Random Inspirations

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Reflections on a Vacation in Mexico City

on February 20, 2014

For the long President’s Day weekend, Antonio and I decided to visit a faraway land…Mexico City, to be exact. Antonio’s good friend had been inviting us down forever, and we decided it was time to just do it already!

My first impression of Mexico City was wow. It is, without a doubt, the largest city I’ve ever seen…much bigger than New York or LA. Flying over la Ciudad de Mexico was like overlooking a sea of lights. It was 11 PM on a Friday night, and the city was glowing with vitality and energy.

We had the privilege of staying with our friends Cristian and Ana, in their gorgeous casa in the north of Mexico City, by Polanco, and they made sure we had an awesome weekend. Mexico City is the perfect amalgamation of ancient past and glittering present, and our amazing “tour guides” showed us exactly that.

Our first full day in Mexico City, we drove to San Angel, an historic community in the south of the city. We enjoyed a delicious outdoor brunch where I tried my first-ever sopa de melon (melon soup), a Mexican specialty that is both sweet and salty. And then, fortified for the day ahead, we attended the Bazaar del Sabado (Saturday Bazaar).

Traditional Mexican music, played by three men on a xylophone-like instrument, emanated throughout the open courtyard as we browsed jewelry, housewares, and art. The prices were reasonable, mostly because $1.00 is equal to 13 pesos, so even though the items sounded expensive they really weren’t. Antonio and I practiced our Spanish and our negotiating skills as we purchased an abalone mask, a ceramic skull, a jade bracelet, and a leather cuff bracelet.

Naturally, being a book enthusiast, I sniffed out a libreria (bookstore), where I bought a book called Con Permiso del Sol (With Permission of the Sun). I’ve started reading it to practice my Spanish, and the experience has been fun and enriching. If you’re trying to learn another language, I’d definitely recommend reading a book in that language. It’s challenging, but, for me anyway, seeing the words in print reinforced all the phrases I’d been hearing scattered randomly throughout conversations all weekend.

At the libreria in San Angel

At the libreria in San Angel

That night we had a house party…Mexican style! It lasted until 6 AM! Antonio and I passed out somewhere around 3:30 AM, though…our day of exploration had tired us out, in a good way.

Sunday, we checked out downtown Mexico City, and were completely blown away. It’s a bustling metropolis full of street performers, breathtaking architecture, music, and dancing. I danced in the street twice: once when we passed a stand blaring fun, festive music, and again when we reached a group of street performers doing a traditional Aztec dance. We marveled at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the most important cultural center in Mexico City, which serves as an opera house, theater, and museum. Then, we enjoyed more delicious Mexican cuisine at the well-known Danubio Restaurant. The seafood was extraordinary, and my favorites were the langostinos (tiny lobsters) and the calamari cooked in its own ink. The restaurants of Mexico City have top-notch food and service.

Antonio and me in downtown Mexico City

Antonio and me in downtown Mexico City

As the sun sank lower in the sky, we made our way to a rooftop club, Mundo Joven (Young World). A DJ was silhouetted against the imposing, historic buildings of the Mexico City skyline, pumping out innovative house music. To me, this epitomized the blending of old and new that you’ll find in the bonita Ciudad de Mexico

That night, we ate at a yummy taqueria, where we tried pastor (pork) tacos with pineapple and an appetizer of cactus and toasted cheese (my first time ever eating a cactus), and we fell completely in love with coconut milk. I wish we could import these traditional Mexican tacos into the states…I’ve never tasted anything like them. Then again, they just give us more incentive to return to Mexico City!

Our last day in Mexico, we went to the pyramids in Teotihuacan, the City of the Gods. I remembered learning about this place in high school Spanish class, and was psyched to see the Piramide del Sol y la Piramide de la Luna

Armed with our sombreros and SPF 50 sunscreen, we climbed to the top of the Sun and Moon Pyramids. As soon as I stepped onto the Piramide del Sol, I felt as if I was being touched by history, and a bit of magic. Antonio even found a butterfly, which I carried toward the top of the pyramid. When we reached a scenic overlook, I released the mariposa and we both made a wish. And when we reached the top of the pyramid, we sat on the side overlooking the Piramide de la Luna, and meditated, reflecting on life and love. Seeing this awe-inspiring, enduring piece of the past helped us to appreciate the many things in this world that are bigger than we are…yet, somehow, it also made us reach deeper into our own essences, looking further into ourselves for meaning and inner peace.

We climbed the Piramide de la Luna next; only the bottom set of steep steps was open to the public. But we were okay with this. The first tier of the pyramid afforded us a first-class view of the Piramide del Sol, and we were able to sit on the edge, dangling our feet below as we basked in the sunshine like lizards. It was a pretty amazing afternoon.

Climbing the Piramide de la Luna

Climbing the Piramide de la Luna

We left Mexico City that night exhausted, yet recharged…completely inspired for the work week ahead. And ever since I’ve been back home, my writing has been on fire. It seems that all we needed for a bit of physical and creative renewal was a weekend surrounded with scintillating artistic and ancient culture!

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2 responses to “Reflections on a Vacation in Mexico City

  1. Sounds like a place I need to visit.

  2. Definitely. I think you would love it!

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