Sunday, March 22, 2009


According to Adrian, one of Mexico’s greatest exports is Salma Hayek. So it was easy to convince him to watch Frida when he discovered she was in it. It was even easier to keep him watching it when he discovered she was in it naked. But after watching the movie, he had a new interest in Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and some of the Mexico City locations featured in movie. And that’s what we decided to do this day.

After another breakfast at ViPS (a local chain where Adrian was able to get a proper breakfast), we headed out to the San Angel area of the city to visit the conjoined homes of Rivera and Kahlo that is now home to a museum. Getting there was another easy trip on the Metro (our feet were thankful) and once we were out of the station, we felt like we were in a completely different city. It was greener, cleaner and decidedly richer. Most of the streets were cobblestoned and lined with ivy covered walls behind which old colonial mansions stood. There were crafts markets and it being a weekend there were lots of people about but still without the frenetic pace of downtown.

As we explored the streets, our pyramid climbing muscles began to express their displeasure with us. But we ignored them and soon got to the conjoined houses. Why conjoined houses? Well, Frida and Diego each wanted their own space after they got married. This of course gave both of them many opportunities to cheat on each other leading to their divorce. But they remarried however, Frida never moved back into the conjoined houses, instead continuing to live in the her childhood home over in the next neighbourhood of Coyoacan.

It didn’t look too far on the map so we walked over to Frida’s house to check out the Museo de Frida Kahlo. Our legs were really not happy with this decision but it gave us the opportunity to take in Coyoacan. While slightly less polished than San Angel, it is another shady peaceful neighbourhood that used to be a satellite town outside of Mexico City until urban sprawl swallowed it up.

Unlike the Museo Diego Rivera, the Museo Frida Kahlo wasn’t free on Sunday (most museums in Mexico City are free on Sunday). But it was definitely more extensive, covering both her and Diego’s influences and containing many of their sketches and works, including some of the numerous body casts Frida had to wear and that she painted. Having just seen the movie it was great to see so many things with context. It made another day at the museums not just tolerable but enjoyable.

Finally, Mexico City had grown on us. But rather than push our luck we decided to take a break from sightseeing to counter some of the tourism fatigue we were feeling. It also meant we could catch up on all things blog (ed: hah, I’m still a week behind) and make plans for the next leg of our trip.

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