Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mexico City!

¡Hola! I'm typing this from my NYC apartment (yay!). I just moved in  a few days ago, and I'm only in the second week of my new job, so I'm just getting around to blogging about my latest adventure: Mexico City and Tulum! I'm going to break it up into two posts, starting in chrono order with Mexico City or "CDMX" (Ciudad de Mexico) as the cool kids are calling it now. Side note: I thought I was being cool by calling Mexico City "DF" (Distrito Federal), but apparently that's only what the old folks call it now. One of our tour guides explained that Mexico City had recently undergone a sort of rebranding, as the state containing Mexico City was being re-named Mexico state, so they decided to go with CDMX for the city itself, kind of like New York and New York City. It was a bit confusing, tbh haha.

Anyway...on to the trip! Two of my good friends from college got married and invited me down to Mexico City for the nuptials! The bride is originally from Mexico City, and the groom himself is Mexican, so it was a traditional, non-destination wedding, which was awesome! Witnessing the union of two great friends of mine since college was a great experience.

The day before the festivities, a friend and I passed the day in Condesa, which is such a cool area. We walked around a path that used to be a horse track (El Hipódromo) that went in a big ellipse around Parque México. There were so many lush tropical trees lining the path and the sidewalk that you could be forgiven for thinking you were walking through the jungle, in the best way. Colonia Condesa scored a lot of points with me for having plenty of juice shops, pilates studios, cafés and all the other typical yuppie/hipster fixtures I look for in a neighborhood (only slightly kidding).

We also took an uber (do NOT take a street taxi in CDMX!) to Ciudadela Market, which was amazing. So much awesome stuff. I wish I'd had more space in my luggage! I snagged a vase for my new apartment as well as a tote bag for my sister, a traditional-style dress for me and a few ceramic skulls, per my sister's request.

Literally bought this exact same Talavera plate for my mom in Cancún, but smaller lol. 

Some political graffiti on the walls outside the Ciudadela

The bride, who was always the planner in our group back in college, made sure to have lots of activities for the wedding guests leading up to the big night. It was my first time in Mexico City, so having planned events made it easier to learn more about the city while also providing ample opportunities to get better acquainted with the other wedding guests. The first event was a lovely party at her family's home in Lomas to welcome the guests coming in from out of town.

Celebrating the lovely couple!
The next day, we got up bright and early to go to the pyramids of Téotihuacan. I've been to Chichen Itza, but these were waaaaaay bigger. These pyramids were constructed by the Mexicas, rather than the Mayans. I was surprised to learn that the Aztecs did not build these pyramids themselves, but rather discovered them, and gave them the names we know them by today (Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Moon, etc.). There is actually quite a bit we don't know about the Téotihuacan complex, and if you're a nerd like me, you'll enjoy this article which expounds on some of the recent archeological activity conducted at the site.

The sun was not in my favor, but this photo shows the "hidden wall" of a pyramid featuring masks of Quetzalcoatl and some other deity whose name I forget haha.

Luckily, you can still climb the pyramids! There is talk, however, of banning tourists from climbing them in the near future.

That night we went bar-hopping in Roma, which is the cool/hipster area of Mexico City. Blanco Colima was a standout, really cool spot. I didn't go myself, but some others in our group went to Nueve Nueve for dinner, and they said it was really great. It looked really beautiful from the street, I certainly plan on going next visit.

During the course of the wedding festivities, we stayed at a tony hotel in Polanco, which is like the Beverly Hills of Mexico City, or so I'm told. Polanco is a really convenient place to stay for a tourist, as it is super close to Chapultepec park (fun fact: "Chapultepec" means cricket/grasshopper mound!) and the various museums, and also a short uber ride away from both Roma and Condesa.

The day of the wedding, we took a city tour during the day before returning to Polanco in the afternoon to prep for the main event. Our guide took us to the Zócalo, which was the main square of Mexico City during colonial times and also the main square during the Aztec period when the city was called Tenochtitlan. Apparently, many of the foundations of the colonial buildings were built using stones from the pyramids that used to exist there. We also walked over to the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which is gorgeous. I had to watch the opening sequence of Spectre after I got home, b/c everyone kept saying, "omg, the Bond movie guysssss" haha.

The Torre Latinoamerica bears an uncanny resemblance to the Empire State Building.

The Palacio de Bellas Artes. That ombré effect, am I right??

The last stop of our tour was the Museo Nacional de Anthropologia and mannnnn did they save the best for last, lemmetellya! So history! Much artifacts!

Ceremonial necklace of shells carved to look like teeth.

Replicas of bodies found wearing necklaces made of human and animal jawbones.

This giant stone commemorated the various war victories during Montezuma's reign. The channel running down the side is for...take a wild guess.

Unfortunately, we kinda had to speed through it, but was amazing. We were told by our guide that the famous"Aztec Calendar" is not a calendar, but some sort of sacrificial basin that was used for the sacrifice of warriors. Lovely haha.

Then, the wedding! So gorgeous. The rumors are true: Mexican weddings ARE the best. The catholic mass at the beginning was beautiful, and the reception was amazing. I remember asking Isa if she was going to have a band at her wedding, and her replying with a mysterious chuckle. Now I know why: there was an orchestra's worth of violin players walking around with light-up violins, a cover band that would occasionally throw crazy hats and sunglasses out to the crowd, a 10-man mariachi band, and probably more that I have either forgotten or didn't notice.

Awww. :)

And there you have it! After Mexico City, I went with a friend to Tulum, but I'll save that for another post. Hope you all enjoyed!