Thursday, December 17, 2009

Castillo De Chapultepec

   Plopped on the only hill in the city center you will find Mexico City's nostalgic nod to aristocracy. This beautiful castle is surrounded by an expansive park that makes NYC's Central Park look like a hotel courtyard.
   Holding to classic castle lore, Chapultepec's history is typical. A collage of full stops and new starts. As of this posting, it stands proudly as Mexico's National History Museum.

These images capture only a glimpse of the meticulous landscaping and elegant restoration. What cannot be aptly conveyed is the sense of peace found looking from these gardens down onto the unforgiving metropolis below. As if tiptoeing over the brow of a sleeping giant.

Chia Car.

Hearing of the entrepreneurial tenacity prior to my arrival was one thing. Witnessing it on virtually every street corner since landing in Mexico City is quite another.  The plant-mobile above is an example of the informal economy that supports roughly half of the 22 million that dwell within this sprawling metropolis.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mr. Poinsett, I mean Poinsettia.

Taking a stroll through Parque Mexico the other day all I saw was red. Like walking through a Rorschach inkblot test- "Holiday Edition".

"So Carlos- what's with all the Poinsettias?"
"the what..?"
"all these red plants everywhere... how do you call them in Spanish?"
"oh you mean Noche Buena" [translated Christmas Eve]

Enter Joel Poinsett. 1825. Newly appointed Minster to Mexico. Enjoys long walks on the beach and dabbles in botany. During his stay he takes a trip to southern mexico and stumbles upon a red leafed plant which was used as a dye by the Aztecs. He sent a few home to the United States. Fast-forward to that vibrant holiday symbol on your dining room table and the rest is history.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Reality watered down.

The old man gazed longingly into the puddle as if looking through a window. His clothes, a mix of rags and tatters, roughed up by a cruel world. For the many who quickly passed, it was a fleeting reflection of a busy world. 

culinary conquest.

Within the confines of the quaint neighborhood Condesa (Mexico City) there can be found Taqueria HOLA.  Mexican food has long been a favorite of mine but since crossing the border i realize i was only inside the cave, consuming illusions of this iconic cuisine. Now, armed with a few pesos and a insatiable appetite I feel like the Cortés of the culinary world.  American fast food chains abound in the city except for Taco Bell... I wonder why.

Hola, is a cement slice on a quiet side street. For 3 bucks i had two tacos and a glass of agua (or water flavored by fruit juice) todays´ tasted like guava.

A corn tortilla, lightly flavored rice, black beans, marinated chicken/beef and some crumbly white cheese, nothing flashy, (although there were more additions one could choose from). There in lies the beauty- keep it simple stupid.

Ordering one taco is more like two- as they account for the overflow with an additional tortilla...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Crickets for dinner with 22 million of my closest friends

Getting the lay-of-the-land from my friend Carlos over some beers.

A look from Plaza de la Constitucion, the largest square in Mexico City

Arriving only a few days ago, it is hard to say what to make of this monolithic mexican city so far. I have the luxury of living with a local while i am here which makes this urban monster feel a little more homey than if i was holed up in a hostel. and of course being with a local also provides for some regional revelations such as having dried crickets for dinner the other night at a bar of all places. turns out they are a staple food in Oaxaca, (southern mexico). i guess i had had just enough to drink to think this was a good idea. they came in a clear plastic bag, in a small dish accompanied with lime slices, for flavoring. needless to say i will have to go back and do it all over again as i didn´t get any photos for proof.

A street performer letting loose on a couch shell much to the delight of young women passing by

Thursday, December 3, 2009

down the baja in the bus...

after Tijuana me and my friends Matt and Alex headed further south down the Baja. Surfing, camping and drinking tequila. some great days by the beach, and too many laughs to count. Highlight of the trip south was a surfing lesson from a crazy guy named "Coach". He took us in his 4Runner over some sand dunes and we had one hell of a good time surfing for the day. Now it's on to Mexico City tomorrow.

thanksgiving "Tijuana" style.

I spent the week of thanksgiving in Tijuana. I was there to help build cement brick homes for people who applied for help through an organization call Esperanaza ("hope" in spanish). much more can be said about what i experienced than what you will find here in this posting or in the one photo for that matter. It was a powerful experience. I have never worked so hard since living on 180 acres as a kid. Most often i was helping with the cement mixer. All 12 of us, ranging in reasons as to why we were here, worked hard until 1 then the family that was getting help with there home would provide lunch. Some of the most amazing food I will ever eat. the week ended i was left forever changed by the experience and by seeing a side of Tijuana that never gets much airtime on the nightly news.

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