Saturday, October 29, 2016

Shopping Day

Yesterday was a cloudy, chilly day... a good day to go shopping.  I hopped on the "Metrobus" and then the subway to go to the Ciudadela Market, one of the city's largest handcraft markets.

Now I will admit that a lot of what you see in this market is pure tourist junk, but amidst the kitsch there are also some nice handicrafts.  

Since we are only a few days away from the Day of the Dead there was a superabundance of "catrinas" and "catrines" (female and male skeleton figures) and "calaveras" (skulls).  Depending on your outlook, you might view them as hideously macabre or as an interesting and amusing aspect of Mexican culture.


After going up and down half the aisles of this large bazaar, I had completed my gift shopping for friends.  There seemed to be more foreign tourists in the market than usual.  I think that the Day of the Dead celebrations are perhaps drawing more international visitors to Mexico City.

It was time for lunch, and I walked a couple blocks to a restaurant that I wanted to try... Café La Habana. 

There is another Café La Habana located in Mérida, Yucatán.  Both were established in 1952, have the same logo, and are even painted the same color.  So I assume that they are under the same ownership.  Since the Café La Habana in Mérida is a frequent breakfast stop for me when I am in the Yucatáñ, I wanted to try out the Mexico City location.  Although the handicraft market is not far away, the restaurant is not in a touristy or particularly attractive part of town.  I was the only gringo there.  It is an old style café.  The menu is not gourmet... the food is ordinary Mexican fare.  I had an order of "molletes" (crusty bread topped with "frijoles" and ham and cheese) and a "café con leche" (Mexico's version of the French "café au lait").  It was nothing special, but it hit the spot.

The place is considered something of an historic landmark.  A plaque at the entrance says that its famous customers include the Nobel Prize winning writers Octavio Paz and Gabriel Garcíá Márquez, and the revolutionaries Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.


No comments:

Post a Comment