Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Odd Signs And Strange Wonders Of Mexico City

I love finding things that shouldn't be funny, but really truly are hilarious, at least to me anyways.  Mexico City had plenty of things that I found funny.  Let me share.

I will start with odd signs.

At the hotel the sign on the door said, "No Molestar".  I translated that to, "Please don't come into our room in the middle of the night and molest us in our sleep."    Also, just now looking at it, I see, "No Mole Star".  Not sure what a mole star is but I am pretty sure I don't want one of those either!

No Molestar Sign Mexico City

Duck Dynasty is international AND in Spanish "quack" is "cuak"!  I find both extremely interesting.  I really wonder if the people of Mexico think that all southern Americans are like the people on Duck Dynasty.  That's a scary thought!

Duck Dynasty Billboard in Mexico City

I have a feeling that this electronic truck billboard would be banned in America due to the distraction factor.  I mean, really, people would have to look up from their phones as they drive and that is a major distraction!



I am still baffled by this sign.  

Burger King Bathrooms For Customers Only-Avoid Discomfort Mexico City

According to Google translate it says, "Bathrooms are for Burger King customers."  Ok, I can understand that.  But then it goes on to say in the last line, "Avoid discomfort".

Avoid discomfort???   

As in if you go in there, you are going to get shocked on your tushy if you didn't make a purchase first?   

Or

As in, be sure you buy something so you can go into the bathroom in order to avoid the discomfort of having to go to the bathroom??

I  just don't know!!

Anyhow, the next sign has to be my favorite because it is so open to interpretation if you don't understand Spanish.  We saw them in several places including our hotel.

What it actually tells you is what do in the case of an earthquake or fire.

Here is what I how I translated the sign as to what you should do according to the pictures.

Earthquake:  
  1. Put on a polo shirt WITH a pocket in case you need a place to put something small.
  2. Near the stove there will be a box of trash.  Put your hand in it.  I can't figure out why but if the sign says so then you must obey!  Maybe in the box you will find the thing you are suppose to put in the tiny pocket on your shirt.
  3. I am not sure what it is that is chasing you, but you should run past the window to get away from it.
  4. Do not go through these doors!  The thing chasing you must be behind them, so avoid those doors!
  5. Go find your friend who climbed under the desk to get away from the thing chasing people and tell them it is ok to come out now because the scary thing is now behind the doors.
  6. You been through a lot.  You should leave.  Just get out of there.  Run as fast as you can!

What To Do In An Earthquake or Fire Mexico City

Fire:
  1. Put back on that polo shirt with the pocket for that small item you might find.
  2. Take the smelly trash out!
  3. If you don't someone is going to yell at you after you have changed clothes and put on a tie!
  4. You can try to kill the smell with super strength Lysol.
  5. But the police will still know that you need to take it out and will tell you to do so.
  6. Realize that your trash stinks so bad that you have to go outside to get some fresh air.
  7. But if the doors are blocked....
  8. Cover your nose
  9. And crawl on the floor.  Bad smells rise.  On the floor you can live your life in peace without the smell of your trash interfering with your life.   
I am not sure what the smelly trash has to do with fire but this is what the signs say!  Who am I to question the sign??

That is all the signs that I have and now I would like to move on to the strange wonders of Mexico City.

These cigarette warnings might fall under signs but then again they don't.  Either way, the graphic pictures on the cigarettes were crazy!  One of them warns of an infarto cardiaco and that is just funny to say!

Cigarette Warnings on Packages Mexico City

I am not sure why the crosswalks had stencils of kings, but they did.  *shrug*  I liked it!

King Street Crossing Mexico City

Look!  Real-life Despicable Me minions!

Tree Trimming Minions Mexico City

These next photos were not really strange, I just really liked them for one reason or another.

I had trouble deciding if this was was a Christmas shrine to the Virgin Mary or just a shrine to the Virgin Mary very festively decorated.

Virgin Mary Shrine in a Market Place Mexico City

I like the simplicity of this shrine.  I love the colors of this shrine.  I love the placement of this shrine.

Virgin of Guadalupe on Pink House Mexico City

How pretty are these colorful guitars??  They were cheap too at only roughly $4 a piece!  I should have bought one.  Who doesn't need a fun colorful dust collector like that??

