Out for a walk beside the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading to Nova Scotia around August 1st.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mexico City (day 3)

El Centro. Downtown. On a Sunday, Mexico City's downtown core is PACKED with people. The main avenue running through the central core is closed to traffic and only bicycles, runners, and rollerbladers take over the pavement.

We walked to the Metro station yesterday morning, and it was only five stops before we got to the corner of Hidalgo and Reforma. From there, we started walking towards the main plaza (Zocalo).

Parts of downtown are only open to cyclists and pedestrian traffic on Sundays.

As we walked along, there are many things to see. Mexico City has over 160 museums, ranging from art museums to the museum of Mexican cooking! There are also many old churches in the central core. But Mexico City has a problem. It was built on a lake and the lake was drained way back in the 1600's to prevent flooding. The ground is like a sponge, and Mexico City has been sinking at a rate of several centimetres per year. This has caused many building in the central core to be crooked as one corner of the building sinks more than another.

The fountain is level, and you can see the church in the background is definitely NOT level.

From inside the church, you can feel how crooked the floor is.

Ruth, outside the concave entrance to another church.

As we got closer to the central Zocalo, the first huge building we saw was the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the huge arts center. The lobby was busy and we were allowed in, but there were various performances going on and we couldn't see any more of the interior. They have a fancy restaurant in there, and we were surprised that food prices were reasonable, but it was 35 pesos ($2.80) for an "American" style coffee!

The Palacio de Bellas Artes.

We made it through the crowds to the central square. The Zocalo is just a big empty space with a huge Mexican flag in the center of it. And lots of people! Of course the monstrous cathedral is on one side. We were there just before noon, and Sunday mass starts at noon so it was starting to fill up with church goers.

The huge organ in the cathedral.

The central core was built by the Spanish in the 1500's. It was built on top of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. More on this another day, but they have excavated areas beneath the church that show some of the old infrastructure of the Aztec city. Amazing stuff.

On another side of the plaza is the Palacio National, the main government offices of the President and the Federal Treasury. They have a really good free tour of this building, and an impressive museum display of articles on loan from Spain. No interior photography allowed, so you'll have to visit yourself!

The government building. The crowds grew as the afternoon went on.

One of the many Diego Rivera murals inside the government palace.

After visiting the government palace we started making our way back. But there is so much going on it took us a while. Just watching the people and the various buskers and streetside entertainment was amazing. 

This street is only open to pedestrians.

Some kind of aboriginal dance display.

Okay, so this was funny.... we see a crowd gathered around a couple of clowns so we go over to watch. Even though we only understood half of it, it was easy to tell that these two guy were hilarious. There was a fair bit of audience interaction, and of course they eventually picked on the tall gringo standing in the back with the red baseball hat. But then they dragged Ruth into the entertainment...

He even stole a kiss out of the deal!

After they were done with us, they moved a couple of people out of the prime seats and sat us down there! I guess that was our payment for being good sports. But they continued to pick on other people as well, so it wasn't only us. They were too funny.

We made it back to Adrians after stopping at a grocery store. Ruth bought all the ingredients to make a stir fry and we stayed in to eat. Adrian had a copy of the Godfather trilogy so we watched part 2 last night.

My favorite photo of the day was this little guy. He was just too cute, and I love how this photo turned out!


  1. You need to find this Sanborn's restaurant in the downtown area (I want to say it is near Bellas Artes), called Los Azulejos. It is an historic location and meetings were held there more than 200 years ago. The second story actually leans and you sit crooked while having your coffee. Check it out:


  2. A wonderful day in DF. Love all your photos, especially the puppy. Great idea to use the fountain to depict the sinking of the church. When I was at the Zocalo there was a huge NAFTA protest and the square was surrounded by police who asked us to leave the area for safety. Went back the next day to enjoy it peacefully!

  3. All of these pictures are wonderful but I also like the one of the dog. It is definitely a prize winner!

  4. Another interesting tour of the city and getting involved with the action, makes for great memories. I agree the puppy picture is priceless.

  5. what a great day you had!..love the smile on Ruth's face!!..and the puppy picture too!

  6. So did Ruth even know what the heck the guy was saying?
    I've been hauled in by buskers before. It's a mixed blessing. Sucks to be just that much taller than everyone around you.

    1. For the most part yes, I understood what they were saying while I was up there. They sure had a fun time trying to embarrass me.

  7. Of course they would pick the gringa. Good for you for joining in the fun! Don't you wish you could have known what they were saying??

    That is a precious dog and what a look. Great picture!!

    1. While I was up there with them, I did understood the majority of the conversation, it was some of the other parts of the show that we didn't always get. Had a great time up there with them!

  8. Great post Kevin! Thanks - I'm really enjoying the pics of Mexico City! Can't wait for the next post!

  9. Love the picture of Ruth what a good sport

  10. Great header shot ... looks like Ruth is having a lot of fun. I got pulled into a folklore show ... in hindsight, it was fun ... at the time ... I was so embarrassed.

  11. I really enjoyed your post!
    My company is planning to send me to Mexico City next week (keeping my fingers crossed they won't cancel it). I have two weeks and I hope they won't force me to work on weekend so that I can visit these beautiful places you mentioned here.


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