A Second Chance in CDMX

A year ago when we left for Mexico the first time, we had planned to stay a year…spending around 6 months in Mexico City, then 6 months in a different part of the country to experience the different worlds of Mexico.  Of course, the journey was interrupted by Mexico’s quakes in September, landing us back stateside.  But we had already made our bookings for Mérida for two months in the spring.  Ever since I had arrived in the states in late September, I couldn’t wait to get back to Mexico…I mean I really hadn’t even given it a proper goodbye.

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The famous House of Tiles

So, though we had planned for spring in the Yucatán, it was important for me to revisit our old stomping grounds for a little bit of closure…and so we started our journey February 1st in Mexico City.  With only seven days, we set out to see and experience the many things we had planned to do, but never did…plus many things we had simply fallen in love with during our time there last year.

Going into our travels, I was nervous.  Truly, I didn’t feel resolved in my separation from Mexico City…and yet I was still (and will be for a long time) processing the trauma of the earthquakes, abrupt and unexpected uprooting, and cultural dissonance.  Frankly, I was worrying all throughout our planning process that we might end up in another earthquake in our only week-long stay.

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Palacio de Bellas Artes…a favorite then and now

For obvious reasons, I tried to research our lodgings as much as possible, with the goal in mind to still be close to the things that we loved.  Roma Norte was out of the question as the association there was just too difficult for me to consider being immersed in.  Condesa too, brought back too many memories I hadn’t properly catalogued in my brain.

fullsizeoutput_1494I ended up finding a charming apartment in centro.  I mean, really, centro isn’t a whole lot better off…still in a vulnerable place for earthquakes and with many old buildings.  But, in talking with AirBNB hosts, I felt comfortable being on only the 1st floor (in the US, this would be the second floor, since Planta Baja, or Lower Level, is the first floor in Mexico), and also knowing the owners reported no damages to the building during the September quakes.  Emotionally, we hadn’t spent a whole lot of time in centro, besides visiting major attractions.  So, I felt I could separate from the past a bit and just enjoy the experience.

I was right in many ways.  For one, spending a lot more time in centro gave me a completely new sense of the city.  Chaotic for sure, but equally charming, entertaining, and simply curious is the city center.  Many things we had done before, such as stroll the zócalo and Parque Alameda, we could do again, but at different times of day revealing new beats of energy.

fullsizeoutput_2152Our loft was certainly not too shabby (I loved it!).  A sleeping space rose over the living area, which included a small sleep space tucked behind the wall.  With tall ceilings, and a quaint dining area opening to the lush courtyard, morning coffee (and teaching) was quite enchanting.

fullsizeoutput_215a  Our kitchen was small, but that didn’t matter, since we went on an eating-out binger in search of as many foods as we could try or retry in Mexico City in our limited time there.  Overall, this was a perfect AirBNB for a short-term stay in Mexico City, and I would recommend it highly—though we did feel a little nervous to discover so many locks to unlock on our way down the stairs.  A little fear did strike at the idea of getting out in a sismo, but other than that, a perfect stay at the Centro Historico Loft.

Seven days wasn’t, and never will be enough time, to take in Mexico City.  Seven years wouldn’t be enough, but it was a nice period to have a well-rounded adventure.

During our time, we visited our favorite flea market in the world,

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Lagunilla Sunday Flea Market

enjoyed several museum exhibits,

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“Nacimiento,” an exhibition of nativity scenes, hosted by the beautiful Museo Palacio Cultural

and discovered gems new to us, tucked away allover the city center.

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La Casa de Las Sirenas
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Strolling quaint streets in Roma Norte

We also spent an entire day walking around our old neighborhoods in Roma and Condesa, taking stock of loss and memories, and even joining up with old friends for a SuperBowl Sunday party at one of our favorite bars.

Somehow, we even managed to take a day trip out of the city to the Tepotzlán Pueblo Mágico, which surprised me with its splendor and quickly became one of my favorite destinations during our three-month jaunt.

What was most daunting to me was the reality of my status as a short-term tourist and the resolution that came to me that I was ready to move on.  Funny how that happens as it needs to…and yet after all my travels around Mexico in the past few months, I have allowed myself to recognize that indeed Mexico City is still my first love and though I can move on from my past with it, I am eager to create a new relationship with it in my future.

More to come on some of my favorite spots in and around Mexico City soon…