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Valentine’s Day Surprises Mexican-Style

DancersOften there’s nothing more to noticing surprising things than to put yourself in a different environment or try something new, or both. Over this holiday weekend in Mexico City, there has been a lot to notice and enjoy, not least because the city is filled with Valentine’s Day celebrations!

Poster on Paseo de la reforma in Chapultepec Park showing drawing by a child

Poster on Paseo de la Reforma in Chapultepec Park showing drawing by a child

So many things to see, and lots of fun things to taste. And great fiestas of sound and dance!  Not rare for the folks in this great town but still full of surprises for the visitor!

Unsurprisingly, the traffic can be a bit overwhelming for the newcomer, as living flows of cabs, people on skateboards and roller skates, bikes, and buses jostle for space down crowded boulevards.

Angel de ReformaThe exquisite way-beyond “state-of-the-art” displays in the Museo de Arte Moderno and the Museo Nacional de Antropologia are full of spell-binding surprises.  Even for the seasoned museum-goer, these museums take one’s breath away!

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Gran hotel ceiling

Stained-glass dome ceiling over the lobby of the Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico

The street life especially around the Zocalo (central plaza) in the Centro Historico is full of diversity–and crowded with people–as bands play on a large stage–in front of the cathedral.  If traversing the streets gets overwhelming, as it did for me, duck into the lobby of the Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico and have a look at its stained glass ceiling; this building was once a department store!

Nearby in the Museo de Diego Rivera is a massive mural by the artist.  It’s something not to miss; it’s breathtaking!  (Reportedly as many as 200 other murals are inside the Department of Education–and usually free to visitors who want to see them–but it’s not open on the weekends.)

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Inside the Museo de Diego Rivera

While the streets were filling to overflowing around the Centro Historica, with seemingly everyone in town out to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the police also were in seemingly full force directing traffic and providing directions.

Prehistoric dogs

Perro “Xoloitzcuintle”, a dog of prehispanic origin which is in danger of extinction, has no hair, lacks some teeth and has sensitive skin.

In nearby Coyoacan, the festivities were similarly joyful and colorful, with newlyweds having photos taken in the park in front of the cathedral… and a lot of dancing going on next to the cathedral!!!  Cobblestone streets and cafes extend from the central park in all directions. When we needed to stop, there was no shortage of places to get a great plate of enchiladas and a cold drink.  Peacock 1And over at the Museo de Dolores Olmedo–a beautiful setting for paintings by Diego Rivero and Frida Kahlo and majestically landscaped parks–the peacocks were in fine form!  As this male peacock trembled his feathers, a soft clicking sound–unlike any other–was audible. Nearby, hairless dogs at risk of extinction–whose line goes back to prehispanic times–played, with their 10 week-old puppies greeting visitors.

Everyone is out enjoying this Valentine’s Day and it’s not over yet!

Valentine's Day in Coyoacan

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Coyoacan on Valentine’s Day!

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Valentine’s Day festivities in Coyoacan

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Mexico City in February

Mexico City in the morning

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