12 Aug 2011

5 and a bit days seeing the sights in Mexico City

Everything is shut on a Monday other than the Carlos Slim museum (Museo Soumaya). Carlos is 2010/11's richest man on the planet, mainly due (according to Aaron our hostel host) to the extortionate mobile phone rates his largely monopolistic company charge the good citizens of Mexico.

Over the years he has collected many works of art and it would appear that he had a bit of a clear out a couple of years ago and needed somewhere to put the odd Rodin, Renoir, Dali, Matisse etc so he asked his son-in-law to design a building and below you can see the incredible edifice they produced.
It doesn't work so well inside however with pieces thrown together rather randomly with no apparent narrative leading you through 6 floors of stuff, albeit pretty amazing stuff.  We came away thinking that Mr Slim should have called in a proper curator to sort it out rather than leaving it to the children.

Tuesday already and a visit to the nerve centre of D.F, the Zocalo (central square) which is huge and a place to demonstrate any grievance you have with the government and not to disappoint there was indeed a demo to witness...
The square is flanked on one side by the main government buildings containing some stunning murals by Diego Rivera - but we saw those on our last visit to DF so no pics this time - and on the other by the cathedral, apparently the largest in the Americas.
Offerings left in the cathedral

We made it up the bell tower of the cathedral, well worth a look, which affords fab roof top views...
and no health and safety gone mad here, as we were allowed to clamber across the roof!

Next up the Ministry of Education building where Rivera worked for several years creating the most amazing set of murals of his ever present trinity of the worker, soldier and farmer.


On the other side of the Ministry building is a whole section painted by David Siquieres (Rivera's great friend and later rival) which is much bolder in style and colour, impressive stuff.

And finally (after many many many kilometres on foot)the interior of the old post office building, which is extraordinary...


We then took a few hours off to eat and sleep before embarking on another tough day in the sightseeing rat race, albeit at a more leisurely pace taking in DF's central park, the Modern Art Museum and surrounding environs. The park is huge!


And then the big one, Teotihuacan which is about 50kms north of DF, still on the Mexican central plain and a sight to behold. It is one of those places where photographs cannot do full justice to the scale and sheer enormity of the project. The central avenue for example is nearly 4kms long, the pyramid of the sun the 3rd largest we know of and there are many hillocks beyond what has been excavated which are presumably other temples and exbuildings in need of some tlc.

But apparently Wal-mart have been given permission to construct in one area of the site, so hopefully they will tarmac the whole thing and get rid of these pesky obstacles, all in the name of progress eh... 
To round off a busy week we went south of the city to Xochilimilco which is a network of canals and apparently where city people go to chill out at the weekend. The way forward seemed to be to take a picnic of bacardi and coke, the biggest ghetto blaster you can carry, hire a colourful trajinera(gondola) and while the afternoon away exploiting these instruments of pleasure to the max, rock on... 

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