Colorful Small Guitars Mexico City

In the same storefront on the opposite side of the guitars were these lovely sombreros.  Again, should have bought one of those dust collectors!!  NO!  I know for a fact that the hat would have been worn daily!  Right??

Colorful Sombreos Mexico City

Last on my list of the odd and strange is the food section.

I found it interesting that there was a separate window for McDonald's ice cream.  In fact, I think this one had no full McDonald's attached to it, it was just for ice cream!  Mexico City is AMAZING!!  Any place that promotes ice cream is my kind of place!

Now don't panic, an ice cream cone in Mexico City does not cost $8 American dollars.  It does cost 8 pesos which is a mere 60 cents in American money!  SIXTY CENTS!  That is a price I can handle!

Window just for McDonalds Ice Cream Mexico City

Speaking of small spaces where food is served, check out this tiny quesadilla place!  What you see is the entire place!  In many of the big cities we have been to in on our travels, if there is a space, they will sell something from it!  I have been in some tiny convenience stores, let me tell you what!

Small Quesadilla Shop Mexico City

There were stands like the one below all over the city.  You could get Doritos, Chitos (I think they were trying for Cheetos), nachos with ketchup (blaaaahhh!), and other not so healthy snacks.

Street Vendor Mexico City

Check out this can.  When I looked it the first time I thought it was an orange and hot dog flavored drink.  I was highly grossed out.  Then I looked closer and lo and behold it was thankfully an orange and carrot flavored drink.  The sad thing is, that I thought that orange and hot dog might have been an actual concoction!  

Carrot and Orange Juice Mexico City

And finally, on our way to the airport to go home I was gazing outside the taxi window.  That is when I saw this...

Plucked Chickens in Back of Truck Mexico City

...yeap, that is a truck bed full of dead plucked chickens.   That has got to violate some kind of sanitation code!  Well, it would in America anyways!!

This ends my posts on our trip to Mexico City. I hope you have enjoyed the trip with us.

I have a few shorter trips we took during the summer to post about.  This Christmas we have plans to go to Poland.  I hope you will return to read about our other summer trips and then the big Christmas trip.

Until then!

Teotihuacan Pyramids - Mexico City

On our last full day in Mexico City I was so sick.  Ok, yes, I drank tap water the day before, but am I fully convinced that is what made me sick?  Only about 85% sure.  But Frankie didn't drink the water and he got sick one of the days of our trip as well, so who knows.

This day was the day we were going to go to the Teotihuacan Pyramids and it was one of the main things Frankie wanted to do.  I told him it was fine to go without me.  I didn't want him to miss out going just because I thought I was dying.   

After several, "Are you sure you'll be ok and you're sure you don't mind?"  He was on his way.  Before going we had looked up how to get there and the best information we found came from a travel blog called "Traveling With Elliot".   Frankie said that with those instructions he had no problems.

The bus he took out to the pyramids was way past its glory days.  The A/C didn't work and some of the chairs were broken, but it was cheap to ride and almost empty.  It only made one stop in the hour long trip, so all in all it wasn't too bad.

Bus to Teotihuacan Pyramids Mexico City

Once there the views were spectacular!  Frankie went on a day where there were very few people.  We read online that at times it is packed and if you choose to climb the pyramids that it is just a line of people going up and another going down.   That wouldn't have been fun so it was good timing on his part.

There are several pyramids out there with the two main ones being the Pyramid of Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun.  The biggest one is the Pyramid of the Sun which is shown in the picture below.

Pyramid of the Sun Teotihuacan Pyramids Mexico City

Frankie climbed all the way to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun.  All 248 steps!  The view was breathtaking!  (And not just because he had just climbed 248 steps either!)

Pyramid of the Moon from Pyramid of the Sun Teotihuacan Pyramids Mexico City

View from Pyramid of the Sun Teotihuacan Pyramids Mexico City

After climbing down, he walked around the site.  This place is massive!  Between the two main pyramids there is a road called the Avenue of the Dead and it is two miles long by itself. 

There is a small marketplace geared towards tourist.  You can buy souvenirs, food, and drink.  They have these whistle you can buy that sound just like jaguars.  Frankie said it was creepy how lifelike it sounded!  If you want to hear what a jaguar sounds like click on this link then click on the gray play arrow box.

