Urban Latinos find relief from their crowded cities each Sunday Morning via the Ciclovia… in Bogota, Medellin, Mexico City and other metropolises the major thoroughfares are closed to motorized vehicules and opened to bikes, runners, strollers, skaters and other human-powered transportation forms. Free roadside Zumba, salsa, yoga and aerobic stages appear, bands play, and the families come out to enjoy the space and cleaner air.
My country clan doesn’t love cars or crowds, so I’ve planned around this Ciclovia Sunday. I left early to set up bike rentals; the family then joined and we enjoyed a long ride down the broad Paseo de la Reforma, past some of Latin America’s tallest skyscrapers, the famous Angel of Independence, and into the massive Bosque de Chapultepec park. Avoiding the crowds we toured the park’s perimeter, visiting less-seen monuments and resting at the tranquil Audiorama. Stopping at the park’s busy central lane we shared popcorn and watched local families take in lazy day with picnics, boating, shopping and touring.
Museums are free to locals on Sundays – good for them… crowded for us – so we limited our entries to the quirky Monsters exhibit at the Museum of Modern art, and the Diego Rivera Mural museum to see his famous panorama of Mexican history, Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central). It’s a 50-foot mural placing himself and Frida Kahlo in Alameda Park among heroes and villains of Mexico’s history from colonial times onward. Benito Juárez, Porfirio Díaz, Agustín de Iturbide, Maximilian I of Mexico, Santa Anna, Winfield Scott, José Martí, Hernán Cortés, Miranda, and La Malinche; borrachos, indigenas, ladrones, industrialisas, Zapatistas, touristas… they’re all here, telling a hundred tales crammed onto one mural. Rivera’s works are dense with stories and very approachable.
Our bike back was pleasant enough, and we found some delicious fish tacos before putting our feet up in our apartment for a quick siesta. At 4:30 the boys and I left Sue behind and set out for one of our trip’s highlights – front row seats at Lucha Libre! This is the famed Mexican wrestling, masks and all. We were lucky to attend on a night when local favorite “Mystero” wrestled, and almost had his mask torn off by his cave-man counterpart. The outcomes are orchestrated, but the fights are good fun, and these guys are amazing gymnasts, flying, twirling, contorting, grimacing, spitting, shouting, pointing, slapping, crying and drawing in a raucous crowd. It’s testosterone-filled fun, and I had to referee the boys to keep them from practicing flying scizzor kicks afterwards.
Monday the 27th we endured an arduous Uber ride out to Teotihuacán (teh-oh-tee-wah-kahn), once Mesoamerica’s greatest city. The Teotihuacán people thrived two millennia ago, and their Pirámide del Sol remains the third largest ancient pyramid on earth. Walking north along the Calzada de los Muertos (the Mexican obsession with death goes back a long way), we came to the world’s fourth largest pyramid, the Pirámide de la Luna. In between are ruins of temples for priests and lower gods, and a fine museum housing some archaeological discoveries. Battling our way back through the City we enjoyed a quiet afternoon and made some arrangements for our upcoming Colombian adventure before venturing out to the world’s most amazing bakery… I’ll let the pictures tell that tale.