Our Holiday Trip to Mexico City: Part I

Date of trip: December 24, 2018 - January 2, 2019

Every time we explore places unimaginably massive, larger than life, I face what feels like a daunting task of articulating everything learned and everything seen. From the politics and history, to food–there’s no synopsis here, regardless of my regret for lacking as much. We have moments, though. Snapshots and glimpses to share. Like the moments in seemingly insignificant places, where faces and scenes of daily life unfold, so unlike our own but all the same–it’s those memories we ache to memorize every detail. Mexico was a trip full of these fleeting moments.

Hoping to keep from making the same mistakes as we did in Rio, we fiercely planned for this trip, attempting to make every day meaningful and unwasted. Ensuring that we were surrounded by others, experiencing something for the first time with a common language, we booked tours through Airbnb. We biked around different neighborhoods sampling tacos, caught dinner, drinks and a show of Lucha Libre, and followed a local through neighborhood markets, big and small, sampling the best Mexican food, even a cricket or two!

We kept busy. We made friends. We celebrated a stranger’s birthday. For a week, we lived among hard working, passionate, beautiful families celebrating the holidays. For a week, we lived among poverty, taking shape in small hands reaching out for loose coins. While shocking, we knew we hadn’t seen anything compared to what lie beyond the boundaries we were told not to cross. I felt guilty pointing my lens at others, no matter their state of affair. I won’t speak for Chris, but my photos demonstrate a restraint, which I regret slightly. Despite believing our tours would lead to more deliberate, fearless photo opportunities, we took fewer pictures than ever before–not for a lack of inspiration, but perhaps because this was the most socially engaging trip to date.

As for the city herself, what can we say? Life lives on the streets in Mexico City. It’s in the silhouettes twirling to salsa music on the street, lit from the light of a cantina. A ring of others watching, singing, cheering. It’s young mothers holding infants to their chests as they sit atop overturned buckets, selling hand woven purses, hats, and table cloths. It’s the food vendor screwing a lightbulb in the cable strung above his food stand, perpetually packing and unpacking his traveling kitchen, his means of living. It’s the wrinkled, toothless grin and a wave from an elderly woman across the street. The city, in her tired beauty, ebbs and flows with the turn of the sun. In Mexico City, it’s hard to miss the grime, the heartbreak, and crumbling infrastructure. But you’d have to be crazy to miss the embrace of it all.

Trip Itinerary

  • Day 1: Christmas Eve, 7pm arrival – Eat at La Casa de Toño
  • Day 2: Christmas Day – Breakfast at Café Toscano, walk around Roma Norte & Chapultepec Park, Museo Nacional de Antropología, dinner at Mercado Roma, drinks at Gin Gin, end at Zocalo Square for Christmas lights and celebrations
  • Day 3: Chapultepec Castle, bike tour around Roma Norte/La Condesa/Polanco, dinner at ABORIGEN, drinks at Licorería Limantour & Escollo Brewery
  • Day 4: Explore Centro (Palacio de Bellas Artes, House of Tiles, Museo Postal), lunch at Café de Tacuba, dinner at Azul Condesa, drinks at Wallace Whiskey Bar & Hanky Panky Speakeasy 
  • Day 5: Morning: Food tour – Doctores & Mercado Jamaica, Evening: Tacos & Lucha Libre tour

Day 1

Craig drove us to the airport on our morning out of Saint Paul. We were grateful for the ride, and exchanged Christmas presents in the car with Henrik. In its entirety, the trip to Mexico City would take about as long as a tiring nine to five. We finally left US soil around 4pm–but not before sitting on the Texas tarmac and waiting for our plane to be inspected after a previous flights “bird strike.”

Mexico City’s customs was a small headache, in the scheme of things, awaiting us with long lines and a shortage of customs forms. I tried switching lines once, puffing out my chest in frustration only to get a silent wave of a finger and compliantly moving back to my standstill of a line. Fortunately, fetching our Uber was slick. Orlando, our driver, sped along in a coordinated swarm of ubers and taxis, taking turns aggressively taking over each other’s lanes. Past the blurred tops of taxis were neighborhood streets reminiscent of Rio De Janeiro, dark and deserted but festive with colorful lights strung across windows and rooftops. The occasional Christmas tree and Santa lit in windows. It was Christmas Eve, after all.

