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Blogs from: Mexico City

Chickens For You – Merced Market – Mexico City, Mexico

 

Photo of the Day – Chickens For You – Merced Market – Mexico City, Mexico

For those of you following along, you’ll probably take notice that this is the second time (here is the first) I’ve posted a picture of dangling chickens from the Merced Market in Mexico City. Why such an obsession with the chickens? I don’t know really.

When I look at this image I just can’t help but smile and laugh about how preposterous this scene would be in the middle of America. People in the US would walk swiftly out of any market that featured full bodied, raw chickens dangling from the ceiling. We’re all into this trendy, natural and organic thing, but god forbid anyone actually sees their food in its natural form :)

Chickens For You - Merced Market - Mexico City, Mexico
 

Deserted Ancient Pyramids – Teotihuacan – Mexico City

 

Photo of the Day – Deserted Ancient Pyramids – Teotihuacan – Mexico City

We arrived into Mexico City off of a redeye flight from San Francisco back in June. Still recovering from the short night of rest at 30,000 feet, we jumped into a car and headed 30 miles north of Mexico City to the famous Pyramids of Teotihuacan.

When we arrived we were excited to see that our car was the only one in the parking lot next to the entrance. For the next hour we walked around this archaeological masterpiece undisturbed as nobody else, including the large tourist buses, were up that early in the morning.

Crowds definitely have an impact on your experience when you visit ancient ruins. It is much easier for you to create images in your head of what life was like thousands of years ago in these parts when you aren’t distracted with other tourists everywhere you turn. When you have the opportunity, you should always aim to be the very first person to arrive in the morning at whatever site you are looking to explore.

Deserted Ancient Pyramids - Teotihuacan - Mexico City
 

Red Hot Chili Peppers at Merced Market – Mexico City, Mexico

 

Photo of the Day – Red Hot Chili Peppers at Merced Market – Mexico City, Mexico

That’s right, Red Hot Chili Peppers live in Mexico City’s Merced Market. Actually that’s not true at all. These chilis are dead and dried and have never rocked out with ‘Californication’ or strummed classic anthems like ‘Under the Bridge’.

Regardless, the endless stacks and sacks of dried Chili’s in Mexico City’s markets was legit. These chili’s are used to make Mexico’s famous moles, chilaquiles, chilates.

Red Hot Chili Peppers at Merced Market - Mexico City, Mexico
 

Mexican Pedestrian Calle – Mexico City, Mexico

 

Photo of the Day – Mexican Pedestrian Calle – Mexico City, Mexico

On a recent trip to Mexico City, we leisurely strolled around the city on our way to check out the famous and massive historical square – Plaza de la Constitución (El Zócalo). Along the way we found large boulevards closed to allow for families to ride bicycles and many pedestrian only streets like the one you see in this photo. Of course this is all in stark contrast to the perception created by the American media that there is a drug war going on across Mexico rendering the entire country unsafe for travel.

Mexican Pedestrian Calle - Mexico City, Mexico
 

Female Butcher at Merced Market – Mexico City, Mexico

 

Photo of the Day – Female Butcher at Merced Market – Mexico City, Mexico

Wandering the tightly gridded alleys of Merced Market in Mexico City will open your eyes, ears, and nose to many things you have never seen, heard or smelled before. As we meandered through piles of animals for sale, I noticed that within this industry there was naturally more men than women in the market selling goods. Men were the one’s slicing, dicing, and yelling out their deals of the day to customers walking by.

However, as we approached the stall you see today, the first thing that I noticed was that this butcher was a woman. Her shop in particular sold many of the more “aggressive meats” such as cow brain, cow tongue, small intestines, large intestines, stomach, hooves, and other parts of animals that are extremely non-traditional in the US.

Regardless, it was clear she knew what she was doing as she bagged up a large portion of small intestines, weighed them out, collected the cash and literally tossed the bag of intestines down to the purchasing customer. So, kudos to this señora for holding her own in a place that even had Brad and I feeling queasy.

Female Butcher at Merced Market - Mexico City, Mexico
 

Pinata Heaven at Merced Market – Mexico City, Mexico

 

Photo of the Day – Pinata Heaven at Merced Market – Mexico City, Mexico

While on our way out of Merced Market and actually trying to find out way to a nearby Taco stand, Brad and I got a little lost in the midst of these massive markets, but found this incredible area with tons of pinatas! The size, style and incredibly vibrant color of these pinatas made us smile. I can only imagine the feeling that a kid would have if one of these pinatas was delivered to their birthday.

