Many of you know that I grew up on a farm in rural Oklahoma. If you didn’t know, imagine a drive of forever and a half to reach the nearest city of any size, a painful lack of cable TV, and a barn full of horses that needed constant care.
In reality, I loved caring for my horses, Tulsa was really only about 50 minutes away, and thanks to the internet I can now watch all the TV I could ever hope to. Forever.
As an adult I came to adore cities. San Francisco, New Orleans, Honolulu, Boston, Prague, Amsterdam, Beijing, Kaohsiung, Istanbul, Lima, Moscow.
I really could go on and on.
While we did spend two hot and strange years in the UAE, and while I liked Abu Dhabi and Dubai, they both lacked that sense of time and mystery that I appreciate in a big city.
And Panama City wasn’t much better. I like its heady financial prowess and appreciate the struggle to maintain the history in areas like Casco Viejo, but it’s still not my kind of city.
So, in about three weeks, I’m going to experience a new city.
I’ve never been there and I only have 48 hours, mas o menos, so if I have my way– which is unlikely as I’m traveling with friends and compromise is key– this is what I’ll do for my very first run-in with the mighty Distrito Federal.
Mexico City is famous for its museums, and its anthropology museum, Museo Nacional de Antropologia, has the largest collection of Mexican art in the world, all of which spans hundreds of years of Mayan, Aztec, and colonial culture. I could easily get lost for a day in a museum like this, and that’s exactly how long the experts say you should give it.
The verdict? I think I’ll save this one to experience after we move to Mexico City.
So, my choice of museums for my limited time would have to be the Frida Kahlo Museum. The Casa Azul and all of the treasure housed within will definitely satisfy my craving for more knowledge about this enigmatic artist, especially as it intertwines with her relationship with Diego Rivera and the years that Leon Trotsky played a role in her life.
Speaking of Diego Rivera, I want to see his murals at the Palacio Nacional too.
Food. All the Food.
Tulum as a foodie town is nothing to sneer at; I’ve had some damn fine meals here. La Chiapaneca for tacos al pastor and Mezzanine for incredible Thai immediately come to mind. There’s also decent pizza and a really good burger place.
That being said, I simply miss the options that a big city has on offer. Option after option after option.
I’ve been brushing up on my trendy DF restaurant knowledge, and there are a lot of them, and most of them are laden with rave reviews. Since I only have 48 hours in Mexico City I’ll have to choose wisely.
A friend recommended that I try Maximo Bistroh, but I think I might be more drawn to the other incarnation of Chef Eduardo García, Lalo!. It seems to have a funky, relaxed vibe and much less pressure than other restaurants of its type, while still serving up inspired dishes.
And of course I simply can’t avoid a taqueria, and it seems like El Pescadito in the Condesa neighborhood is the one to dive into mouth first, especially if the alleged crowds are any indication. Sonoran style tacos? Say no more.
Take a Walk
Do you ever just want to take a walk, and simply get lost a little? Maybe through a park, maybe along a quiet city street, maybe anywhere.
I do. I want to do that all the time.
Walking in Tulum is short and sweet, and right now it’s also hot. I want to take a walk in Mexico City.
The Zocalo immediately comes to mind. Also called Plaza de la Constitución this is Mexico City’s main square. It used to be considered one of the largest in the world, but squares such as Tahrir Square, Tiananmen Square, and India Gate have pulled ahead.
However, this square has history dating back to Aztec times, and is just near the Templo Mayor, the one-time center of the universe for said Aztecs. Since the Palacio Nacional and the Metropolitan Cathedral are here, I think it’ll make for a great place to just wander and look around.
Chapultepec Park also sounds like it would make for a beautiful walk. The last time I wandered through a city park was in Montevideo, Uruguay last year, and it was rife with human waste and that constant need to watch my back. A park with clean paths, leafy trees, flowers, birds, monuments, and even a castle? It sounds absolutely delightful.
And if Travel and Leisure ranks it as one of the best city parks in the world, I think it’s worth a look.
July 17 really can’t come fast enough. While I know that I’ll be eying everything in Mexico City as it pertains to our move there, which will happen right after I get back, I’m just so excited to visit a city that’s been on my list for years, to make my way down a crowded street, to have the painful choice of too many restaurants to count, and to just have a fun and full weekend with my friends.
And tequila. There will also be tequila, I’m sure of it.