3 Perfect Days: Mexico City – Second Time Around

Seeing Mexico City again and watching Formula1?! That’s checking off 2 bucket list items in one long weekend ! Although visiting Mexico City stays on the list and doesn’t seem to get completely checked off 😁. We knew we would come back and this time we added the Granpremio de Mexico to the agenda. We arrived Thursday night, and stayed as the same hotel we’ve stayed before in Roma Norte. As soon as we stepped out of the cab, we felt the comforting sense of familiarity with the surroundings. We knew exactly where to go for dinner. The race isn’t until Sunday but the entire event started on Friday. We intended to go on Friday so we know where to go on Sunday and be familiar with the place. Good thing we did because it was a looonnnggg walk before we found our gate and on the first practice runs we were on the wrong grandstand. When we found our seats (or so we thought were out seats) and people were seated with the same seat number in their ticket, the first thing I thought of was ‘Great, now I have to complain and explain this in Spanish! How are we going to handle this ? 😀 ‘. We watched the practice runs for some time in that grandstand which was on a straight away part of the race course. The cars zoomed by, fast and loud. It was pretty exciting. I had to admit it was more fun that I thought it would be. We watched several cars go by , our heads swinging from right to left repeatedly and hoping we wouldnt get a stiff neck afterwards. We scouted the grounds, checked out what’s for sale (dang, those F1 tshirts are expensive!), ate lunch and found our correct seats (or we hope they are right this time), and stayed for the second practice rounds. The sound of F1 cars zooming by is so distinct, it’s like a jet just flew by leaving you sensory overload. Our seat is by an S curve on the course so we see the cars approach the curve with their fastest speed then brakes for the curve and speeding away again for another straightaway.

After the second practice run the rain clouds started getting thick so we decided to leave the autodromo and headed for Palacio de Bella’s Artes. We didn’t get to go inside this gorgeous building last time we we’re here. There were amazing murals by Diego Rivera, David Sigueiros, Rufino Tamayo and Jose Orozco.

On Day 2, we visited Sounaya museum and I would say this is a MUST-SEE in Mexico City. This architectural gem is located in the neighborhood of Nuevo Polanco, in the middle of tall buildings claimed by big names like Bayer, Colgate-Palmolive, Nestle, Telcel, and a Saks Fifth Avenue. The museum has an eye catching, curved, shiny geometric exterior that’s definitely worthy of the ‘gram 😁. The inside is just as impressive with it’s mnimimalist design, white floors and white walls and circular ramps. My favorite, aside from the architecture itself, is the Rodin collection on the 6th floor. It’s the most Rodin work I’ve ever seen in one space! (never been to his museum in France) There were also plenty of works by lots of European masters, famous Mexican artists, pre Meso American sculptures and lots religious relics. And oh, did I mention it’s free!

Later that day we went to a Megaprocesion de Las Catrinas which I was really excited to see. Initially I was disappointed when I realized we were in Mexico City the weekend before Dia de Muertos! I thought how can I miss this, I’m here already! Fortunately, this holiday is so big that Mexicans start celebrating it a week before!

La Calavera Catrina (“Elegant Skull”) is a zinc etching popularized by Posada, a Mexican illustrator, and had become an icon of Dia de Muertos. You probably see this image everywhere. La Calavera Catrina depicts a skeleton wearing European-style hat and dressed imitating French/European style while wearing lots of make up. Though this image came from Posada’s etching, the image of La Calavera (skull) has originated from Diego Rivera’s work from the 1940s.

Back to the event. By the time we got to the plaza, the crowd was thick, and the air full of excitement with lots of people dressed up and made up posing for photos. I love it when people actually likes to be photographed! It was a HUGE event! People lined up next to the procession participants were several layers deep, which made it hard to take photos! I practically had to just raise my camera up high, point it downwards and click. The Catrinas were amazing, some really gets so elaborate with the dresses and hats and makeup. You couldn’t wipe the smile out of my face. I was elated! This is why I love going places. I just wished I could get in front of the crowds and take more pictures of the Catrinas in their full outfits but it was just not physically possible.

Later that night we planned on going to a jazz club near the Zocalo which is where the procession will end so we went to the Zocalo earlier to see if we can catch the end of the procession there. Well, it was even more crowded in the Zocalo (and was already raining) and if we force ourselves through that crowd we might not come out alive 😂 . Anyhow, It was an amazing and super cool experience, and so was the jazz at El Zinco !

Day 3, Sunday was THE day, the granpremio de Mexico. Husband could not contain his excitement the moment we woke up . Prepared with umbrella and raincoats, we headed out to the Autodromo, a bit later that we had hoped. Still plenty early for the race but we had hoped to watch the porsche race earlier that morning. You can’t help but feel the excitement in the air as soon as we entered the gates of the Autodromo. There’s loud music blaring, a sea of people wearing F1 gears, red shirts, team shirts, team hats. We settled in our seats and watched the grandstands fill up. There’s so much adrenaline in the crowd, as everyone patiently waits for the race to start. We watched an elaborate performance of Mexican dances on main grandstand (we watched via a big screen), then there’s the parade of the Mexico City notables (I presume), and of course the drivers. As expected, the Mexican driver, Checo Perez was the star of the parade. A helicopter flying the Mexican flag circled in the air and a few military jets flew over as the national anthem commenced. The race started and the grandstand erupted with loud cheers as 20 race cars came to our view, buzzing like a swarm of giant bees. They started all in a cluster and eventually some went ahead some lagged behind but there was this constant zooming sound in front of us, and the grandstand never failed to roar everytime Checo Perez passes by. The race consisted of 71 laps, which seemed a lot but when there’s a constant flow of fast and loud cars zooming right in front of you it doesn’t feel long at all. The race was won by Lewis Hamilton of the Mercedes Benz team, which was not a surprise.

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