Market at Teotihuacan Pyramids Mexico City

Frankie said the ride back was uneventful and he was glad that he went.  I really wish I could have gone too, but it is what it is and now we a reason to go back!  Like we really needed a specific one!
My next and last post about Mexico City will be about all oddities that we saw while in Mexico City. It will be a fun post to write and read.  I hope you come back for it!
Until then!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe) - Mexico City

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is more than just a church.  When we got there we were overwhelmed by the VILLAGE that greeted us.  There are several buildings including three to four churches/chapels.  The main attractions are the old Basilica and the new Basilica which you can see both in the picture below.  One guess as to which is the old and which is the new.
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

From what I have read, legend says that a man named Juan Diego had a vision from the Virgin Mary in the year 1531 telling him that she wanted a temple built in Mexico City in her honor and that he needed to tell the bishop this.  The bishop wanted proof so Mary told Juan Diego to pick some roses and wrap them in his cloak to take back.  When Juan Diego got back to the bishop and unwrapped the roses from his cloak, the image of Mary appeared on it. 

Before we entered any buildings we were drawn to the sound of music and the sight of tribal dancing.  We watched these teenagers dancing and then felt sorry for them.  It was a little warm on this day and I don't know how long they had already been dancing but they didn't stop for a long time after we got there!



The old church was beautiful!  I loved the old style.

Old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

I love the bell towers.

Bell Tower of Old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

I love the vast interiors.

Inside Old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

I even love the strange things you can find in Catholic churches.  Take for instance this statue representing Jesus as a child that a person can pray to.  I am not sure why you would pray to Jesus as a child or to a statue for that matter.  All I could think of when I saw this was the little baby Jesus prayer from Talladega Night.  (Don't worry, this links to a clean version!)

Prayer to the Divine Child Jesus Old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

When the old basilica was discovered to be sinking in the mid 1970's they decided to build a new one. The new basilica is so different from any church I have seen.  It was interesting to see the contrasts.

Modern Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

Pope John Paul II Statue and New Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

The inside of the new basilica was enormous!  We actually went on a Sunday afternoon and it was packed during one of the services.   

Inside New Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

We quietly made our way around the side away from the people there to worship to see the original 16th century image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  You get to stand on this short moving walkway to view the image without everyone stopping and being in the way.  

Original Image of Virgin of Guadalupe New Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

After seeing the inside of both the old and the new basilica we made our way over to a massive set of stairs.  We had no idea what was at the top, but hey, other people were going up there and it looked pretty, so we went too.  

Yes, I understand that just blindly following a crowd can always lead to potential death, but sometimes you just have to risk it!  Besides, did I mention how pretty it looked??

Steps to Capilla de Cerrito Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

Before we got too far up the steps on the right hand side there were statues in a lovely rose garden depicting the bishop and Juan Diego with his cloak that had the image of the Virgin Mary on it.

Juan Diego Statue Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

Further up and in several places on the steps there were spots where you could pay to pose for a picture with flowers, donkeys, the Virgin Mary, and  Pope John Paul II's picture.  There was even a sombrero you could wear to complete the picture.  

Did I find it pretty? Yes, of course!  Look at all the colors!

Did I find it completely tacky and a questionable trade at a church?  Absolutely!

Get Photo Taken with the Lady of Gaudalupe Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

After climbing up a ton of stairs....

More Steps to Capilla de Cerrito Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

...we made it to the top and the views were SPECTACULAR!

Templo de las Capuchinas and Old and New Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

Mexico City Seen from Capilla de Cerrito Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

There were other chapels up there but by the time we got up there it was past 5 and they had closed.  While up there you could buy souvenirs and refreshments.  I just don't know about all that.  I just don't know.

Once up and done, there was no where to go but down.  So that is what we did.  I was hoping to get to the Garden del Tepeyac to see the statues but we were too late.  They had already locked the gate.  Luckily however, I could see them from the stairs as we walked down and I was able to take a picture.

Garden del Tepeyac Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

Still continuing our trek down we saw a beautiful temple called Templo del Pocito.  The building was built up around a water well that was once believed to have healing powers.  It since dried up but the building remains.

Templo del Pocito from up high Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

Templo del Pocito from Ground level Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

One final building that we passed before leaving had this beautiful window with the sun shining through from the otherside.  It just glowed colors.  I  loved it paired with the white wall and green cactus and shrub.  It is one of my favorite pictures from the entire trip!