When we arrived to our Airbnb, our host let us through the heavy streetside door with a reserved and timid greeting. He led us up a short but wide stairwell to his dimly lit apartment. The TV had been playing an American football game and Ivan turned it off. The apartment smelled a bit of city water. He quickly wished us well before leaving. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t slightly disappointed in our accommodations. We were left one bath towel, a few rolls of toilet paper, and a bed that felt more like a boxspring. It felt cold and lifeless in the apartment. I was instantly homesick, and regretted our attempts to save money on a cheaper stay.

With hunger lingering, we moved on to finding the one place I had found open (via previous research) on Christmas Eve. We set out on foot, and soon felt the unease creep in. The streets were truly dead silent and deserted. The ground was littered more than I had naively anticipated. And cop cars, it appeared, sat on every corner, their red and blue lights flashing, though their sirens silent. After the 10 minute walk, we entered a bright dining room full of people. It appeared we weren’t the only hungry tourists in the city. We were given a paper menu and pens to check what items we wanted to order. We struggled. “I have no idea how much food we just ordered,” I said. When it came–the soup, enchiladas, guacamole, flourtas, pork quesadillas and line of salsas–we looked like we were eating for four. We scarfed, even shamefully turning away the quesadillas as if we hadn’t ordered them (not a fine moment). In the end, we only wasted the soup and an enchilada. We laughed (kind of).

That night we made it until midnight on the bed before moving to the smaller but softer futon in the living room. It took a lot to swallow the disappointment and taste the appreciation for a safe, sheltered spot to sleep. We wised up an hour later and put on our eye masks and ear plugs, as the city was just loud enough to break through the silence.

Day 2

It was Christmas Day. We knew much would still be closed and families would be gathered around their kitchen tables. It left the streets empty for us to roam. The air was so warm and hazy in the morning sun. Or pollution? Nothing mattered. It was light out now, and it was a new day.

We walked south through Roma Norte until we reached Cafe Toscano–a chain restaurant as it turns out, but a quaint one at that–that sits on the corner of a forested, green square. We sat at a round, white marble table, looking out of the sliding glass doors as the sun beams cut through the trees. With farmhouse decor, beautiful wood detailing, and a coffee bar, Cafe Toscano felt like something out of HGTV. A waitress brought over a basket of baked goods for us to choose from, to which Chris obliged. After ordering glorious french toast with berries and a breakfast tostada, we spent the meal trying to memorize some basic phrases in Spanish, whispering to each other and feeling like idiots for looking blankly at our kind-eyed waitress and asking, “Que?”

I felt guarded about looking like a tourist so soon in the day, so soon in the trip. Though, no one was around to judge me, except the occasional dog owner, strolling a bit behind their unleashed, assumingely well-trained dogs. A boston terrier approached me–the Universe’s sign, surely, to tell me to chill the fuck out.  We walked due west, past more green squares, fountains, wrought iron benches, and closed store fronts, to the Central Park of Mexico City–Chapultepec.

From sleepy side streets to the bustling intersections surrounding the park, we were suddenly surrounded by families on families on families, entering the park together. It was a holiday, after all! As we entered the park and started along the wide path alongside the families, vendors bombarded us from all sides, shouting their goods to the world–cotton candy, juice, toys, shoes, candy, hats, face painting, shaved ice–you name it.

It was then that I saw the first baby. She sat perched atop grandpa’s shoulders, who caught me drooling over her and gave me a slight smile. Her glowing golden skin, chunky chubby cheeks, and big brown eyes–WHAT?!

The sun got warmer and warmer as he headed to the one museum open on holidays–the Anthropology Museum. We sat on a stone bench near the entrance shaded from the palm trees overhead. Chris handed me his cell phone. We had gotten a text from my father that grandpa, who had been very ill for months had slipped into a coma and passed that morning. And as it goes, we took a long silence to ourselves. I couldn’t cry, knowing that grandpa needed peace and had finally found it. I found contentment knowing my family was already gathered–eating, sharing gifts, and hopefully finding the comfort that comes with sharing space and grief.

In good time, we toured the anthropology museum, unable to really grasp the totality of Mexican history, as all of the plaques were printed in Spanish. We enjoyed it all the same and afterwards, as we walked through the park, came across a crowd of people and someone playing a flute. Everyone was looking to the sky. We followed their gaze and saw four people suspended upside down and spinning around a tall pole. The man playing the flute stood atop the pole, and was drumming as well?! I don’t even know. The dancers spun around the pole, lowering themselves slowly. The ceremony is called Voladores de Papantla, an “intangible world heritage ritual.”

