In a city with a population of twenty-two million people, you think that you would feel very small, very insignificant; but walking around Mexico City, you feel just the opposite. There are people pulling at you from all directions trying to get YOUR attention. From street performers and vendors to little children holding out empty pink plastic cups begging for pesos - they are all looking to you to pay attention to them. There is something new around every corner you turn, and it captivates every being in your body. I want to take you on another little journey, and my hope is that you can experience through my words what I see and physically feel.
There are five of us down here from my office that are helping out our partners here in Mexico.We went into the office today for a few hours to make sure operations are running smoothly for a hot summer Saturday. The five of us gather in a small circle and discuss what has been our plan from the beginning of the week, and that was to go to Coyoacon. Coyoacon is a market within Mexico City that is equivalent to any large Flea market in the United States, except this one runs all year. Then someone breaks the news to us that the scheduled transportation is no longer available due to mechanical issues. I have to admit that I was briefly disappointed because I had been so excited to go and experience this all over again. However, this was not going to stop us from enjoying such a gorgeous day. So we set back out to the hotel and once we arrive, agree to meet in the lobby in one half hour.
We decide to walk across the street to the park which is directly in front of our hotel. Every day families come in and set up shop for a few hours to sell what they've made or bought themselves. As we approach, the park looks like it just unfolds before our eyes, almost like a magic scarf a magician uses to pull out of his bottomless hat. It's filled with so many people and street vendors and I am reveling in the culture. I walk along the tables and there is just so much to take in that I find my eyes bouncing back and forth between the shiny beaded necklaces and knitted bags. I walk on marveling in the beauty that each family has to offer. Then we stop at this one table. It's laden in leather wallets and coin purses. The air is filled with the smell of genuine leather and it takes me down memory lane. I pick up this adorable little coin purse that is made of three different color leathers; brown, dark brown and black and it has a band around it so colorful it looks mosaic. I ask how much it is, and the gentleman tells me it's "diez pesos." Which is equivalent to about eighty-five cents.You know that I now own that little beauty! We walk on an fall upon this table just dazzled with shiny jewelry. There are silver bracelets with colorful rocks set on top, beaded necklaces that have details so intricate, you wonder how long it must have taken to make. My eyes are then drawn to these uniquely colored stone bracelets; the stone is shiny, but has a deep color - almost black, but not Onyx. They are so beautiful that one of the guys I am with purchases three of them for his daughter.
We walk and walk "window" shopping at every table there is to offer. There isn't enough time in a day to stop and really appreciate all the merchandise and things happening around; but we try as hard as we can to soak it all up. We walk our way around the perimeter of the park and then tackle the middle. As we are walking, we can hear salsa music blaring not so distant from us. When we approach the area, there are couples dancing to the rhythm. Everyone moves in fluid motion with one another. It's as if they've practiced these moves day in and out. Hundreds of people are gathered around watching in complete happiness and basking in the serenity that the dance radiates towards them. I stop and admire these brave individuals.
Walking on, all three of us cannot help but stare at this one booth. It's covered in different sized bags, headbands and jewelry all covered with cultural print. We step closer and sitting behind all of this are two young girls - seemingly quite accomplished entrepreneurs for their age ;) The older girl, who couldn't be older than twelve or thirteen was able to communicate with us; her English being very little and our Spanish vocabulary even more lacking. She helped one of my co-workers pick out four beautifully crafted bags for his granddaughters. So impressed by their dedication (and admittedly cuteness), we all purchased merchandise from these lovely little ladies. I am excited to sport my new purple, black and white back-pack! While we are making our final purchases, stomach somersaults are at their peak - we are all starving. Diagonal from this booth, there is a stand that is cooking hot dogs and hamburgers, across from them, there is guy frying bananas and freshly cut potatoes. We don't give in....just yet.
We decide to walk the back area of the market and discover more dancing. There is a different flow of music sounding in the air and more people are lined along the wall sitting and enjoying the glow of the afternoon sun and the joy of the people around them. I am completely enthralled with what is going on about five feet up; there are gentlemen playing chess and drinking coke on the side of the street. The seemingly silent camaraderie that these individuals share with one another is so precious it makes me feel proud that I get to witness this. It's beautiful.
I want to stand there and watch them play, but the hollow feeling inside of my stomach is enough to keep me moving. We stumble through a very crowded area in the back with merchandise much different from that of what we have been rummaging through all day. Lined in almost perfect order on blankets spread out on the ground are original Nintendo and it's games, individual action figures, not wrapped and other items that looked as if they could be collectors items. It was action figure, super-hero glory! Making sure we didn't leave any path uncovered, we started to make our way back. We stopped at the most American restaurant there is: Chili's and finally fed our hungry stomachs - where the other two joined us.
The five of us headed down Avendio Juarez toward the Zocalo (where the President's Palace resides). There are literally thousands of people walking to and from their own destinations. We are hoping to visit more market places; which, to no surprise were already packed up for the evening. However, that did not damper the mood in the least. On our way we saw some pretty exciting characters. There was Woody and Buzz Lightyear hanging out on the corner of Modero and another adjacent street; children huddled around hoping to get a picture with them. On another street there was a life size dancing Elmo with Cat in the Hat. I couldn't help but laugh! Up on the stairs to the right of me was Predator (shamefully, I took a picture for my boyfriend), and with him some other character that was so elaborately put together. I am just so impressed with the effort put into these costumes, and the excitement these people have to perform.
The day is turning to night and I happen to look up and witness one of the most beautiful skies I have seen in a long time. The mix of the uniquely shaped storm clouds and the sun setting created this picturesque scene. I stopped to take a picture. The sun reflection off of the tall building is so perfect.
Last stop before we rest our heads for the night is this little quaint churro stand a block down from our hotel. I have never had a churro before; something everyone tells me I need to try. As we get closer, the smell is so intoxicating it makes me take another breath. There is a line for this little churro stand, and I can't understand why. Until I get my churro. It's called "Churro Rellanos" meaning a filled churro. Mine was filled with this decadent melted chocolate and covered in cinnamon and sugar. (So not healthy, but completely worth it). This was honestly the perfect ending for such an incredible day. You don't have to go somewhere special to experience something special.
Thank you for reading :)
Love and wellness to all!