Uxmal

Uxmal

Monday, January 21, 2019

Eclipse

I was at Alejandro's family's home Sunday night.  He and I spent the evening futilely trying to take photos of the lunar eclipse... he with his cell phone, and I with my camera. 




These two photos are about the best that I got...




In Mexico, I suppose because of the latitude, the position of the moon is different.  I mentioned once before that they don't see "the man in the moon", but rather "the rabbit in the moon".  In the first photo perhaps you can make out the rabbit's ears.

The photo below was sent to Alejandro by a friend.  It was taken by Juliet Fierro, a scientist at the National University of Mexico.



The Weather Here and There

Many travelers to Mexico City think that they are going to encounter tropical weather.  But due to the city's altitude of over 7000 feet above sea level that is not the case at all, especially in the winter.  At night the lows here have been in the 40s Fahrenheit, and it is still chilly in the morning.  

Yesterday Alejandro and I left the condo for a walk at noon, and, even though it was a beautifully sunny day, the temperature was only 59 degrees.  Alejandro wore a hoodie and I had on a jacket.  As the afternoon progressed, the temperature reached 70 and the hoodie and jacket came off.




Homes here do not have central heating, so there have been evenings in the condo where I have had a small blanket wrapped around me while I work on my blog.  But I can't complain.  The chilly evenings and mornings are preferable to what is going on up north.

Meredith sent me a photo of what it is like in Madison, Wisconsin, less than a week after we were enjoying the warmth of Mérida, Yucatán.



In my hometown of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, they have over ten inches of snow.  The high temperature today is forecast to be 13 degrees, and tonight it will go down to -1 with a wind chill of -12.  My friend Frank who housesits for me sent me a couple of pictures looking out at the back yard.  Notice how much snow is piled up on the table on the patio.




I am very happy to be here in not so tropical Mexico City missing a major portion of the winter.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Night of the Radishes

As I mentioned in my last post, there were two photo exhibits on Mexico City's main plaza, the Zócalo.  The other one was of photos taken last year of a very unique celebration that has been held for 121 years in the city of Oaxaca, the Night of the Radishes.  The event is held each year on the city's square on December 23rd.  

As early as September, radishes are harvested.  These are not necessarily the little salad radishes with which we are familiar.  Radishes can grow to more than 30 inches long.




The radishes are then carved into figures and miniature buildings.




I have never been to Oaxaca at Christmas time, but the Night of the Radishes seems like quite an incredible event.







Photos from the Past

A few days ago I was downtown and walked to the Zócalo, Mexico City's main plaza.  Perhaps (fingers crossed) it will be the policy of the new city government not to clutter up the plaza with ugly tents and structures for special expositions and events such as the skating rink they used to put for Christmas. (This past Christmas the skating rink was set up in a different location.)  All that was on the Zócalo were two inconspicuous photo exhibits which did not distract from the sweeping vistas of the historic square.  




One of the exhibits was a display of historic photographs of Mexico City.  Here are a few of those photos...




In 1905 the Zócalo was planted with trees and was also a terminus for the new streetcars.



A float in the Revolution Day Parade, November 20, 1939



A PEMEX gas station in 1940



A flooded street in the historic center of the city in 1950



The earthquake of 1957 sent the gilded Winged Victory on top of the Independence Monument falling to the ground.



Intelligence agents spy on student demonstrators in 1968



An estimated 400,000 protesters fill the Zócalo in August of 1968.
The student protests of that year would culminate in the massacre of hundreds at the Plaza of the Three Cultures on October 2nd.



The calamitous earthquake of September 19, 1985 in which at least 10,000 people died.




Saturday, January 19, 2019

My New Market of Choice

As soon as I was settled into the condo that I rent in Mexico City, I headed out to the nearby Superama supermarket to buy some supplies.  Unfortunately, when it came to avocados, Superama wasn't any better than the supermarkets back home.  In the huge big of avocados there was not a single one that was ripe.  

Later during my wanderings, I was in the neighboring district of Colonia del Valle, and I went into the neighborhood market building.