As the dancers finally reached the ground, the music stopped. An elderly woman started selling food nearby and a man stood up and started making bubbles for the children. The crowd sat still in a trance, smiling gently at the children, basking in the last of the evenings warm sun. We reluctantly walked away, strolled through the wooded park, past a party of off-leash dogs (they were friendly) and Ubered to food.

From my research, I knew we would find open stalls at Mercado Roma, a hip market similar to Avante in Denver, or Box Cart in London. We ordered the juiciest, cheesiest, tastiest burritos from a stall there and sat among the crowd at a wooden farm table underneath a massive skylight and a wall of greenery. It didn’t suck.

That night we rested, grabbed some expensive but refreshing drinks at Gin Gin, another cool place in the neighborhood, and Ubered eventually to the famous Zocalo square, where it seemed everyone in the city was celebrating Christmas. The surrounding buildings were lit from a grand display of lights and inside the dark square, families sold or bought toys and food and like I said, you name it. We strolled through the families, bought a cup of elote (Mexican street corn) and after getting our fill of crowds, walked as far as we could out of the chaos and Ubered home.

We had a newfound love for the city, and couldn’t wait for more.

Day 3

We were biking through Condesa, one by one, crossing the wide intersection and trying not to lose each other as the late afternoon sun created shadows on the pavement. My belly was full from delicious tacos and we had FINALLY made acquaintances with fun, normal people–teachers, no less. Were we peaking too soon?! This was going to be the best day of the whole fucking trip, I thought.

In retrospect, it was. It was one of them. That morning we had scootered to Chapultepec, climbed the path to the top of the hill, and toured the castle, the only royal castle in the Americas. We easily could have spent another hour in the castle–but we had bikes to mount and tacos to eat.

We gathered awkwardly at the address given by the Airbnb hosts, speaking quiet pleasantries to ourselves, and waiting for the tour guide to make themselves known. As the crowd grew larger, a petite woman with short hair and a helmet introduced herself as Melissa and directed us to retrieve a viable bike and helmet from the parking garage.

Melissa explained they had overbooked, with 20 or so people and that we’d be splitting into two groups. Chris was busy trying to find a comfortable bike as I eyed the others down, wondering (1) who was a goof and (2) who spoke English. We wanted Melissa’s group, and split off from the others as we rode off on our bikes.

We shouted behind our backs to the others, familiarizing ourselves with our new bike crew. A couple from Denver. A tour guide who loved concerts and anything wild. A great start. Our first stop was Molino el Pujol, where renowned Mexican chef Enrique Olvera’s tortilleria mills homemade corn tortillas for its more famous parent, Pujol, while offering a small menu of corn goods. We had a beautiful little taco–sliced avocado in a blue corn tortilla–and this is where I needed to google–pressed with hoja santa, a large herby leaf popular in Mesoamerica. Melissa handed us a tiny cup of agua de maiz, basically a warm water drink with maiz and lemon. Chris did not care for it.

After we set off again, biking through the tree lined neighborhood leading to Chapultepec, Chris noticed he had a flat tire. Melissa led us into the park where we stopped on a broad boulevard lined with benches. Chris and Melissa entered a nearby bike repair shop within the park, as I took the perfect opportunity to chat with our tour mates. Another couple was from New York. The Denver couple both worked in public schools. Two of the four had been or were special education teachers (my heart)!

When Chris and Melissa returned, we biked through the busy park, stopping to take a group photo by the lake. As we neared our next taco stop, Chris noticed his same tire was flat AGAIN. By this time, we were in Polanco, at a hole-in-the-wall taqueria with juicy, pork tacos. Melissa ditched Chris’ pitiful bike at a shop across the street, and she and him coordinated plans for him to ride a city scooter. Chris went from sweating bullets, powering a mile or more through uneven city streets with a completely flat tire, to riding easy atop an electric scooter. He deserved it.

We stopped twice more for tacos. My favorite taco was a vegetarian quesadilla. A yellow corn tortilla  with roasted corn smelt (corn fungi), which tasted like garlic and onions, folded in gooey Mexican cheese, and topped with a homemade white salsa with a bite of spice. It was one of the best things I ate the entire trip.

