Mad about Mexico

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A dozen things to do in Mexico

by BEATRICE S. PAEZ

1. Enjoy a breakfast of lucha libre champions

Even happily married couples can enjoy this deceivingly simple dish swimming in salsa roja and salsa verde. This classic Mexican dish is the perfect cure to awaken those sleepy senses.

Insight: Order a side of chopped chorizos to sprinkle on top.

2. Open your eyes to street art

The beauty of graffiti is that it pops up in the most obscure spots. They leave you wondering the story of how the artist scaled those heights and evaded detection. Mexico has it all: kitschy, edgy, saccharine and funky posts. While zipping through the streets in a car or on foot, keep your eyes on the city’s street canvas.

Insight: Street art enthusiasts should consider hiring a trusted cab driver to drive them through the different neighbourhoods. If piece strikes you, ask the driver to stop and take your shot.

3. Capture playful moments 

This is the quintessential image of Mexico: children playing in public squares. Look up, high above the sky are kites swaying in the late afternoon breeze. Below, glimpse a child playing kickball with friends.

Insight: It’s an extraordinary sight to see children and their parents gathered in the historic Zocalo kites in hand.

4. Enter the temple of Frida Mania 

Staged like an immaculate shrine to the deceased, the Casa Azul can surprisingly be a site for quiet reflection amid the steady throng of tourists. The landscaped compound is scattered with benches, so lean back and forget about those check lists.

Insight: Make a pit stop to the Trotsky Museum. It’s no accident that Leon Trotsky once shared the same streets with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The fallen communist had an affair with Kahlo and even had his own room in the cobalt house, before building a home for his family in the borough.

5. Appreciate local humour

It’s true. Even the undead need protection from the downpour.

6. Gaze at stunning architecture

Witness time leap from the ancient past to the colonial era to the modern day before your eyes.

7. Focus your sights on the details

Take a side strip to San Miguel de Allende, a city five hours outside of Mexico City. Train your eyes on the exquisite details that populate the landscape. The streets of San Miguel de Allende are brimming with colourful embellishments. From residence plates that read “Casa de las Divas” to a strip of wall tiled with cactus designs, there are tons of adornments everywhere you turn.

Insight:  Think about photographing one type of detail and building a mini series for your Instagram feed.

8. Meet local artisans 

Mexicans mix a mean colour palette. They’re unafraid to pile on the colour and come up up with the sickest combinations. Almost every vendor in the town of San Miguel has something different, however slight, on offer.

9. Spice up your life

Blocks of coloured walls sourced from the spice rack paint a charming colony for artists.

10. Revel at the wonders of tin

Who knew scraps of tin could be transformed into an endless assortment of decorative pieces? They stretch your imagination and create an inventive world where pigs and skeletons can fly.

11. Know our (other) neighbour

It’s safe to cross the border, really. Exercise caution and be alert, but the risk is minimal if your main pursuit is to the roam the city or town you visit in search of sights, food and art.

12. Wander the winding side streets

San Miguel is a bit of a maze, with its tangled streets, sloping hills and seemingly similar pastel pink churches. It can be hard to retrace your steps, but don’t panic. Lose yourself in the moment and stroll in and out of the shops. And, when you’re ready, dive back home.

 

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