It didn't take long to find a stall selling avocados, and I told the lady that I wanted some avocados that were ready to eat today and some that would be ready tomorrow.  She picked out a few for me (and, yes, they were perfect), and she even threw in a mandarin orange for free.  The market is relatively small, but it seems quite clean, and the merchants that I talked to were all very pleasant.  It's not too far of a walk from my apartment, and from now on I am going to go there for any produce that I want.

Mexican markets are great for photography.  Here are a few pictures that I took there...













Bins of "tomatillos", the husk-covered relative of the tomato that is used to make "salsa verde" (green sauce).



Of course, you can buy packaged chicken in the supermarket just as you would in the U.S., but in the market they will cut up the chicken and give you just what you want.  They will even pound a boneless chicken breast into a large, thin slice called a "milanesa".



Hanging to the left are "chicharrones", pork rinds.



This stall offers "Bacalao a la vizcaina" (Basque style codfish), "Romeritos con tortitas de camarón" (a type of Mexican green in sauce with shrimp patties), "Caldo de gallina" (hen's broth... yes, there is difference from plain old chicken broth), "Pancita" (cow's stomach... yuck!) and several kinds of "Pozole" (hominy soup).



Piñatas... check out the one in the form of Miguel from the movie "Coco".



Every market will have at least one flower vendor.

I will definitely be coming back to this market!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Sunrise in Mexico City



Early morning from the roof of Alejandro´s house

On to Mexico City

On Monday it was time for all of us to bid farewell to Mérida, the lovely capital of the state of Yucatán.  Meredith and Chuck were flying home to the cold in Wisconsin, and Alejandro and I were headed to Mexico City.  Both of our flights left in the morning, so we took a taxi together to Mérida's airport where we had breakfast and said goodbye to each other.


Alejandro and I flew on Interjet, a Mexican airline, which, as I have written before, is much more comfortable than airlines in the U.S.  (Legroom!)




It is a short flight from Mérida to Mexico City, and before long we were making our descent.  It´s not a very good photo, but here you can see the two volcanoes peeking up above the clouds as we approach the city.



So now I am in Mexico City for over a month.  I spent a couple nights at Alejandro´s family´s house before going to the condo that I rent.  The weather is a big change from Mérida.  Instead of high temperatures in the 80s, here we are lucky if the temperature gets up to 70.  But of course, my readers who are shivering up north will have no sympathy at all!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Sunday on the Plaza

After we took our bicycle ride and had breakfast, Meredith, Chuck, Alejandro and I headed to the main plaza of Mérida.


On Sundays the plaza is transformed into a handicrafts market.  There is a double row of vendors' stalls around the entire perimeter of the square.


Hand made dolls and stuffed animals



Wooden masks



Lots of embroidered clothing



Landscape paintings of typical scenes from Yucatán


In front of the city hall there is entertainment all afternoon.


There are clowns and puppet shows for the children.

The "Ballet Folklórico Juvenil" (the young people's folklore ballet troupe) performed dances of Yucatán.





Sunday is always colorful and lively in Mérida.

Bicycling Down the Boulevard

Every Sunday in Mérida from 8 A.M. until 2 P.M. a stretch of streets in central Mérida are closed to traffic and are taken over by bicyclists.  Meredith and Chuck are avid cyclists and wanted to participate in the "Biciruta".  Alejandro and I said that we would join them.  We got up early and headed to Montejo Boulevard where there are numerous places where you can rent a bike.  We rented a couple of tandem bikes for an hour and headed down the boulevard.  


  
(Photo taken by Meredith)

Along the boulevard there are traffic guards at major intersections stopping the bicyclists when the cross traffic has the green light.  Probably the hardest part of riding a tandem is starting up again after stopping.


(Photo taken by Meredith)

The bike route took us down Montejo Boulevard as far as the Monument to the Fatherland.
The monument is loved by some and hated by others as an artistic atrocity.







Along the curving walls of the monument are etched the images of famous people in Mexican history.



Looking down the boulevard from the steps of the monument...


It was a fun way to start our last day in Mérida!