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February 19th 2015
Published: February 20th 2015
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Reproduction of what parts of Teotihuacan looked like
Wednesday morning we did the usual routine. I fried up some nopales with an egg for a breakfast taco, and we were out the door by 10. We stopped at Café Punta del Cielo for an espresso frappé, then headed to the Anthropology Museum for real this time. Constructed in 1964, the structure itself is very cool - the exhibits all surround a courtyard with a pond and concrete umbrella supported by a single slender pillar over which water cascades. The exhibits are likewise surrounded by gardens on the outside, many of which contain exhibits themselves. We spent a good two hours exploring. The first floor is everything ancient, beginning with an introduction to anthropology and many pre-historic remains and artifacts. The most interesting exhibits were those showcasing the civilizations of Teotihuacan, which we had visited, and then Tenochtitlan, the predecessor to modern-day Mexico City. The upper floors were dedicated to the various indigenous people in Mexico today - much less interesting with too many awkward recreations of huts and whatnot.

From the museum we headed through Chapultepec to the metro, but not before running into the ancient ritual of the Danza de los Voladores on a pole in the
El CreadorEl CreadorEl Creador

Toltec sculpture of their 2-penis creator god
middle of the park. The ritual consists of dance and climbing a 30 meter pole from which several men in native dress then launch themselves tied with ropes to descend to the ground. One remains on top of the pole, dancing and playing a flute and drum. Good times!

The metro ride to Coyoacán took a bit since we had to transfer lines but the system still proved super efficient. Coyoacán means "place of the coyotes" in Nahuatl and is one of the 16 boroughs of Mexico City. The historic center is gorgeous, centered around two nice parks, and has one of the city's three oldest parishes, that of San Juan Bautista, constructed around 1552. There is a nice fountain with two coyotes, a lovely 18th century municipal building constructed by Cortés' descendants, and a 16th century archway once part of the Parish's atrium. We were starving and I knew a place I could get guacamole with chapulines (grasshoppers) right there, Corazón de Maguey. We started with some Mexican craft beer, then went for the guac with grasshoppers, which added a nice crunch and bit of salt. For my main I had huauzontle tlaxcalteca stuffed with shrimp and goat
Guacamole con chapulinesGuacamole con chapulinesGuacamole con chapulines

Guac with grasshoppers
cheese over black beans. Huauzontle is a native plant, apparently "goosefoot" in English, and tlaxcalteca refers to the Mexican state of Tlaxcala. Chris has a chicken breast in mole. At one point a man with a bucket of fried grasshoppers (big ones!) approached us, but since we were eating I didn't want to buy some, and of course I didn't see him afterwards.

After a bit more exploring we headed back toward where we came from to hit up the Frida Kahlo house and museum, the Casa Azul. Frida and Diego Rivera lived there for many years, as did Leon Trotsky while seeking asylum in Mexico. The house was beautiful and surrounded an interior courtyard with fountains and sculptures. Throughout the house were not only works of art by the couple, but also personal affects, furniture, and painting materials. Probably the most interesting thing to me was just how frail Frida was, stricken with polio as a child, then in a trolly accident at 18. On display were the various braces, corsets, and fake leg (after part of hers was amputated) she kept concealed behind her eye-catching and unique style. She died quite young at 47 and the house was converted to a museum a few years after.

From the Casa Azul we took the metro back from Coyuacán, which was a little much - we were stalled for quite a while and it was approaching rush hour so it wasn't particularly cozy. Eventually we made it back to downtown where we stopped at Starbucks for a bathroom break and wifi before Alex met us after work. We had dinner plans in Condesa with Jason, but not til 8, so we grabbed a couple drinks at a place by the embassy, the Cervezeria del Barrio chain. We had a round of frozen margs - Chris had mango while I had tamarind - definitely being fat Americans but whatever. We then switched to beer and a michelada.

Next was a maybe 30-minute walk in the Condesa neighborhood, another more affluent area and also the gay district. Our destination was Azul Condesa, a place with a renowned chef who works a lot with indigenous and local ingredients. We started with shots of mezcal, which were served in what looked like decorated husks from some sort of fruit. They were washed down with hunks of oranges dusted in a chili powder. For my entree I had the pescado pikin xic, an unknown fish served over a plantain patty and topped with avocado and tortilla strips. Chris had a duck dish with pineapple, pear, apple, and banana, and we ended up splitting both. It was tasty but not the best thing I'd had in D.F. thusfar. The dessert, however, was fun and super delicious - fruit-stuffed tamales made from chocolate cornmeal, covered in a cream and served wrapped in a banana leaf.

We then took an uber back to the embassy where Alex was parked and headed back home to pass out.

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