Sunday, September 21, 2014

Excursion to Mexico City!

Today we had another Sunday Funday, we took a day trip to Mexico City! 

Mexico City is only about an hour away from Cuernavaca (when there isn't horrendous Mexico City traffic...) We piled into the van at 7:00AM sharp ready to explore! 

When we arrived in Mexico City we first visited a restaurant/department store by the name of Sanborn's for a little coffee and snack before we began the day. Sanborn's is located in an old palace and it's like you stepped back in time to the 1950's in this beautiful diner. 

After coffee, we walked to the Palacio de Bellas Artes (the Palace of Fine Arts) a beautiful theater where we had tickets to the Ballet Folklórico de México! The palace itself is beautiful, complete with the stage's "curtain" which is made of foldable stained glass panels created out of nearly a million pieces of iridescent colored glass by Tiffany's in New York!

Palacio de Bellas Artes 
The Tiffany Curtain
Front Row Seats!
We got front row seats to the show! The lights dimmed and the floor started moving! This barrier wall between us and the stage sank into the ground and another part of the floor started rising up to this strong beat of drums. The drummers came up on this stage and the sound gave me chills! They were only a few feet away too! The first dance was more indigenous and they wore these beautiful ensembles covered in different accents to make noise and shine. The first dance was amazing because little by little, all of the dancers came out in the same costume and it looked like an army there was so many people! Even with that, the footwork was impeccable and they were all on the same beat with their feet and with the small maraca-type instrument in one hand. 

From the first dance to the last dance, I had chills the entire time! The music, the wardrobe, the dancing and the overall environment was fantastic! 

After the ballet, we walked through the city. We first visited the Post Office, which is easily the most beautiful post office I've ever seen. I didn't think it was a post office at first, it looks more like a hotel! Lindsey pointed out that it looked a lot like the Titanic! 

The Ladies and Bernardo on the Post Office Steps!
The city is sinking at a maximum of 8 inches per year because
the city was originally built on a lake. Here is
 evidence that the city is sinking! 

Beautiful architecture! 
Buildings around the Plaza de Armas 

We then walked towards the main zocalo where the Cathedral and National Palace (government building) are located. We visited the Cathedral and we could actually go in it even though it was during mass. It was amazing! I wish I could go to church every sunday in such a beautiful place! The cathedral actually has 16 chapels situated on the sides- each one is dedicated to a different saint, like the Virgen de Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. There are a few altars, they were using the main Tabernacle alter up front for mass and the other one we saw further back by the entrance and is completely encrusted in gold. The organs that they use today was built in 1736 and was brought from Spain. It is amazing and the two play simultaneously. 

Inside the Cathedral during Sunday Mass

Chapel next to Cathedral
View of Cathedral from the National Palace
Tilted building, more evidence of the "sinking city"
We then headed to the National Palace. The site and much of the building material of the current building is of what were called Moctezuma II's "New Houses". This palace functioned as an Aztec residence. 

Later, the land and buildings were claimed by Hernán Cortés. Then bought from the Cortés family by the Spanish Crown for the viceroy (leader). After Mexico's Independence, they renamed the palace the National Palace and created departments such as Ministry of War and Ministry of Justice. 

Palacio Nacional 
In the 1920's, the third level was built and in the grand marble staircase is where Diego Rivera would paint this incredible seven-paneled mural.

Part of another mural by Diego Rivera
Courtyard of National Palace. It's hard to tell by this picture but
this part of palace is uneven due to the sinking of the city! 
We waited outside for our driver and then we headed to the Museum of Anthropology. As we neared the museum, we saw this long line of people. When I say long, I mean MILES long. People wait in line to get into the museum ALL DAY. We asked our trusty guide Bernardo, if we were going to have to wait in the line and he said "well no, you're with me!" and then gave us his signature chuckle. We expected that he would have some pass or connection but we basically walked up to the front of the line (all eight of us!) and Bernardo asked random strangers if we could jump the line. It was terribly awkward and hilarious at the same time. A nice man with his kids let us in and we didn't look back because there were people yelling! (eeeeek!) So that was interesting...oh, Bernardo...!

Once we got in, we entered the main courtyard that has all of the different rooms connected to it. We first entered the "Mexica" room. It was amazing! All of these important artifacts in one room! I think Bernardo was the only guide at the museum that day because once he started speaking, he drew a crowd, especially when he talked about something in Spanish. It was hilarious. 

The anthropology museum is separated into different rooms for different parts of Mexico. We visited the Mexica (sounds like mesh-ica) room, the Maya room, the Gulf Coast room, and the Oaxaca room. 

Stone of the Sun

Headdress of Moctezuma

A Tomb- the person laying down was buried with food, water and gifts to use in the afterlife. They were buried with their servant. The servant was there to look after the other person but only after they took out the brain so the devil couldn't influence them to hurt the other person.
Pakal the Great of Palenque (Mayan ruler) was adorned with a jade mask and jade accessories.  

Sport player- specific stance, armor and accessories.
A carved piece explaining one of the many sports they had.

They kept the ruins of their family members under their houses.
The smallest flutes I've ever seen...

Statues of women- apparently they had thunder thighs too...! 

Jewelry made of jade
Giant Olmec Head
Today was exhausting! We saw so much in only a day! It was easily one of the coolest excursions we have been on because it was so different from the others.



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