Life + Arts

Culture: Mexico City does it differently

The life in Mexico City is much different than in Houston. All you have to do is to go to the Zócalo on a Sunday afternoon and watch. Thousands of people gather in the main plaza during the weekends, especially on Sundays.

If you’ve ever been to Mexico City, you know what I’m talking about: the street vendors selling jewelry and textiles, the people who offer to clean your spirits with their plants and the incense, the living statues who charge five pesos for each picture and the big crowd listening to a monologue. All of this happens every Sunday afternoon in downtown Mexico City.

As we walked out of the hostel, we witness of all of these events. Some class members begin to buy their first souvenirs, while trying to bargain the price. Others decide go with a ritual to clean their spirits to bring better luck in the future.

The noise of the city, the colorful textiles, the jewelry of the street vendors and the smell from the incense makes the atmosphere different from any other city.

Just a few blocks away from the main plaza, in the Alameda Park, we found hundreds of people dancing salsa.

As we approached the dancers to cross the park, we got asked to join the group and dance, but our busy itinerary left us with little time as we rushed ahead to see Diego Rivera’s mural, “Dreams of a Sunday Afternoon,” located in Alameda Park.

This huge mural expresses the history of Mexico juxtaposed with the background setting of the Alameda Park, much like what we had seen a few minutes ago. The colors and the life within the mural expresses what Mexico City is like during a Sunday afternoon.

Although Rivera finished the mural in 1948, the story that it tells makes it seem as if the fresco was painted only a few hours ago.

Another part of this fascinating city is its food. I’m sure we’ve all tried Tex-Mex in the US, but it’s nothing close to Mexican food. This time we got to try the real deal.

As we walked in the Casa de los Azulejos, a restaurant owned by the richest person in the world, Carlos Slim, the smell of authentic Mexican dishes made our mouths water. Just when we got seated the waitress told us that all margaritas and tequilas were at two for the price of one. We couldn’t help but cheer.

Just as we began to try the margaritas, the food was served. Enchiladas, Tacos, Sopes and Arracheras, were just a few of the plates that laid before our eyes. In no time at all, the plates were empty and our stomachs were full.

Another day we decided to go to Café de Tacuba, a restaurant founded in 1912.

It was originally built in what was once a colonial house, but today it’s host to dozens of diners who enjoy the traditional Mexican food.

This time the Enchiladas Verdes become the favorite plate, not only because of the taste, but also because it’s the traditional plate at Café de Tacuba. A pitcher of their traditional Horchata, or rice water, was a perfect match with the Enchiladas.

For dessert, the Café con Leche is the most favorite among the diners. In this treat, strong dark coffee is served into a glass, and later the server pours the milk into it.

We also share a helping of flan. Its crust makes it stand out among other kinds of flans — and it’s certianly some of the best flan I’ve ever tried.

Unfortunately, we all got some kind of Moctezuma’s Revenge during the whole week. Some were afflicted worst than others, but everyone was a victim.

Regardless, none of us regret eating the delicious food that is not available in Houston.

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