I have intended to sit down and write this post SO MANY TIMES over the last five weeks, but other priorities (or laziness, in some cases) kept me from writing. But alas, I’m starting to play catch up!
My Barnacle and I went on a whirlwind weekend adventure to Mexico City at the beginning of November. One of our friends and colleagues from our time in Vevey was getting married, and we were not about to miss it!
We had so much fun with this friend while we were living in the same place! A weekend in Amsterdam, a 4th of July celebration (where he wore his red “party pants”), a picnic by the lake, and countless other meals, conversations, and fun moments. He and his girlfriend even introduced me to mole. Like with all of the friends I made in Switzerland, I was sad to see him go at the end of his 8-month assignment (and my Barnacle, too!).
One thing I learned about the Nestle world is that it’s very small. I actually got to rendezvous with the groom TWICE after he left Switzerland. On a work trip to Mexico City, I arrived a day early to spend time with him and his then girlfriend. About three months after that, he had to travel to Paris for work. It happened to be the same weekend I was already planning to be in town, and we got to catch up over dinner and a visit to the Catacombs.
[We were SO excited about the United snack on our first flight – Stroopwafels! Our first encounter with this delicious dessert was on our Amsterdam trip with the groom!]
We flew to Houston and then on to Mexico City. We didn’t arrive at our hotel (Presidente InterContinental in Polanco) until nearly 5:30pm, and I was REALLY hoping we could make it to the National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologia). The museum closed at 7:00pm, but when I spoke to the concierge, he said the last entry is at 6:00pm. We decided to jump into a car (somewhere between 5:45-5:50pm) in an attempt to get there as quickly as possible. The walk would’ve been 15 minutes, and I was hoping the car would be faster. As it turns out, it wasn’t. (But our driver was so sweet! He promised to wait 10 minutes for us, in case the museum wouldn’t let us in.) We rushed into the museum several minutes after 6:00pm. All of the ticket booths were closed, so we went directly to the information booth asking if it was still possible to buy a ticket. The response, “You could buy a ticket. Or, you could just go in for free.” We must’ve looked stunned, and then I’m sure laughter followed. They stop selling tickets at 6:00pm, but the museum is open for free for the final hour! Hooray! He showed us where to go to see the Mayan and the Aztec rooms, and off we went!
First we visited the Aztec room (1200 A.D.-1521 A.D.) and then the Mayan room (1000 B.C.-1521 A.D.)… (I think I mixed and matched the rooms in my collages below.)
One of the most famous Aztec sculptures – The Sun Stone. It was discovered in 1790 and was mistakenly called the Aztec Calendar. The museum says that it wasn’t finished, because of a crack in the back of the stone, but regardless of whether or not it’s finished, I find it to be incredible. And HUGE!
[Aren’t the colors in this painting beautiful?!]
After the museum, we decided to order our first Uber car. Because the traffic is so awful in Mexico City, it took the car somewhere between 20-30 minutes to get to us, even though the app showed “5 minutes” the whole time! Once in the car, it was probably close to an hour before we made it downtown. And yet somehow it only cost about $5.00!
Once downtown, I took my Barnacle to see the places the bride & groom showed me when I visited last fall. We went to see the Palacio des Bellas Artes (the Palace of Fine Arts), the Tiffany glass ceiling in the Gran Hotel, and the huge plaza surrounded by government buildings and a huge cathedral.
For dinner, we went to Cafe de Tacuba based on the recommendation of a friend. It was so beautiful inside!
And I got mole!!
The mariachi band came to serenade us, which of course, my Barnacle loved…
I, on the other hand, was super uncomfortable while they played for so long!
Here’s a little video for you to hear their performance…
We took an Uber back to our hotel, and once in the room, I started perusing Instagram. With all of the travel, I hadn’t been on social media much throughout the day. As I was scrolling through, I saw a photo collage that had an image of the GIANT Mexican flag flying behind our hotel. I did a double take – mostly because I was amazed my Barnacle had time to post a photo already. And guess what?! The photo was taken by a friend of ours who LIVES IN PANAMA! I immediately sent her a message to see if she was in Mexico, too. As it turns out, she was in town for another wedding, AND she & her husband were staying at our same hotel! Of course, she came to our room for a 1:00am catch up! I know I say it all the time, but I seriously love how small the world is!
We waited until the next morning to take a proper photo together. And since it was two days after Day of the Dead, we got to pose with the altar in our hotel lobby…
After our photo opp in the lobby, we met one of my Purina friends who just moved from St. Louis to Mexico City this summer. We went to brunch together at Maison Belen, which was fabulous! Not only did we get to eat outside on their patio, the place was decorated beautifully, and the food was delicious! Plus, it was really fun to hear all about life in Mexico City from a new arrival.