Side of Parroquia de Indios Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City

After our visit to the basilica village we got back on the metro and headed to Wal-Mart.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, it was a disappointment and not much different from American Wal-Marts.  I had high hopes but then again I was starting to feel sick and couldn't give it my full attention.

I stayed sick the rest of the evening and all the next day.  Frankie is much more of an adventurer than I am and he went to the Teotihuacan pyramids alone the next day.  I will dictate his adventures and share his photos in my next post.  I hope you will come back to read all about it!

Until then!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Museo Soumaya (Soumaya Museum) - Mexico City

This was the day we were going to brave the metro.  We tried it once but it was crazy crowded.  We were determined to ride this thing on this day!

I had it all planned out the night before.  Every stop we would have to go to, every line we would have to use, and even every transfer we would make. All of it was going to cost us a whole 40 pesos which is just around $3!  Here is the list and the pesos it was going to take us to do this.

40 Pesos to Ride the Metro 4 times for 2 people Mexico City

Yes, apparently I can't spell museum without spellcheck.  So as you see we had a busy day ahead of us.  First up an art museum, then a church, and finally Wal-Mart!  This was going to be our first foreign Wal-Mart.  I could hardly stand the wait to get there!

Turns out it was pretty much like all other Wal-Marts.  So I was a little disappointed.  Things were a little cheaper and they had a few name brand things that you can't find in American Wal-Marts but all in all, the same.

As most of our outings start, we had to eat first.  All over Mexico City there is a chain restaurant called Vips.  All the menus say that this is the cafeteria of Mexico!  I would compare to Denny's.  It is the Mexican Denny's.  And just like Denny's it was overpriced but had decent food.

We had that beautiful basket of  non-free pan de dulce or sweet breads put on our table without us asking for it.  We ate them all. They are just too wonderful to pass up!!  It is a very good thing that we end up walking a lot on these trips or we would just be packing on the pounds!!

Pan de Dulce at Vips Mexico City

We ordered off the breakfast side of the menu and they had some interesting options.  Frankie went with the Cuban Baguette.  That sandwich had a huge hunk of cheese, ham, egg, and bacon on it with an accompaniment of breakfast fries.  (Ok, I made up the name of the breakfast fries, but there were fries served to us from the breakfast menu!)

Baguette Cubano Vips Mexico City

I had a ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg shining through.  I really thought the egg would be more fried than it was or I wouldn't have ordered it.   The sad thing is that there was even a picture on the menu of this sandwich, so I knew EXACTLY what it would look like.  Again, I thought it might be more fried and not so icky runny.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Fried Egg and Tomato at Vips Mexico City

Mexico City is NOT setup for tourism.  The metro stops are not near anything.  We had to walk quite a bit every time, but it is what it is.  The walk does allow us to see things we wouldn't otherwise see.

Take for instance this religious shrine saran wrapped to a tree!  Jesus was even in this one! From all my observations of Catholicism in many countries, he seems to be down played overed the virgin Mary.  Again, that is just my observation but it is what I have seen countless times.

Shrine to Jesus Saran Wrapped to a Tree Mexico City

Then later on we saw this very elaborate religious shrine to the virgin Mary.  (See??)

Large Shrine to Vigin Mary Mexico City

Here is a close up of what is inside the little house.

Closeup of Large Shrine to Virgin Mary Mexico City

It took us a good hour and a half after eating to get to the Soumaya Museum.  Like I said, unless we just really messed up, Mexico City is not setup for tourism!  The museum was so worth the hassle though!  I do suggest taking the bus, if you can figure it out, or a taxi instead of trying to get there by metro.

Just seeing the building is worth it!  I love the shape of this building and I love the materials!

Full View Soumaya Museum Mexico City

I mean, how can I not love a building that is covered in silver shiny hexagons!!

Closer View Soumaya Museum Mexico City

This museum is actually a private museum and is free to the public.  It has over 66,000 pieces of art that spans 30 centuries!  It is ranked as the most visited art museum in the country of Mexico and we had never even heard of it!

When we first walked in there were several pieces of art for our viewing pleasure.  AND they had signs in English telling you what they were!

There is a HUGE mosaic mural by Diego Rivera (husband of Frida Kahlo) called El Bano de Tehuantepec.  It is simply amazing!

I was looking at it from one side and then walked around to the other side and literally saw the other side of the mural.

Side one.

Side One El Bano de Tehuantepec by Diego Rivera Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Side two!  Everything was lined up perfectly just as if it was a real scene and I had walked from one side of the river to the other.

Side Two El Bano de Tehuantepec by Diego Rivera Soumaya Museum Mexico City

It was really an amazing piece of work!

Boy of El Bano de Tehuantepec by Diego Rivera Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Still on the first floor we saw The Thinker by Auguste Rodin.  We saw the original one at the Rodin museum in Paris.  This one was made from the same cast though.

Thinker by Rodin Soumaya Museum Mexico City

In the middle of the first stairway was a copy of The Pieta by Michelangelo,  We saw the original one of it at the Vatican on our trip to Rome.

Reproduction of Pieta Soumaya Museum Mexico City

We started spiraling up the building via the ramp and/or stairs to each of the other six levels of the museum.  Each floor looks pretty much the same but they each have their own theme.

Level 1: Gold and silver: decorative arts. Collection of coins, medals and banknotes
Level 2: Asian Art
Level 3: European and Colonial Old Masters.
Level 4: From Impressionism to the Avant-garde.
Level 5: From the ancient to the modern Mexico.
Level 6: Works by Rodin and his pupils together with surrealist sculptures by Salvador Dalí.

Inside Soumaya Museum Mexico City


We didn't find Level 1 to be of much interest to us, so I have nothing to share.

Level 2 was filled with art from the Asian countries.  There were several elephant tusks that had been carved in great detail and while they were extremely pretty, it was sad to think that an elephant had to die for that.

Shou Xing God of Longevity Made of Elephant Tusks Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Level 3 held lots of religious European art.  I must say, those people painted a lot of pictures!  We have seen so many paintings like this even if we just talk about the art museums in nearby San Antonio!

Although, I did like this one because I have never seen a painting where the virgin Mary is portrayed as a child.

Saint Joaquin with the Virgin as a Child Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Level 4 started to get into the little more funky stuff that I like.  I like seeing things that are different and not your run of the mill art.

Walking Man Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Level 5 was all about Mexico.  It felt like we were going through the Museum of Anthropology all over again!   But then the pieces started to get more into the modern era and everything was ok in my little world once again.

The frame on this one is more elaborate than the actual painting!  And slightly creepy.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Soumaya Museum Mexico City

This, by far, was one of my favorites from the museum.  I loved the colors, the dresses, and even the title, Bountiful Mexico.

Bountiful Mexico Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Then we finally reached the Level 6.  I had been waiting for this level and thought we would never get there!

This level had so many Salvador Dali statues!  I love most of his work!  It is so weird!  We were able to go to an exhibit of his in Paris where I saw his painting title The Persistence of Memory, which was actually much smaller than I thought it would be.

All of the statues on this level by Dali were huge and fantastic!  Let me share a few with you.

Horse Saddled with Time Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Profile of Time Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City


Space Elephant Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City


Giraffe Woman Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Ok, on this one, you just have to see the head up close.  

Head of Giraffe Woman Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City


After the ones with the clocks, this one was my favorite.  It is called Alice in Wonderland.


Alice in Wonderland Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City\

It is another one that you  just have to see a close-up of the head.

Face of Alice in Wonderland Salvador Dali Soumaya Museum Mexico City

It wasn't just all Salvador Dali on Level 6, there were also statues by Auguste Rodin and his students.

Great Clenched Hand Auguste Rodin Soumaya Museum Mexico City


Lady with Veil Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Once we were done with the art we spiraled our way back down to the bottom floor.  Before leaving we had to take care of business and that is when I walked into the prettiest public bathroom I have ever, and I mean ever, seen!  

Womens Restroom at Soumaya Museum Mexico City

Frankie came out of his respective bathroom saying how nice it was in there and he never says that about any men's bathroom!

While Texas' Buc-ee's convenience store may have many restrooms and be voted best and cleanest in America, they are NOTHING compared to this bathroom at the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City!

And on that note we end our trip to the Soumaya Museum and Restroom.  Up next will be our trip to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I hope you will return to read all about it.

Until then!