Anyway, back in D.F life is chaos once again with the Luz y Fuerza electritans' union marching down the main road (Reforma) all of yesterday making traffic an even bigger nightmare than usual. It seems Calderon has taken a very small leaf out of Maggie's book by shutting down this inefficient, corrupt and powerul union (there are still many more to go.) While he is offering 33 months redundancy payment it still means unemployment due to corruption amongst government and union leaders. And chaos to everyone else.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Tula (originally Tollan) was once the capital of the Toltec - those believed to have inhabitated and dominated pre-Columbian central Mexico between the 10th and 12th Century AD. I say 'believed' because Wikipedia considers the Toltec "possibly real and possibly fictional" (not that I would ever use such a lazy and unrealiable source as wiki for my blog.) However my guide book and those handy information boards around the ruins present the Toltec and its tradditions as historical facts so I shall proceed in this manner.
Anyway back to Tula: What I most liked about it and what it is most famous for are its Atlantean colossal statues (gigantes) that were originally used as columns to support a temple on top of what is now one of the site's pyramids. They are 15 feet tall and make still make a striking impression despite having been thrown down a ramp when Tollan was destroyed (possibly by the Chichimec [no tengo ni idea! Research it at your own risk.])
On the site there are also ruins of a palace...
...an altar (TA-DAA!)...
...and, of course, a reference to sacrfice (on the serpent wall surrounding a small plaza) with images of snakes devouring human skulls.There is also an ancient ball court (the largest in central Mexico) but this was undergoing restoration on our visit so I was unable to see it.
All in all it was a good day and I am pleased to have seen the site and been on a pyramid viewing venture since I do live in Mexico and am well aware how proud many of the Mexicans I have met are of their ancient culture.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
So, as you may well have worked out by now I am currently at home with no gym nor bar nor restaurant. Hence I am having a rather pleasant government imposed relaxing time. I am listening to Spanish classes on Spanishpod (excellent podcast service for language learners) and finally have the chance to read Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments which Pat kindly bought me from the U.S (v.interesting so far, I'm on chapter 5.)
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
We followed the first signs we saw for cabanas and arrived at the above, owned by an old man with just some hammocks, tables and a small "restaurant" (a very basic kitchen serving only fresh fish, tortillas and beer). The people were lovely and let us pitch up our tent for nothing. The place was frequented by fisherman and families from Arenal with whom we spent some evenings playing dominoes and drinking cervesa.
On the Friday we took a small drive down the coast to a nearby laguna we had been told about to go swimming and have a BBQ (we bought ours with us but unfortunately forgot the grill; photo below) which was really beautiful.
Unforunately on our drive back to the cabana our car became stuck in the sand and there was no way of moving it. We went back to the laguna to ask a small family for some help and soon we had an army of Mexicans pushing the car out. After sharing out our vodka with them (modern manners) we were safely on our way back to the cabana.
Now, after a great break I am back at work with a big fat timetable just trying to think of the money and not go insane over the 3rd person singular (he HAS a car - he does not HAVE a car!) and of course looking forward to my next holiday.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Celerating 50 years of the plastic icon, the exhibit shows Barbie reflecting the times and pop culture throughout the past half century.
From French maid to baseball player to American president Barbie could both conform to and challenge sexist stereotypes.
The exhibit displayed Barbies from all around the world, including Mexico (of course...)
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The Blue House
This is where Frida Kahlo was born and where she lived periodically with Diego Rivera. The house is in beautiful Coyoacan, is ovbviously blue and has works by Frida, Diego and other artists, plus letters they sent eachother, a great big pile of Communist literature and a mini pyramid in the garden.
After seeing the inside of the house (taking photos unfortunately prohibited) I practiced my Spanish watching the video at the museum: From what I can gather Kahlo, in many ways had a very unhappy life, with a husband who had various affairs (including one with her sister) and spent a lot of time in hospital (due to polio at the 6 and a bus accident in 1925). She was also childless and suffered many miscarriages which she often references in her paintings.
