Thursday Doors: Mexico City

In Mexico City there are still cantinas on many corners. When you order a drink, you are served a snack, or antojito. When you order your second round, your ¨snack¨ is larger and more complex, going from a small dish of nuts, to maybe a nice savory soup. The more rounds of booze, the more elaborate the antojitos. When I lived in Mexico City for a while 15 years ago, I would make a dinner of a few drinks and antojitos with friends. I love this tradition, as I do the lovely swinging bar room doors on the cantinas.



On the streets in the historic district, the doors have remained as businesses come and go. This door to me hints at art nouveau movement to come.


These imposing doors open the the Ministry of Finance.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bright Colors

This week I am more than ready for the color photo challenge. I´ve been in Mexico City for the last week, and one would have to be color blind to miss  the bright colors. There is so much to choose from. I went to what was allegedly the flea market on Saturday, but it was actually a costume and bridal market, if that isn´t redundant. La Lagunilla is not far from the infamous Plaza Garibaldi, home of the Mariachi Bands and the tequila museum. So, here are my photos. I have a lot more on other posts, but these were taken especially for you, Cee.



Diego Rivera Museum, Mexico City: Diego Rivera’s Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central

I strolled through the Alameda Central yesterday, in Mexico City, and wandered into the Diego Rivera Museum. The Alameda Central is a huge park in the historic district created in 1592 by the Spanish viceroy at the time. Diego Rivera´s Mural  Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park) depicts pivotal figures and events in Mexican society over almost 500 years in a scene in the park. 

The mural is spectacular simply as art. But Rivera was much more than a mural artist, and there is always a social/political element to his work. The mural is worth a better explanation than I can give, so here is a section from Wikipedia:


The mural was originally created at the request of architect Carlos Obregón Santacilia, and originally was displayed in the Versailles restaurant at the hotel Prado. When the hotel was destroyed in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, the mural was restored and moved to its own museum.[1]


The mural depicts famous people and events in the history of Mexico, passing through the Alameda Central park in Mexico City. Some notable figures include José Guadalupe Posada, Francisco I. Madero, Benito Juárez, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Porfirio Díaz, Agustín de Iturbide, Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, Maximilian I of Mexico, Juan de Zumárraga, Antonio López de Santa Anna, Winfield Scott, Victoriano Huerta, José Martí, Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera, Hernán Cortés, and La Malinche.

The central focus of the mural is on a display of bourgeois complacency and values shortly before the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Elegantly dressed upper-class figures promenade under the figure of the long ruling dictator Porfirio Díaz. An indigenous family is forced back by police batons and to the right flames and violence loom. The center of the mural is dominated by the elegantly dressed skeleton La Calavera Catrina holding arms with the Mexican graphic artist who first conceived and drew her, José Guadalupe Posada in a black suit and cane. La Catrina wears a Feathered Serpent boa around her shoulders. On La Catrina’s right she is holding hands with a child version of Diego Rivera in short pants. Rivera’s wife Frida Kahlo is standing just behind and between him and La Catrina; Kahlo has her hand on Rivera’s shoulder and she is holding a yin-yang device. La Malinche and Posada are staring directly into each other’s eyes.[2]

The full mural, you can get the size of it if you look at the people in front
On the right there is a break where the little girl with the doll and the one weeping mark the departure to the Mexican Revolution.
On the far left are conquistadors, and above them, with the priest and the beaten man in the hat, are images of the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico. I especially like the barefoot pickpocket in the front.
The gentleman in the center doffing his hat is Jose Marti, a Cuban hero, standing next to Frida Khalo, who is behind a childish image of the artist. La Calavera Catrina is holding Rivera by the hand.
And on the far right are the heroes of the revolution, and the poor.

The museum was very small, with a hall accommodating the mural, and a couple of other small rooms with a modest collection of Rivera´s work and a few other artists. Tomorrow I plan to go to a larger museum with a fuller collection of Rivera and his fellow muralists. I hope that museum has a book shop and a book on this mural. It is way to dense to unpack otherwise.




Share Your World (Cee´s Questions)

(Cee´s Share your world challenge)

This is the first time I have responded to this, for some reason. So here is a rather random view of my world.

If you wanted to de-clutter where you live, what room / space would you start with?  (And why, if you’re feel like admitting to it.)

I would have to start with my hotel room, which is where I live. I have a suitcase and a backpack, and have had all year. Actually, it has taught me a lot about clutter and what I really need. When I settle in someplace, I know I won´t have clutter.

If you want to remember something important, how do you do it (sticky note on the fridge, string around your finger, etc.), and does it work?

I send myself an email message. If it is for far in the future, I write it in my journal on that date.

If you could create a one room retreat just for yourself, what would be the most important sense to emphasize:  sight (bright natural light, dim light, etc.), hearing (silence, music, fountain, etc.), smell (candles, incense, etc), touch (wood, stone, soft fabrics, etc.), or taste (herbal tea, fresh fruit, etc.)?

It would definitely be sight. I have, in storage, a collection of things from 15 years of travel and from a long time before that. No, it won´t be clutter, but reminders of the world out there. I believe that we wear out psyches on out walls, if we truly make a place home. It doesn´t work if you have an interior decorator or another person controlling, or even actively sharing, the environment.

If you could interview one of your great-great-great grandparents, who would it be (if you know their name) and what would you ask?

I´d have to learn German! But it was that generation that was the last of my family to live in Alsace Loraine, before emigrating to the United States, when it was German and changing hands to France again. I would want to know why my ancestor, a Mr. Ayer, left the family in Germany and became an indentured servant in the US. He died in the Revolutionary war as a stand-in for his master. I´ve always been curious about the life of my family before that in the US. I assume it was hard, elsewise I wouldn´t have been born in the US, but in Germany.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

So much, but especially the free operatic Day of the Dead show I happened into in the Diego Rivera Museum in Mexico City. I was just there to see the splendid Rivera mural, which takes up the whole wall of a huge room and features 500 years of Mexican personalities and events. I arrived as they were setting up  chairs in front of the mural,  so I sat down!

I´m looking forward to an evening at the Luche Libre in Mexico City. It should be amazing!

Diego Rivera´s Mural The Alameda
It came alive with an opera performance of the Day of the Dead


Thursday Doors: Oman

Usually there is only one main ingress and egress to Arab compounds. Privacy and protection are important, and most families live inside high walls. I think this is part of the reason that doors take on added significance. There are broad expanses of tall plain plaster walls, often only punctuated by the door. Here are my Thursday Doors.







Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Yellows: Mexico City, and it Was All Yellow

I found today´s challenge, looked into my archives, and came up rather empty handed. It is my first day back in Mexico City, so I set out to find yellow. It´s fun to have a bit of a task when it comes to going out with a camera, and Mexico City doesn´t disappoint when it comes to color. So here is a bit of Mexico City brought to you by the color yellow.

There is graffiti, of course:




And Architecture, especially azulejos (brightly colored tiles) and glass in the cathedral:




Yellow is the color of safety and warnings:




And, at this time of the year especially, masks and costumes: