We spent today walking and I think the Rough Guide is correct in saying that the altitude of Mexico City makes a person easily tired when they’re not used to the slightly thinner atmosphere. The trip saw us leaving around 9am, via the supermarket for a packed lunch, and then south past the Sullivan Park (no market today which was a pity) and then down to the Paseo de la Reforma, a main road that runs through the center of Mexico City.
The Paseo de la Reforma heads in from the main square of the city down to the Bosque de Chapultepec, a large garden/park area, and this was our destination. As well as the greenery we were also heading to see the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, the largest Museum in the city. The Reforma is lined on both sides with wide paved paths that have gardens and trees along the whole length. There are large carved stone benches at regular intervals and also on the west side we were walking along a number of artistic sculptures that also double as seats. It was a pleasantly cool morning after the overnight rain so we walked without a rest towards the park.
At the El Angel monument on Paseo de la Reforma
Between us and park there were three roundabouts (of sorts) that we walked past. The first had a large palm tree at its center, the second a monument topped by a large golden statue of an angel and the last a fountain. The last two were worth a photo, if for no other reason to give me an excuse to get the camera out (it sounds obvious but I don’t start taking photos until I get the camera out of its bag…I can go half a day with no photos, take a shot and then bang there are things to photograph everywhere).
Need food? Follow the signs in Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Park)
Arriving at the Bosque de Chapultepec we headed down a broad boulevard to arrive at the Monumento a los Niños Heroes. We sat on a low wall and got our bearings, had a drink and then headed in the direction of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia. We passed along long curving paths lined with stalls being set up offering a bewildering array of things from food to gifts to incredibly tacky tat. Thankfully we were early so didn’t have to bother with the crowds that would appear later. The photo of the sign above gives a small indication of some of the garishness on display.
A Burial room on display in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia
Passing a boating lake and more woodland we followed the signs to find ourselves at the Museum. We passed through the metal detectors at the entrance and then wandered around the large foyer a little lost for what to do next. Eventually we figured out where to pay for entrance and then after a quick trip to the baggage check-in we were through another checkpoint and into the Museum courtyard.
The next few hours saw us walk through each of the themed room groups around the courtyard taking in Central American history in it’s various forms. There were, amongst others, Mayan, Aztec, Gulf of Mexico, and Oaxaca areas all of which contained large numbers of artifacts and historic information. We didn’t spend a long time in any place, partly because most of the displays were labelled in Spanish, partly because of the increasing crowds and partly because we were getting tired. Hence the lack of descriptions with the museum photos, sorry.
This skull doesn’t look happy to be on display
An interesting carving on display in the Museo
We left the Museum and found a shaded area outside to have lunch. We had a number of bread buns, pastries and a doughnut (they seem to like their doughnuts here). While eating we watched a display in the round ahead of us, a number of men in traditional costume dancing to pipe music. There was also a large pole in the center of the round which they climbed and then slowly descended in a ever increasing arc, attached to ropes that had been wound around the top of the pole and which unwound with the upside-down performers coming earthwards. It was interesting to see once but was strangely soulless, there was no evident meaning behind the performance other than the request for money which proceeded.
One of Herbie’s Mexican cousins, found all over the place in Mexico City
After lunch we walked back to the Hotel, passing through the now crowded park. At El Angel there were a large number of police men in attendance, camera crews and also many street sellers trying to sell Mexican flags. It was explained to Keryn that today there would be a protest march from El Angel to the center square of Mexico City. The people would be protesting against the corruption in the police force and the rising levels of crime coupled with the inactivity of the incumbent Mayor to do anything about the situation. The Mexican President would be at the square at the end of the march to hear the peoples concerns. It’ll be a big display but it clashes with our introductory meeting so we’ll be giving it a miss.
Now we’re back at the hotel relaxing before the meeting later. I’m not sure what we’ll be doing tomorrow, it’ll probably depend on what others are interested in but we’ll either be going to a large water park or head out of town to a nearby Pyramid complex.