Thursday, July 12, 2007

en el DF

I finally made it in to Mexico City (called el DF by all the locals--kind of like Washington DC) last night after my flight was delayed about 45 minutes because the pilot thought we were in gate G rather than gate A. Doesn´t exactly inspire confidence in your navigational skills, Mr. Pilot! Anyway, two gals from the trip were waiting for me at baggage claim for over 2 hours so we could take a cab together to the hotel, Casa Gonzalez, in the Cuahtehmoc district of el DF. I felt pretty bad that they were waiting so long, but it was really nice to have someone to find my way with. There are 6 of us students here on the Mexico City portion of the trip, which was an entriely optional extension of the Oaxaca class. So we´re spending our time checking out the museums, the fabulous architecture, and the nightlife.

We got to the hotel at around 7 PM and headed out to get a bite to eat at The Pink Zone (also known as Zona Rosa), :) a pretty hevily touristed area with lots of young people walking around, making out, watching futbol, and making out some more. Seriously, everywhere you turned, there was a couple making out. One of the gals conjectured that it was because they don´t have a private place to make out since the country is so heavily religious...I am not sure if the assessment is true or not, but seriously, it was PDA on display in The Pink Zone. We found a place to eat...most of the resturants were packed because entire families were out watching the Mexico vs. Argentina game (and if you´ve ever spent any time in Central or South America, you know these people take their futbol seriously). Unfortunately, Mexico lost. (Sorry, Mexico!)

We went out again after Raul made it into town and got a couple of drinks at a place called Saltido something something, which was a very cute place in the Contessa district. Apparently this area used to have a racetrack , which they took out, and now huge Victorian-flavored house line the oval that used to be teh racetrack. Saltido something something was a cute little Victorian that had been renovated to be a bar, with an adorable vintage/modernist mix of furniture and wallpaper. Seriously, the interior designers in teh group (who will be meeting us in Oaxaca) would be drooling. I´ll upload photos once we get to Oaxaca and I´m able to have internet access off of my laptop (on the hotel computer right now).

Today was an excellent day touring the Casa Luis Barragan. Barragan was one of Mexico´s most famous architects, and it was easy to see why from this house, which beautifully integrated modernism and an indigenous flavor. The stairs you see above are his claim to faim...if you can see, they have no base. instead, tehy are cantilevered into the wall so they appear to be ¨floating¨. Every room was painted a different, brightly colored hue, and every room contained some reference to his strong taste for privacy, religion, women, and horses. Yeah, strange combination, but somehow it worked. The man was famously a recluse and rumored to be gay, despite his devout Catholicism, though the tour guide didn´t say this. I had never been in a space before that felt so incredibly personal. For example, Barragan was very tall, almost 6´4", but he made all his doorways around 6¨5" so that he would have to bow down when he entered every room, in order to show reverence. Also, his way of framing space was just incredibly different and unique. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos inside, so here are a couple I´ve pulled off the web:




Our visit to the Barragan house was followed by a visit to the Bosque de Chapultepec, an absolutely enormous public park with several museums, including the Museo Rufino Tamayo, which houses contemporary art, and the Modern Art Museum, which houses all the "greatest hits" of the Mexican modern movement. Both museums were gorgeously built and had great collections, though I was especially fascinated by a collection called The Atlas Group, by Walid Raad, which was established to preserve the contemporary history of Lebanon, and not surprisingly, focused a lot of war and car bombings. One of the gals said that the entire project was faked, but I haven´t found any evidence of that, and I hope it´s not true, because the show was incredibly powerful.

Anyway, I´m off to grab a bite after a very deep and satisying nap. I´ll try to post daily, but I won´t really be able to post any of my photos until we get to Oaxaca this Sunday. Until then...

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