After brunch, we headed to the Frida Kahlo Museum. This was recommended by a number of people, and I really wanted to visit. I was warned that the lines are OUTRAGEOUSLY long, so I planned to buy our tickets in advance. Earlier in the week, I tried, and the system gave me an error message – at least THREE times. I called my credit card to ensure it wasn’t them trying to stop the transaction, and they said that it wasn’t. It was the website. When we got to Mexico City, I had my friend try at brunch. She tried 2-3 times using a local credit card, and she had the same error occur. When we arrived at the museum, several people were successfully buying tickets online, so my Barnacle tried another 2-3 times, and she got the error, too! Boooo!!!
The line was incredibly long, and we didn’t have time to wait. So, I decided to see where asking nicely would get us. I started with an older man who worked at the museum and seemed to be manning the lines. I asked if he spoke English. He said, “a little.” I launched into the story about how we tried all week to buy our tickets…and even this morning with a local friend…and we’re only here today…and we have a wedding, so we don’t have time to wait… When I finished, he told me he didn’t understand what I was saying and would find a colleague who did! Ha! He found his colleague, and I shared my sob story again. The man said he would go find one of his superiors to see if they could fix the website. As it turns out, it was easier to just let me come to the front of the line and buy two tickets and then go back out and get my Barnacle. Asking nicely for the win!
The Frida Kahlo Museum is located in her family home. She grew up in this house, and as an adult, she and her husband, Diego Rivera, purchased it.
Because of the Day of the Dead celebrations just a couple of days earlier, there was a huge altar for Frida at the museum, which was designed by local artists. Isn’t it beautiful and oh-so-colorful?! The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday, and it’s a day of remembrance and prayer for those who have died. This is why there were altars and other decorations throughout the city during our visit.
The house is BLUE! And since it’s hacienda-style, there is a lot of green space in the central courtyard. I LOVED it!
Some of Frida’s artwork was in the house along with Diego’s. There was also some art of her from others, like this portrait painted by Roberto Montenegro in 1936.
[Some of Frida’s art supplies. A photo of Frida & Diego. A 1939 photo by Nickolas Muray.]
They had an exhibit of some of Frida’s clothing & accessories, which has only recently been shared with the public. Because of all of her physical conditions, she chose clothing that would hide the various braces and contraptions she had to wear. She had a very distinguishable style. It was fun to read about it and to see a number of pieces.
[Frida & Diego! Ha!]
[I love this. Always hosting people in their home.]
It took a LONG time to get back to our hotel from Frida’s house. But once we did, our first stop was to the hotel spa to see if they had any openings for massages before the wedding. My Barnacle also made an appointment to get her hair done. I mean, it’s not every day we get to dress up! And yes, we totally walked down to the spa in our robes and slippers!
The GIANT flag behind the Intercontinental! And the reason we found out our friend was in town, too!
I have a few Latin friends, so I’m familiar with how formal their weddings are (compared to the average wedding in the US). We specifically asked the groom if we needed to wear long gowns to his wedding. My Barnacle asked if we should dress like we were going to the Academy Awards, and he agreed that we should. So, we pulled out all of the stops!
The wedding ceremony didn’t start until 8:00pm. Yes, you read that right. 8:00pm. They got married in a beautiful cathedral!
The groom and his mom.
The whole family and the bridal party walk down the aisle after the groom.
The bride’s entrance was magnificent!
She looked so excited!
They passed out sparklers during the ceremony, but we missed the moment to get out there and light them before the bride & groom exited the church. Oops!
Gotta love when you get a very enthusiastic wave from the couple during the recessional!
The reception was beautiful! They had a candy bar, beautiful decorations, and a four-course meal.
It was a party from the minute they arrived!
[Aren’t they adorable?!]
Kind of like that time we posted by the IAMSTERDAM sign…kind of.
I haven’t worn my fancy dress shoes in quite a while, and I forgot just how painful they are! My feet were aching before we even got to the church! So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when all of the women were given SLIPPERS upon arrival at the reception!
[They totally go with my dress, right?!]
There were SO MANY party accessories on the dance floor throughout the evening…glasses, hats, light up headbands, balloons…
And at 1:30 or 2:00am, dancers on STILTS arrived!!! This was definitely a wedding first for me!
When we said good-bye to the bride & groom around 2:30am (with the party still going strong), they said, “Now you know how Mexicans get married!” How fun!
We slept for a few hours, had some breakfast, and headed back to St. Louis! What a whirlwind! It might have been short, but it was such a wonderful weekend!