Fortunately, the end of the world as predicted by the Mayans did not come. Actually, in the streets of Mexico City there is absolutely NO sign of anyone in any way concerned with this date in time.
We spent the morning taking a trip out into the suburbs of the city and into the small area of Coyoacan which is a artsy, peaceful area and the home of Mexico’s most famous artists, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The problem though is how to get there, as the subway exits aren’t particularly close and we don’t have a map or a data plan! Somehow, something awesome happened to our iPhone and with one of our travel apps, we can actually use the GPS and get a map of the area! SWEET! Technology for the win.
The neighbourhood has this upscale residence feel to it, and we passed by several coffee shops with the intoxicating aromas of fresh coffee and baked goods. We were tempted by these cafes, but we did our research and we were going to grab lunch at the Coyoacan market! Somewhat like St Lawrence market of Toronto, it had these fresh food stalls selling all kinds of meats and fish, and we dined at a restaurant with chairs and tables lined out onto the streets. When given the menu, no matter how simple, we always have the hardest time trying to figure out what is what!!! Thankfully, sitting next to us the banker-looking guy with his hot girlfriend must have heard or felt our confusion and offered a few suggestions…in English! He definitely knew what he was saying, as the food was soooo good and fresh!
Next was the Frida Kahlo’s Museum, which was literally her home for most of her life. For those of you who aren’t into art, Frida is one of Mexico’s most popular female artist, who just happened to married one of the most famous modern artist of Mexico, Diego Rivera. Without going into history and what not, she paints surrealistic paintings and mostly famous because somehow, all her paintings have her own face on it with her trademark uni-brow. I was never a big fan, but after a bit more understanding of her life, I can understand things a bit more. The house was massive, and the whole thing was painted in an azure blue, which was pretty nice to look at. The humanized depiction of her surroundings and wide variety of collections which included a Mont Blanc designed pen dedicated to her, and her classic Mexican artisanal kitchen pots was also interesting. The most interesting though, was her wardrobe of classical Mexican clothing which she turned into her own ‘style’.
Leaving the museum we were on our way to UNAM, University National Autonomous Mexico, whose campus has been dedicated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one massive thing, and unfortunately because it’s holiday season here the campus is closed, and so is the public transport system that takes you into the university. At the bus stop, a nice lady lead us to a bus and told us to get off in 5minutes, but I misheard her saying 15minutes instead. So we went for a joyride to a Wal Mart….. and ended up further from where we wanted to go than before!!!! The GPS saved us once again.
UNAM campus is split into two, with a large conservation area in between, and for some reason the conservation area is closed to visitors so we were lost, and nobody spoke any English nor did they understand our simple Spanish. Luckily, we bumped this guy walking his dog who lead the way for us. With broken English, he tried to strike up a conversation. He studied political science, and asked if I like to play football. The conversation was going like any other, until he came out of the blue with a, “Do you like wheat?”. I was a bit confused, and he tried again, “Do you like mawiwana?”, and I got his point pretty quickly… ha ha ha, it got a bit strange after but he was very nice and helped us get to where we needed. What an awesome guy!
At the UNAM campus, it was quiet but the museums were still open. The university has a modern art museum housed within a very well designed building, but we just didn’t have the time to visit. The rest of the campus was just like any other campus, with the exception of big wide open spaces, and massive murals painted on several central buildings. The university was established back in the 1500s but all the buildings reminded us of our own alma mater that was mainly built in the middle of the 1900s.
And to cap off the evening of the end of the world, we celebrated with Korean food!