Nearly a month after arriving in Mexico, I think I’ve finally found my step.
I substituted my passion for Cuban music and dance with my curiosity and interest in Mexican food - probably not the healthiest substitute, but at least a delicious one.
Flying from Havana, a city of 2 million at sea level, to La District Federal (D.F) a city of 21 million at 2200 metres above sea level was a challenge to say the least. In fact, all week I suffered from rather pounding headaches. Fortunately, Andrea’s wonderful friend Merce welcomed me her great flat in Cayoacan - a beautiful colonial neighbourhood with charming but ankle-twisting cobblestone paths and low-rise buildings painted in bright reds, blues, and yellows. Coyoacan the childhood neighbourhood of Frida Kahlo, and still has a small village-like feel in this huge metropolis.
I spent the first few days indulging on internet and lattes and embarrassingly, I never left the neighbourhood. Finally, after several days I ventured into the city center. The Zocalo, a huge square surrounded by the National Palace, other government buildings, and the largest Cathedral in the world - it is a sight for the eyes.
In the rest of my week in D.F., I visited a number of the main burroughs:
- Had drinks in Saint Angel, a quaint colonial neighbourhood with a great Saturday market;
- Dined on octopus tostadas and guacamole in posh Condesa;
- Visited street markets and tried half a dozen corn products, I'd never heard of before (tlayudas, glycoyos, gorditas, sopes, the list goes on)!
- Went to a punk-rock concert in Roma to see musician Mike Dillon perform with Todd Clouser (we happened to meet at a Starbucks during my lazing period);
- Watched some of the best flamenco south of Spain at a flamenco bar in Roma;
- Fell in love with the National Anthropolgy Museum; and,
- Visited Bosque de Chapultepec, the Central Park of Mexico City and lunched in Polanco, clearly where the 1% live in D.F - With trees lined streets and patios, valet parked lots full of Mercedes and BMWs, it feels more like Upper West side of New York or Yorkville in Toronto, than Mexico.
On Saturday morning, Merce and I escaped the hectic pace of the D.F. and went to Tepoztlan, a small town one hour from the city with the sacred mountain of Tepozteco.
A one hour hike gets you to the top of the mountain where you can visit a small temple constructed to the sacred mountain of Tepozteco (dedicated to Tepoztecatl the god of an alcoholic beverage named pulque).
The town makes for a great day trip and break from the capital. For lunch, we dined on quesadillas made from fresh corn masa filled with Oaxacan cheese, zucchini flowers (flor de calabaza) and corn mushrooms (huitlacoche).