Bienvenidos from Mexico

Mexico City, never thought we would be back but here we are once again using this huge metropolis as our jump off point for our 2019 travels.

We plan to ‘wander’ for the first half checking out areas we didn’t get to last year and then settle down and ‘chillax’ in Hualtuco for the remainder – sun, sand, and surf beckon, as does that little piece of paradise.

Navigating CDMX was much easier this time around, we understood the metro and my purse was in full lock-down mode as we headed to the historical centre!! First up was a visit to the Presidential Palace to view the marvellous murals of Diego Rivera, one of Mexicos most prominent artists. His large frescoes helped establish the Mexican mural movement in Mexican art. The detail in these murals is phenomenal and really do give a pictorial history of the political development of Mexico.

We also visited Plaza Garibaldi, known as Mexico City’s home of mariachi music. At all hours of the day and night, mariachi bands can be found roaming the square playing or soliciting gigs from visitors and restaurant patrons. The area is quite seedy, so we watched a couple of groups and headed out, best not to linger!  Only after our visit did we find out that there was a gang war shoot out this past September!

The Frida Kahlo Museum or Casa Azul was also on the list. This is the birthplace and ultimately final resting place of Frida Kahlo, another famous Mexican artist. For those who aren’t familiar with Frida’s history, she was a self-taught artist who was sickly, suffered polio as a child and was involved in a serious, debilitating bus accident at age 18 which ultimately affected her entire life. She took up painting during her many months of convalescing from multiple fractures includinga broken back , and lived in pain for the remainder of her life. Many of her folkloric paintings represent a diary of her life depicting the physical and emotional pain she endured.

She is also well know for her turbulent marriage to artist Diego Rivera and her unconventional, bohemian life style.

Stalin & Frida c. 1954
Portrait of a Girl c.1929
Viva la Vida Watermelon – some believe this was Frida’s last painting 8 days before her death

Although Kahlo achieved success as an artist in her lifetime, and is best know for her many self-portraits, her posthumous reputation steadily grew and she is perhaps one of the best-known artists of the 20th century. She died in 1954 at age 47 from a pulmonary infection/embolism, although many speculate her death was caused by an overdose.

Enjoy your own tour of Frida’s home with a few pictures below.

Entrance to Casa Azul
Cucina or kitchen
Dining room
Bedroom where Leo Tolsky & his wife stayed while in exile -Frieda & Diego were members of the communist party
Sitting room
Frida’s studio
Another view of Frida’s studio
Frida’s day bedroom – mirror over bed was used for her later self-portraits
Notice the built up shoe sole to accommodate her shortened leg resulting from polio
Traditional indigenous Tehuana clothing she wore representing her cultural heritage
Garden view with studio abov

Our next stop is Guanajuato, north of Mexico City in the central highlands. This town is supposed to be the prettiest in Mexico, stay tuned.

Thinking of you down in Mexico…

Over forty years ago, Acapulco was our first travel destination as a couple. And as the saying goes, “it was love at first sight”, the Mexican people, culture, food, music, sunsets not to mention guaranteed sunshine were all we needed in those early blissful days. We have been back to Mexico several times to various locations enjoying riotously great times and making wonderful memories with family and friends over the years.

So here we are again, back in Mexico, kicking off our 2018 journey in Puerto Vallarta, not quite the “remote little fishing village” made famous when Richard Burton brought his soon-to-be-wife Elizabeth Taylor to the filming location of The Night of the Iguana’ back in 1964. Hard to believe our initial visit was 38 years ago and last visit to this area 15 years ago.

The landscape has certainly changed since our first trip when there was only a bumpy two lane road leading into the ‘old town’, at what seemed miles away from the airport.  The area was very rustic and undeveloped, however it has expanded exponentially, in all directions, and is a well-travelled haven for sun-seekers, with all the North American amenities one could dream of.

For the curious, our travels this trip will take us to various locations throughout  Mexico not previously visited with a side trip to Belize and perhaps even Guatemala. With no return ticket and a rough itinerary the sky’s the limit, so to speak. Staying closer to home this year also gives us the great pleasure and fun of meeting up with our adult children to celebrate our son Michael’s 35th birthday.

Our trip didn’t start off exactly smoothly this time around though….a mixup with the airport hotel left us scrambling for another the evening prior to departure and travelling standby, complements of our daughter, saw only one of us getting a seat  on our intended flight. Bob took the short straw, staying behind in Toronto but was successful the following day. I always wondered what it was like to meet a loved one at the airport!! What I know for sure is flexibility and not getting toooo fussed for whatever curve life decides to throw definitely goes a long way.

Familiar landmarks, such as the historic old town church adorned with its distinctive crown, the malecon (boardwalk), zocalo (town square) and the first hotel we stayed at on Playa Los Muertos have been revisited. The town is bustling, economy booming and unfortunately the culture we came to love has been swallowed up by commercialism and social progression. Sadly we are left wondering, can we find an authentic Mexico in our wanderings?

Despite this, lunching at an old haunt and favourite restaurant, La Fuente Del Puente and walking the back streets awakens a flood of sweet memories, melting away the  years.

Tomorrow we plan to hop a bus making Guadalajara our next destination.