see some works that are special for Mexico since ancient times, the mural paintings. After the so called Mexican revolution socially aware artists like Diego Rivera,  José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros became masters of murals and here you can find some of their work.


The painting above is  huge and was originally made for the lobby in New York’s Rockefeller Center. But when Nelson Rockefeller realized that one of the people in the painting was the Soviet leader Lenin the whole wall was destroyed. Diego Riviera recreated it for Bellas Artes. 

Not far from here, on the other side of the legendary Alameda Park, lies Diego Riviera’s own museum. But to enter you have to buy tickets months in advance. So we never saw that, unfortunately.

The Alameda park is said to be the oldest park in America, and it is the model for similar parks all over Latin America. A large rectangle with a geometric pattern of roads that cross each other. A circle in the middle with a fountain. We’ve seen it in every town we have visited in Central America.

In the  Almeda Park we also find a giant monument in honur of Benito Juaréz, the former Mexican president that is associated with fight for freedom and social justice. He was also the first indigenous president in Mexico. 

When we’re there there’s a political demo that everybody seems to ignore. When we are informed that it’s a rally in support of Russia”s attack on Ukraine, we’re not interested either. 

The Alameda Park is a place loaded with activities. There are salsa lessions going on in one place, young dancers rehearsing a performence in another, acrobats practicing new tricks in a third. This country is a lot about dancing!

In another park a few blocks to the south couples are dancing to the tunes of Mexican pop songs sung by a woman on a stage. And i the other end of that park someone has just turned on a music player and couples dance to that. It’s Sunday in Mexico City! 

We scan the streets trying to find the Memory and Tolerance museum, but it takes us a little while to find it, it’s almost hidden behind a wall. It’s an unusual museum started by an organization devoted to bringing attention to intolerance, persecution and genocide. Starting with the nazi holocaust we are presented to a handful of other instances with similar atrocities, for example Rwanda, Tibet and the civil war in Guatemala. It’s a brilliant exposition and very emotional. 

Through the city center a grand avenue runs, Paseo de la Reforma. A broad parade street with Paris’ Champs Elysees as an inspiration, it is bordered by gigantic and super modern office buildings. We see big boxes that seem to house every radio station in the city. Normally traffic is intense here but today it’s closed for cars. Instead bicyclists pour in from all over, kids, people on rented bikes and spandex racers. It’s a bicycle fiesta and the air is much clearer. 

Resebloggar finns det gott om men vi har en lite annan tanke med våra berättelser. Vi vill främst beskriva våra upplevelser av udda platser, människorna vi möter och miljöer som är rätt annorlunda mot vad vi möter hemma.

Därför hamnar vi ibland i avlägsna indianbyar i Guatemalas berg eller bland andetroende bybor på en ö i Indonesien. Men också på mer kända platser som Machu Picchu i Peru eller sandstränderna i Goa. Allt sett genom våra ögon och kameror.

Den som vill ha restips får också sitt - varje resmål har en avdelning med sånt vi kan rekommendera. Eller undvika. Vårt fokus är framför allt att sporra er läsare att göra som vi - resa rätt ut i den vida världen.