In a city as large and congested as Mexico City, arguably with the worst traffic, it’s not enough to rely on Ubers or walking to see what you want to see. Biking, though dangerous at times, was the perfect means for us to see so much more. Separated from the driving lanes by rounded curbs, wide bike lanes line many of the main roads. I did not always feel safe, and continued to look back to make sure others were safely crossing intersections. But in all, being a part of a tour eased my worries, as I had some comfort in the fact that we had Melissa guiding us.

At the end of the tour, we returned our bikes, sipped a complimentary mezcal at a Cuban cantina, and laughed at the highlights of the day–dodging crowds of pedestrians in the park and hearing Jessica, very seriously say, “This isn’t ideal,” our jiggling cheeks as we biked over the bumpy cobblestone within the park, and poor Chris, huffing and puffing with all his might on a dead tire, threatening to break the bike itself.

Melissa reimbursed Chris for the money he spent renting the city scooter, and we laughed with her (a little) at the many moments her heart dropped on account of Chris. As the mariachi played, Jessica forced Zhi to salsa. We retired soon after to rest, but not before making plans to see our newly made friends later in the day.

We made fruitless attempts to nap despite the repeated and loud sounds of someone seeming to chisel through rock in the apartment below us. “Fuck this.” We got up and met up with Angela and Joe at a tiny cafe. It had just two tables inside and a few on the pavement. We caught up on our travels around the world, suggesting to each other where we should visit next. After some drinks and pizzas, we walked through the lamp lit streets to their reservation at Licorería Limantour, supposedly the 11th best bar in the world.

Our giggles got louder and less restrained. Joe ordered a whiskey drink with a tiny clothespin holding a tiny piece of “paper” to the side of his small, square mug. We spent a long while laughing and asking ourselves, “but, what IS it?” It turned out to be a wafer. And Joe ate it. Afterwards we walked to Escollo brewery, ordered a large flight of a dozen beers, and moved on to topics of conversation such as Netflix and *legal pot smoking. It was a good day.

Day 4

Our next day took on more of a free form than the previous, planned days. We spent our time exploring the historic center of the city. The only problem was that everyone else was, too. We learned eventually that this was one of the busiest times of the year, as families were on vacation and spending it with their families, and apparently in the city center.

We rented scooters near our Airbnb in Roma Norte and traveled north to a block where people live and die selling everything from freezers, cameras, light fixtures, suitcases, and hangers. It was warmer out than it had been the past two days. We were about to sweat.

The House of Tiles was too busy for breakfast so we snapped some photos and grabbed handheld snacks from a cafe next door.

Then, we toured around the ground floor of the grand Palace of Ballet, trying to get upstairs to see the famous murals but not willing to stand in the long line for a ticket.

What were we do to? Eat again. We snagged a corner table on the top level of Cafe de Tacuba, a historic establishment that serves tourists like us.

Just as we were about to eat our tamales and cheesy enchiladas, Chris fell ill. He also didn’t like the purple mezcal drink the waiter had brought us. I carried the burden of chugging the delicious drinks myself, and we packed our food to go (which, we eventually gave to a homeless man).

At this point in the day, the streets were very crowded. The sun was hot. I had to pee. We kept turning down the wrong street, full of sidewalk merchants and crowds of people shopping.

It was so insane Chris started taking a video on his phone but was told by some guy, “No puedo!” Cars tried getting through the single lane, cobblestone street. I was ready to scream. We found a quick reprieve inside the gorgeous architecture of the postal building and then the Former College of San Ildefonso, where we wanted to see the architecture.

We walked through my heaven–a long street lined with bookstores. But I never did find my coffee table book.

Happily, we Ubered home and found a neighborhood coffee shop called Praga 29 to write about the trip thus far.

Based on Melissa’s recommendation, we dined at Azul Condesa where I could get some delicious mole.

Chris still wasn’t feeling the best and afterward dinner, we sat in the neighboring park and relaxed, watching people walking their dogs. We sat there, content and happy for the calm, until we decided the only thing to fix Chris was some whiskey. We walked to the nearby Wallace Whiskey Bar and couldn’t believe our luck. The bar was candle lit and sprawling, with a staircase that led to different furnished rooms, nooks and crannies. It even had a pool table somewhere upstairs. We drank a whiskey. And then another.

The night turned, as we went from considering bed at the dinner table, to ordering whiskeys and agreeing to a finding a speakeasy across town. Jessica and Zhi had snagged a hallowed reservation at the hidden speakeasy, Hanky Panky, through the host of their mezcal tasting.

