My First Two Days in Mexico City: Walks to Chapultepec Park, Colonia Condesa, and the Zócalo

August 20th, 2012. Categories / Mexico City

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Mexico in stained glass.

At 1AM Wednesday morning, J and I boarded our flight to Mexico City (DF). For me, the ride was bumpy and sleepless. But on arrival I was not a zombie. Not having eaten since dinner, I was excited to consume the fruit and scone J had packed for me. But as I should have known, customs didn’t want foreign apples and strawberries to enter the country. Scones were okay, but only after being split open and inspected by gloved hands.

Our ride to the hotel revealed a taste of crazy DF traffic. Copious cars clogged both the highway and the side streets. Some were stalled, others attempting brazen merges, while others avoided people crossing the road or trying to sell things. After lots of one way streets and grand traffic circles, we arrived at the hotel.

The St. Regis Hotel is a posh modern tower on Paseo De La Reforma, and way out of my price range. Luckily I’m here for work, so my massive folio should be reimbursed by my benefactors.

After checking in, we dropped of our bags and grabbed a varied breakfast of fruits and bread.

Rarther than losing time to wasteful sleep, we walked westward on Reforma towards DF’s largest park: Chapultepec. At over 1,600 acres, it’s also the largest city park in Latin America. Though its name means “grasshopper hill,” the only insects we saw were massive butterflies. Our route took us up the hill to the lovingly restored castle on the hill, then past the paddle boat lake.

We returned to the hotel by a meandering route and napped before my evening meeting with the director and team at their nearby hotel.

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Fuente de La Diana Cazadora as seen from our hotel window.
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The trash cans of Chapultepec Park.
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Iron bench.
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Monument to Los Niños Heroes.
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Army training.
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Fountain.
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Banana leaf.
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The overgrown and seemingly abandoned water monitoring building.
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Awning and vines.
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View across the park.
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J inside the castle.
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Ghost audience.
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Ornate spouts.
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Potted flowers lining the balcony rail attracted enormous butterflies.
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So many of these butterflies were fluttering around.
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View of Reforma from the castle.
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Stained glass mural.
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Upper courtyard.
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Colorful snack cart.
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Looking down towards the green water of the lake.
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Verdant cascade.
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Cacti of the botanical garden.
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Pistachio vendor on the highway. Risk ≠ reward, in my opinion.

Thursday was mostly a down day too, other than keeping up with email. J and I walked to the fashionable neighborhood of Condesa in seach of icecream at Nevería Roxy. This colonia is wonderfully pleasant: lots of trees, pedestrian pathways, good resturants, coffee, and dogs.

For lunch, we had cold seafood tostadas inside Mercado Medellin.

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My continental breakfast.
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Luchador parking.
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He bent for your sins.
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Hanging tire planters.
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Posting.
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Car discouragement sidewalk poles (CDSP).
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Apartments overlooking the Mexico Park.
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A taxi station’s log.
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Deco wall.
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A small selection of dogs getting trained in the park.
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A colonnade.
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Classic car.
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TINTORIA.
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I’d rather be surfing.
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The highest security window money can buy.
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Hand painted signage.
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Bleak ball.
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Garbage truck with segregated organic materials.
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Striped door.
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A tangle of electrons.
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Fence.
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Not quite sure I know what the intention is.
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Flowers.
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Our first serving of dessert: pistachio ice cream and mamey ice from Nevería Roxy.
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The gas man can because he mixes it with love.
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TELAS.
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Storefront.
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Approaching Mercado Medellin.
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Our lunch in the market: seafood tostadas.
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J and the wall.
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Strut.
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Postings remains.
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Wall.
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Kerouacian.
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Feeding cable into a slimy passage under the sidewalk.
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And I ask myself…
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Today’s daily jumble.
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Bent address.
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The bleak backdoor to a television studio.
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Cool apartment complex.

From lunch, we walked for an hour to get to the Zócalo. This public square is second in size only to Moscow’s Red Square, and it’s the epicenter for tourist activity in the older part of town. But soon after arriving, we were starting to get tired of walking. We figured out how to buy metro tickets (4 pesos per ticket at the counter), boarded the Blue Line and transfered one station later to the Pink Line.

Each station has both a written name and a unique icon, reflecting on greater illiteracy when they were built.

The Metro trains, oddly enough, have rubber truck tires as wheels that drive on top of flat tracks. I’m not sure why they are designed this way, but it might keep the noise and weight down. While the trains are in decent shape, the stations are another matter. Ceiling tiles are missing, water drips, the air smells of dust, food, and bodies. I imagine any space would have a hard time not getting destroyed with millions of people moving through it.

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Cigarettes for sale at the shoe shiner. Minimum order: one.
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Palacio de Bellas Artes.
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JOY.
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Never trust the palm reading of a woman in a pink dress.
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The main cathedral on the northern edge of the Zócalo.
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The largest Mexican flag waves over the Zócalo.

In the evening, we went to dinner at a nearby fonda with the agency producer and a friendly PA from the production company. The food was bountiful and delicious, though taking low-light photos of mole poblano is like photographing a black bear at night.

Rest assured that many photos of food are coming in additional posts.

5 Comments


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Irene:

Incredible (as usual) photos! Brings back wonderful memories of my first stay there when I was 17. I’ve been back briefly but nothing like the first time in DF.

Thanks for sharing.

It was such fun reading a post like this. Just like old times on this blog. Good stuff. Made me want to eat avocados.

doug ydenberg:

Really nice photos!
Careful when taking photos of military, police. security buildings etc when travelling. This can end up with trouble, or your camera being confiscated in some countries.
In my country the auto preventer poles on the sidewalks are called “bollards”.
Thanks for the nice photos of Mex DF!

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