Pinata Heaven at Merced Market - Mexico City, Mexico
 

Merced Market Thumbs Up – Mexico City, Mexico

 

Photo of the Day – Merced Market Thumbs Up – Mexico City

The Merced Market in Mexico City is an adventure travelers urban dream. Not only is is stocked full of animal parts that most have never laid eyes on before, but it also has an interactive audience that is either haggling you with shouts of “take my picture” or is telling you “don’t take a picture of me.” Either way, the market workers were enthralled not only with the 2 gringos (Brad and I) wandering the market, but also our cameras. Having this type of attention is not really what we like as it creates an uneasy feeling as you are trying to take it all in. After being warned by one local to “be careful with the cameras,” we realized that this may not have been the best of ideas.

Fortunately, we made it through just find and came away with several incredible pictures like today’s. Clearly in the photo, the workers here were asking for their photo to be taken and I captured them starring into the camera with the various meats for sale all around them.

Merced Market Thumbs Up - Mexico City
 

A Weeping Hot Air Sunrise – Teotihuacan, Mexico

 

Photo of the Day – A Weeping Hot Air Sunrise – Teotihuacan, Mexico

As we walked the perimeter of the Temple of the Sun at Teotihuacan, I was drawn away from the pyramid and toward this tree as its silhouette fascinated me against the new day. There were dozens of groups taking hot-air balloon rides over the Teotihucan area and I captured a few of them here as well. But at the end of it all, this photo really has little to nothing to do with Teotihuacan. It is simply a beautiful view.

A Weeping Hot Air Sunrise - Teotihuacan, Mexico
 

Teotihuacan Trinket Man – Mexico City, Mexico

 

Photo of the Day – Teotihuacan Trinket Man – Mexico City, Mexico

One constant across all of the famous tourist sites around the world are the people trying to sell cheap trinkets to the horde of visitors passing through. A few weeks back in Mexico City I walked past this friendly man while exploring the ancient Teotihuacan pyramids. For the cost of a simple thumbs up and a curious smile I got this guy to put on his best National Geographic pose and a deep stare down my long lens barrel. Perhaps the most interesting part of this picture to me is that this guy is so casually wearing a New England Patriots coat!

Teotihuacan Trinket Man - Mexico City, Mexico
 

The Myth of Mexico – Mexico City, Mexico

 

Photo of the Day – Torre del Caballito – Mexico City, Mexico

I took this photo yesterday during a morning stroll along the Paseo de Reforma in Mexico City. And although at first it may look like a boring picture displaying a “regular” building with a nice fountain in front of it, that is not the point of this photo. The reason I chose this picture is to show that despite the negative perception painted by American media outlets, Mexico City is a fascinating and safe city to explore.

With the constant bombardment of negative news from American media outlets, all of Mexico has been painted as a drug controlled land of complete chaos – a modern day wild-wild West. And because of this, tourism in the interior of Mexico is nearly non-existent, especially from Americans.

What Brad and I found in Mexico City was nothing short of a bustling modern city with the amenities, luxuries, and conveniences you would expect to find.

Paseo de Reforma is a massive avenue designed and constructed in a very similar style to that of Champs Elysee’s. This avenue is laden with traffic circles donning monuments and statues representing Mexico’s history. As Brad and I walked this street on Sunday morning it provided a extreme sense of relaxation, family, and peace.

After strolling the Paseo de Reforma, we walked a couple miles towards the famous Downtown Mexico district called Zocalo. The pedestrian streets, shops, and taco stands all giving a sense of community and “regular “ city life rather than a chilling, death fearing feeling.

Next, we were off to the largest market in Mexico City, La Merced. Although not advised by the concierge, tour guide or locals, we found what Brad and I believe to be the best market we have been to in the entire world. Although quite a bit more gritty, we were never threatened and never felt unsafe.

To top it off, we rode the Mexico Subway twice to work our way back to our hotel. Just as expected by this time of our trip – the Metro was convenient, cheap and safe.

I am not trying to say that there are not pockets of poverty and crime in Mexico City, but I wouldn’t argue that these don’t exist in LA, Chicago or New York either. Give Mexico City a chance – otherwise you’ll never know.

Isn’t exploring and maintaining a child-like curiosity of the world what travel is all about?

Torre del Caballito - Mexico City, Mexico
 
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