torsdag 10. mai 2012

Mexico City

Mexico city is pretty large city, well, at least I think so. It may have to do with the fact that we only stayed there for a day and a half (was on our way to Cuba, thats why the short time). So a day and a half to do and see everything we wanted, now, whats to see in Mexico City?

Some facts about Ciudad de México that can be nice to know is that the city has about 8,84 million habitants (that is big, Norway as a whole country has only 5 million), and it is Mexico largest city as well as its most important political, cultural, educational and financial center. Mexico city has a rich architecture and you will see several examples of colonial and modern buildigs that show the wealth of its past and its modern present. If you like museums and art this is the city for you. Take a walk through Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum) or visit the Museo Nacionl de Antopologia (Natioanl Anthropology Museum). Just the buildings are worth having a look at, beautiful, beautiful architecture.

If you are not into art or museums you can also see an other cultural side of Mexico, festivals! There are many festivals throughout the year and Mexico is quite famous for some of them, i.e Day of the Dead that are a festivity hosted on the 1st and 2nd of November. A small list of the top 10 festivals are:

- Son Jarocho Music Festival, at the riverside in the town of Tlacotalpan in early February

-  Festival de Mexico, national and international acts like dance, music and theater, mid March

- Carnecal in Veracruz & Mazatlàn, biggest carnival in Mexico, March

- Guelaguetza Festival in Oaxaco city, folklore dance and music, keeping traditions alive, held in July

- La Morisma, at Zacatecas, an re-enacting of the war between the Christians and Moors in old Spain.
The faux soldiers attack one another while accompanied on the streets by bands of musicians. Late August.

- Festival Inernacional Cervantino, dedicated to the novelist Miguel Cervantes of Don Quijote. October.

- Morelia International Flim Festival, in mid October.

- Fiestas de Uctubre, in Guadalajara, music and arts, last for a month in October

- Day of the Dead, celebration for those who have passed. 1st and 2nd of November

- Fiesta de Santa Cecilia, in Mexico City at the Mariachi Square, celebration to St. Cecilia the patron saint of musicians. Held on November 22nd.  

So that was it for the facts. Sadly we did not get to see any festivals when we were there, however, to be really good tourists and support the "local" community, we went to Starbucks to get a coffe and look at some maps and leaflets of what to do. Even got to use my dictionary:)

As we had no clue what to do and we wanted to see as much as possible in the little time we were there, we went on the tourbus. It is very touristy to go on a tourbus like that, but you do get to see things and hear about the history and cluture of the place. Besides, when it is sunny you can get a tan as well (or a burn, if you don't put lotion on, tried it!).

Palacio Nacional, here you can find the federal treasury and national archives and it is located on the East side of the Zocalo. Main attraction is the Diego Rivera's murals depicting thousands of years of Mexican history.

Catedral Metropolitana took almost 3 centruies to construct and decorate and it began in 1573. Because of the long building period the cathedral has a mixture of styles. On the main altar inside the cathedral it is a painting particularly noteworthy, "The Assumption of the Virgin", painted in 1726 by Juan Rodruguez,

You can see from the pictures that there are many tourists at these places, but it is really worth going to. One thing I am very sad we missed was the Museo Frida Kahlo. It i s located at the Casa Azul ( the blue house), where she was born and raised, she lived there for her whole life actually. As many people know, she had a relationship (very turbulent one), with the famous muralist Diego Rivera. And if you want to see some of his work, you can go to the white marble Palacio de Bellas Artes. You will also find many giant murals at Mexico City's metro station. 

There are several buildings like the ones above, and many of them are today museusm and attractions. however, there are something else that Mexico is known all over the world for and that is Tequila!!!!!! In December 2010 the Museo de Tequila y Mezcal opened. Here you can see a whole dedication and celebration for the two famous liquors, and if you are luck you will get to see the mariachi groups that frequent the museum’s plaza each evening. Make sure to time your visit to see this.

Picture above shows the Monumento a la Revoluciòn.

The angel of independence or El Àngel de la Independencia as it is called in Spanish is one of the  most recognizable landmarks in Mexico City. It was built in 1910 as an anniversary of the Mexican independence. Today the 45 meter tall landmark it has become a focal point for both celebration and protest. 

 This funny looking building in Polanco is acctually a shopping centre. Kind of stands out form all other buildings you have ever seen.

Fuent de Petròleos, located on Passeo de la Reforma.

 So during the day time we did get to see some stuff even though we were there on a very limited time period:) However, when we got to the evening time we were in an area that was not the busiest (can not remember the name of the hotel). As we experienced some parts of the city was quite dead in the evening/night time and it's not all the areas yo want to be walking around in if you are not familiar with the city. We didn't have any problems or see anything bad, its just that it was so busy in the day time and then very quiet at night time, that usually is a sign that there are certaint areas you should stay way from. (It's like that all over the world doh). Well, we are in mexico and of course we need to go out and have some Mexican food, I love Mexican food and there was no way I was going to eat in the hotel, not that it was bad, it wasn't, I just wanted to go to a taco/burrito, Mexican tequila, sombrero, caramba place. Didn't take us long to find one either. Talking abot food, we had lunch the next day, before we left for Cuba, on this very nice, busy restaurant, where the local people normally goes. We asked in the reception of the hotel for a place like that, and they sent us on a bus somewhere, agian can not remember the area. It was a lot of tourists there, but also many local people. I really like to see the local side of the places I go to, and see and do stuff the way local people do. I feel I get a better experience and knowledge about the place that way. Also after writing this, I have learned that I need to write down the name of the places I go to, otherwise it is very difficult to recommend it to other people.

Oh yeh, before I finish off, lets talk a bit about the airport in Mexico, MEX. We were there during easter so there is a lot of people traveling then, but seriously!!!!!! CRAZY!! I have never seen so many angry passengers at on airline desk as I did at the Aero Mexico counters. Peopel were screaming and shouting and yelling big time. We, flew stand by so we didn't get anywhere with that airline (fully booked throughout the day, and the next day) so we decided to grab some food and find a plan b, c and d to get to our next destination, CUBA! We strated talking to the guy at the restaurant and he explained why people were so angry with the airline. I don't know if this is true or not, but it is the way he had experienced it, apparently Aero Mexico try to tell their passengers that if they don't check in 3 hours before departure they loos their seats. Major overbookings here I guess, and how do we solve that! Turning passengers that are too late, after checkin deadline, away. That is pretty standard for all airlines doh, if you are too late you lose your seat, however, in most cases that will be 30, 40-45 min before departure, not 3 hours.

We ended up buying tickets with American Airlines to Miami, then to Montego Bay, then the next day we would arrive in Cuba!

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