We entered the speakeasy through the kitchen of a small restaurant and at the end of the night left the speakeasy through a door disguised as a cooler full of beer. If you’re wondering where to find this place, our lips are sealed.

Day 5

The Uber was playing Katy Perry’s firework. It was late morning and we were on our way to the city center to meet a tour group. I was particularly excited for today’s tour, for the opportunity to tour a Mexican market with a guide to tell us what to eat and to take us through uncharted territories.

Our tour guide, Ben, was a food blogger who once lived in Ohio and Brooklyn, and had moved back to Mexico to start tours. Ironically, the rest of our group–minus Yan from China–was from the midwest, a couple from South Minneapolis and Chicago. Ben gave us a warm welcome and we knew we would be in good hands for the day.

Ben took us through the metro (our first ride) to a neighborhood just south of the city center, where he showed us a map of the subway system. Mexico City’s subway system, once the largest in the world, carries some 25 million patrons daily. He said it was a clean system but should be avoided during rush hour (8-10am and 6-8 pm).

Ben then led us through a friendly-ass neighborhood to a hoppin taco joint. He said his favorite taco was the carnita–which is any and all pig parts, fried in it’s own fat, and chopped to tiny bits. He showed us to top the taco with glorious green salsa made with avocado, and raw onions. We forgot to take photos, they were gone too soon! Ben gave us a lime juice drink with chia seeds to wash it all down.

It was a fresh feeling to be out of the congested city. We followed Ben through the residential neighborhood full of the daily moments I die for. Yan was trigger happy and I, too, fell behind the group to take photos of the neighborhood. And the people! They smiled, waved, and said, “Ohhh, Americano.” I spotted an elderly woman across the street. At that moment, a pole obscured our sights of one another. The old woman leaned sideways to catch a glimpse of me, gave me a wave with a wide, toothless grin. I almost cried.

As we neared the market, the sidewalks became crowded with families huddled on short red stools around a sizzling griddle of meat, covered by red tarps. Two small children sat atop crates embracing each other and watching a moving phone screen. A shoe shiner smiled wide at my camera and threw his hands in the air, as if to ask where his photo was. Per usual, I had missed my opportunity but pointed my lens at him, took a shot from afar, and waved goodbye.

Under the colorful streamers of a ceiling of piñatas, Ben explained their significance–once only used during Christmas, piñatas are now used for any and all celebrations. The classic shape is the star.

Ben stopped to buy a bag of grasshoppers or crickets. The vendor squeezed a bottle of hot sauce over the bag of bugs before handing the bag to Ben. The others were boldly taking their pick, looking quickly at the bug, and popping them in their mouths. They even went back for seconds! Chris, Yan, and I eyed the baggy. I just COULDN’T. But I waffled back and forth. Could I get over it, swallow it down, and be famous in my own sights for doing the impossible?! The prospect was golden. Until I looked back into the bag. They were huge, with many legs and…sections. I COULDN’T. And then Yan, fighting the same internal battle, suggested we do it together. And like small children, unwilling to jump unless holding hands, we found the smallest cricket we could, and washed them down with lime juice. It tasted like crunchy, toasted dirt. I looked back and Chris had recorded none. of. it. He suggested I just do it again, to which I told him to fuck off unless he was able to do it with me (but he just COULDN’T).

Through the market, Ben had us try two new types of fruits–one that looked like a kiwi-pear with great flavor but terrible texture, and another that was like the child of an avocado, mango, and sweet potato. No, thanks. I sure felt like a jerk saying, “Lo siento,” and giving it back to the vendor to toss out.

Ben talked about Mexico’s richness of food, the importance of corn, peppers, and beans to Mexico as a country and Mexican cuisine. “We are a food rich country. Much of the world’s produce comes from Mexico. We have some 100 kinds of corn.”

Ben showed us to a man who has been commuting four hours a day to Mexico City to sell his Chorizo–for 25 years! We sampled his savory, green chorizo tacos–made with almonds, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds.

Ben then showed us to another of his favorite vendors, a family who has been selling mole for three generations. He explained mole usually has about 35 ingredients and can take on very complex, varied flavors. He had us taste teaspoons of different mole pastes–cranberry, adobo, almond, pumpkin seed, and the house speciality. We bought four different kilos of mole mix and one chorizo seasoning mix!

In true Mexican form, we stopped for a cup of Mexican street corn from an elderly woman with thin, red-dyed hair. Ben explained she was a dancer, though, I don’t recall if he said current or in a past life. I envisioned her dancing, confident as hell, on a dance floor on her own.