Although, on the other hand I'm not entirely sure life for Frida was ALL the doom and gloom she made out. I think she was an outgoing, confident human being, always favouring the more tradditional Mexican dress and painting herself with prominent Mexican features (thick eyebrows and yes, a bit of a tash). She also managed to have her own affair with Leon Trotsky while he was exiled in Mexico DF...
...However in the painting below she does liken herself to a wounded animal.
It was particularly fun visiting the museum with my dramatic friend Vanessa who wandered around the house comparing herself to Kahlo at every oppourtunity.Below is a photo V took of me outside the house:
Either way it was a great day and fascinating to visit the wacky house of this wacky but talented artist with my extremely wacky friend.
AnahuacalliRivera designed Anahuacalli as a place to display his Pre-Columbian artefacts. It is made out of dark Volcanic stone and is reminiscent of a Maya tomb, inside being cool and dark. In all honesty I was expecting this place to be rather dull, being a bit of a pleb when it comes to ancient history but with the (free [of course]) tour guide I found it pretty interesting especially thinking how old many of the items in the museum are.
Diego's collection is huge, and includes models of warriors......childrens' dolls made from the historic version of playdough...
...and what may look like a jug but, when filled with certain levels of water, wacked and blown into correctly is in fact a musical instrument:
I also liked some Diego's personal touches especially his snake and Communist (what else?) themed ceilings:
And the random frogs/toads on the ground floor:
From the terraza there are views of the surrounding city and volcanoes in the distance although I am sure they were easier to see when Dego built his museum and Mexico City was not one of the most polluted places in the world (got to love that filthy sky)!
Outside of the museum there was also an alebrije; a paper maiche cross between a monster and an animal. These are a very common and tradditional type of art in Mexico and come in all forms and sizes (although this one was a biggy). Having mocked other tourists for taking photos of themselves "fighting" the monster, Zoe and I later did the very same:
Thursday, January 22, 2009
New Year in Acapulco
As mentioned in my previous blog I spent New Year in Acapulco at the beach as I was very kindly invited by my roomate. Acapulco is a lot of fun and a very popular tourist destination, being one of the nearest beaches from Mexico City. It was therefore packed with "Chilangos" (Mexico D.F dwellers) for the complete NY period making it a great place for parties but not for virgin beaches and stunning scenery. Either way a good time was had by all and the hangovers were probably not as bad as we deserved although the us joruney back could have been shorter...
6th January - Piñatas and the Arrival of The Kings
The arrival of the 3 Kings is yet another important festival in Mexico. Although many poor Mexicans do still have to go to work, the day does not pass by unnoticed. Fortunately for Zoe and I, IH was still on holiday and so we took ourselves off to the Mueso de Arte Popular (as mentioned in a previous blog) to see their Piñata exhibition (what else?).
[In the picture below I am just in front of a random Paper Mache peacock which has very little to do with the exhibtion, I just liked the bird.] ANYWAY... Piñatas are extremely popular at Meixcan parties and are traddtionally star shaped with 7 points to represent the 7 Deadly Sins. You then bash them about untill gifts (usually sweets and little toys) fall out. This is done blindfolded in turns and is actually a lot of fun as I have been lucky enough to experiance first hand. The exhibition however had a range of beautiful and unique piñatas. My favourites probably being the Kings (above) and this little guy below: After the museum I then had to buy la Rosca for the party Vanesa and I organised for Dia de los Reyes Magos. This party essentially involves gathering friends and eating Rosca (a sweet bread; above) with hot chocolate.
The only tricky part is cutting the Rosca as baked inside are small dolls (2 in our case) and whoever touches them with the knife is doomed to make tamales for all the people at the party on 2nd February.
The dolls are believed to represent the "hiding" of Jesus to protect him from Herodes, however I still don't know the significance of 2nd February although I'm sure I shall within the next fortnight...
Fortunately I was spared from the making tamales but look forward to trying Zoe and Pat's efforts shortly. Hahahahaha...