You can’t come in unless you say swordfish

By Colin McFadden
This post is part of a series called Mexico City 2019
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Today started in a somewhat unique and spontaneous way.  Our Airbnb has a large swordfish mounted on the wall, with his proboscis protruding into the room.  I started the day by smashing my head into his pointy lower lip, slicing open my scalp.  Kat was awoken to the dulcet sounds of “Kaaaat I smashed into the swordfish and my head is bleeding” which was surely somewhat disorienting.  We had it cleaned and under control in an hour or so, and were able to go about our day.  And we modified the swordfish a bit.  Travel surprises!

We started our day with a food wander, grabbing some more tacloyos, and then settling in at a cafe for some work and coffee.  With our checklists complete, we headed to the historic center to follow our guidebook’s walking tour.

The tour started at the Zocalo, and did a mini loop of the area.  Just as we pulled out our guide book, three students approached us asking if they could film us trying Mexican candies for a school project. Free candy?! We’re in! Fully sugar fueled, we were ready for our walk. While not the best written tour (Rick Steves should do Mexico City!), it got us to a few places we wouldn’t have visited otherwise.  The historic center includes a handful of 17th century buildings, as well as beautiful 18th and 19th century palacios, built by mining magnates.  We wandered into an exhibition of popular Mexican art being held in the courtyard of one of these palacios, which was a delightful side trip.  

Other highlights of the tour included the Casino Mexico and the central post office.  Oh, and the bakery.  Pasteleria Ideal is what dreams are made of – cookies and cakes and donuts and biscuits, as far as the eye can see.  You grab a tray and some tongs, and load up.  When you’re done, you bring them to a lady who delicately wraps them, and holds them while you go pay another lady.  We selected two cookies, a donut and some lemon cake.  You can never be too sure when it comes to pastries.

After our tour, we took an uber back to the Airbnb and then walked to the Bosque de Chapultepec.  It’s a large park, full of families picnicking and teenagers snorgaling, with lots of vendors offering snacks and toys.  We wanted to check out Audiorama, a refuge from the noise of the city established in the 1970s.  It’s a little pocket in the forest, with speakers playing soothing music.  There’s no talking aloud – your job is to grab a seat and relax.  There are books available if you haven’t brought your own.  It was a very pleasant little escape.

Centered and at peace, we crossed the park to the Anthropological Museum.  It’s an overwhelming place, beautifully designed and curated, covering the many cultures of Mexico.  Frankly, it was a bit much to take in.  It’d be a great museum to visit with a guide, who could help make sense of it all.  We strolled absentmindedly, enjoying the visuals.  Maybe it needs an escape room game.

From the anthropological museum, we walked back across the Condesa neighborhood to dinner at Azul Condesa, one of three “Azul” restaurants in the city.  It was specifically recommended as a place to get great mole, and we did indeed have great mole.  They had seven varieties on the menu, with a range of different chilis and spices, which you could mix with different meats.  It was a delicious and classy way to end our last full day in Mexico City. 

4 thoughts on “You can’t come in unless you say swordfish

  • Andrea November 10, 2019 at 2:28 pm Reply

    In my 1966 visit to the museum, I had the best guide (Jeanie Borlaug, a co-counselor at a KC Camp Fire Girls camp & student at KU after 2 years at Valpo) who was fluent in Spanish). We also went to Teotihuacan via car. But I didn’t sit anywhere close to Kat. Your trip made me want to get out the dvd of my video trip🌻😎

    • Andrea November 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm Reply

      Actually I watched the video, again, and the trip was in 1965. But still memorable! So glad you & Kat went to Mexico City!!!

  • Barbara Luedtke November 11, 2019 at 12:58 am Reply

    What a great trip and travelogue! It brought back memories of my trip in 1971, back when bullfights were popular (glad that’s over!). My Spanish teacher friend and I took side trips to Taxco and Cuernavaca. Lovely, helpful people, amazing history and fabulous art and architecture. Your “foodie” emphasis offers a wonderful new dimension – a total feast for the senses!

    • Andrea November 11, 2019 at 10:43 pm Reply

      We also went to a bullfight, and I definitely agree that I wouldn’t do that, again. I had my father’s movie camera and was surprised to see that’s what we did. I also visited Cuernavaca! Small world!

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