Holding our warm cup of corn, we perused the many flower stalls (there are over 1,000). Ben explained the flower market was the oldest on the block. The flowers used to be shipped from the market to the city center by way of canal. The flower arrangements got a little out of hand, with hundreds of roses and flowers arranged in perfect rows in extravagant sizes and shapes.

On our way to the last stop of the tour, we walked through the meat market. A vendor with a sense of humor swung a pig head towards his face and pretended to eat it for my camera.

An old Mexican couple saw me eyeing the tripe and said something in Spanish. I asked, “Que?” but knew quickly I wasn’t understanding them. I put my hand over my stomach and they smiled and nodded.

Past the hanging birds and pig heads were food stalls, to which we would end our tour. Ben sat us down at a long counter at his favorite seafood restaurant in the city. Modest and mild, Ben said he enjoyed quality food without too many bells or whistles. He introduced us to his chef friend, a tall burly Mexican man with a grey-haired beard and a black chefs coat.

Ben bought us each a fruit juice and two tacos–smoked salmon. We were nervous at first about the salmon. We knew Minnesotan smoked salmon, and wasn’t into it. But as we watched the chef prepare the many layers of the dish, we knew we were in good hands. He had a jolly laugh. He joked with us and pretended to shiver in the Minnesota cold, saying he preferred where he was at. In between his friendly banter, we watched as he and another chef set out wooden disks for plates, and layered our gourmet tacos–first a blue, corn tortilla fresh from the skillet, refried beans, the smoked salmon filling, avocado crema, and pickled onions, with fresh dressed greens on the side, dusted with a seed mixture. It was the fanciest taco we had on the whole trip–and we ate all of its spicy goodness.

As we finished, Ben asked us what our plans were and how we preferred to get home. We opted to hang back and Uber on our own time, and shook his hand thanking him for his hospitality. In actuality, we realized how tired we were and left the neighborhood soon after. The pounding under our Airbnb felt like a 9 to 5 job at this point, and we stopped napping before we even started. Instead, we wrote about the trip at a tiny cafe next door.

To make a long day longer, we had booked a late night tour–dinner and lucha libre. When in Mexico! We were excited for the tour and started the night getting a quick mezcal mixer at the bar, La Nacional, next to our meeting point. When we finished, we walked next door to a large group of people already entering the small pulqueria. We squeezed ourselves in, waiting for a guide to address the group or say anything at all. A slicked-back hair man started asking part of the group if they wanted any beer. We stood awkwardly in the back waiting for him to reach us, though he never came near. A point came where I told Chris, “We have to mingle,” because nothing was happening for us. Despite not feeling like it, I interjected us into a nearby conversation between two girls from Chicago and a lone traveler from San Francisco, or, “San Fran” or “SF” depending on the moment in which she continually compared costs between home and Mexico City.

Eventually, another host arrived, and through the noise of the large group, he introduced himself and spoke briefly about the night’s events. After trying some mango pulque (which is a flavored fermented drink that tastes like a thick juice that you have to bite off at the end), we squeezed out of the door and into a tiny taqueria down the street. There were barely enough seats for the 17 of us. We sat near a couple from New Orleans and a large group of beautiful, well dressed people from D.C. We ate a few delicious tacos and a light beer, all the while trying to be pleasant and friendly to the others. Our tour guide addressed the whole group, explaining a bit about the history and cultural relevance of lucha libre, and translated briefly some of the profanities we would be hearing in the venue that night.

He ended his speech explaining the other tour guide had to leave abruptly due to terrible circumstances, “His mother has cancer of the brain,” he said matter of factly, pointing to his head, and handing out wrestling masks.

And before we knew it, we were being told the Ubers had arrived and we were shipped to the venue. Fast forward through the quick drive, the ticket handout, the crowded jaunt through a cement staircase to our seats, and there we were in the dark, howling stadium.

Women came out dancing to introduce each new wrestler, or luchador. They came out in sparkly capes, faces hidden by their masks. One luchador with broad, thick shoulders had a silver mask that resembled a knight, and a black ponytail popping out the back. The crowd went wild with each new luchador, each as theatrical as the next. They ran and jumped to the top of the boxing ring ropes, belly flopping on top of their contenders, and trying to rip their masks off. At the end of the night, we impatiently left the group behind and walked all the way home.

Read “Part II” of our trip to Mexico City, here!

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