- Frida Kahlo casa azul
One of my favorite places was the house in Coyoacan that Frida Kahlo lived in with Diego Rivera that has been turned into a museum of her life. The majority of it is painted a warm, royal, and inviting blue, hence the name Casa Azul. I snooping into the privacy of the artist and I felt like I got a better sense of who she was as a person seeing her house as opposed to various pieces of hers in a sterile exhibit someone else. I was too cheap to buy phototaking access, but here’s me outside and here’re some pictures of an adjunct exhibit talking about her costumes/outfits and how it defined how she wanted to be portrayed in the world, that of strength and life and artistry despite a slowly debilitating body.
- Diego Rivera studio room
This reminded me of the potential of my attic room at the Victorian home AKA 321 AKA Gay Frat House. Strewn about in Diego Rivera’s studio room were giant paper-maiche puppets, old typewriters and brushes, paint powders, creepy dolls and figurines and statues. It was like looking into his brain. If only I had a room of my own with wooden floors that I can dance on filled with junk to spark my creativity. To dream…
If I ever decided to get the fuck out of Los Angeles and move to Mexico City (yes, I loved it so much that I could imagine myself living there), I would move to this neighborhood. Yes, it’s a little bourgie but imagine if the neighborhoods surrounding Central Park in NYC were infiltrated by jungle. It’s immensely walkable, it’s relaxing and beautiful, the air feels fresh, and I just feel like I would be really happy here.
- Un Teatro, Centro Cultural
While walking around La Condesa, my friend and I saw a beautiful courtyard beyond a metal gate and we went in. We were met by someone who works there, who told us that this was a new theatre space/school. They have theatre and dance there, as well as yoga and dormitory for youth who take classes there. They also have week-long residencies for outside artists, something that I’ve already suggested for the dance group I work with, 3-19 Dance Art. A few days later, I took a morning modern class there, and whoo boy, I am out of practice. Still, it was an exhilirating class. The subgenre of modern being taught was called the “Flying Low” technique, which apparently originated in Mexico. I didn’t understand anything the instructor was saying, so I was just following the movements.
- place we stayed at: Red Tree House Inn
The first few days, we stayed at a place that was recommended by Lonely Planet. After checking out their website, I had a good feeling about it and quickly reserved some dates. My instinct was correct. The staff was immediately friendly. A gay couple owns the Red Tree House Inn, so it seemed like the young support staff they’ve employed are a) either gay and/or b) men they find attractive. It was a warm and relaxing place. Shawn and I spent most of our day out, and between 5-9 PM, we spent it at RTH resting and drinking. The wine was poured freely and lots of beer bottles were opened. We got to know the staff and some of the guests fairly well. I would definitely stay here again. The only downside was that Shawn and I didn’t stay there the whole time.
- subway system
Quite possibly the most ubiquitous, most efficient, and most affordable subway system I’ve ever seen and ridden in. Each ride is less than a quarter, it seems to go everywhere in Mexico City, and me and Shawn didn’t wait any longer than 3 minutes at each stop. Superb.
- gay love everywhere
I’ve never seen so much homo public displays of affection before as I have in Mexico City. It was wondrous. That is all.
This trip wouldn’t have been the same without my partner-in-crime Shawn. After college and when we finally both acquired stable jobs (with paid vacation!), we became travel buddies, first to Costa Rica and then to Puerto Rico. After a hiatus of almost three years, we decided to travel once more to a Latin American country. He is super fluent in Spanish; funny thing is that people always look at me first thinking I know Spanish. I don’t; I’d love to, but I’m a slow learner of language. I miss our stupid, gay, immature, nasty jokes to each other. I miss his insistence on listening to Lana del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” and Beyonce’s “Countdown” every day… several times. Next time we travel together, it will be at a country where we don’t know the language together.
I was humbled by the pyramids. The ancient sacred site sprawled but you could always see the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. Despite the hawkers of souvenirs and random jaguar sounds coming out of people’s mouths (I was one of them), climbing the steps of the pyramid and, once on top, getting a 360 degree vista of the land around it as the wind was blowing through my sheer shirt was as close to a spiritual experience as I’ve had in a long time. For lunch, we found a restaurant closeby called La Gruta that was inside a cave.
- Chapultepec Castle
The highest point inside Bosque Chapultepec, the Central Park of Mexico City, the castle now serves as the National Museum of History, but the hill itself was a sacred place for Aztecs. The building itself has been a military academy, imperial residence, presidential palace, and observatory. A gigantic Mexican flag hovers above. There is a view of the city skyline on all sides of it. The plaza and garden are immaculate. And there are wonderful butterflies just flying around.
In summary, I wholeheartedly recommend everyone to visit Mexico City someday in their lives. Forget the news reports of drugs and disappearances in the county. This is a metropolis that is all at once modern, developing, and Old World at the same time. It is a very spirited city and I look forward to the next time I’m here.