Thursday, June 21, 2012

Another Day in Mexico City

What do hairless dogs and peacocks have in common?
Xoloitzcuintles...when people say the word, it sounds to me like "sho-lo-squint-ees."
They're both unusual animals.  And they both live on the grounds of the Dolores Olmedo Museum.  Dolores Olmedo, who died in 2002, was good friends with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.  Olmedo's former home is a gorgeous property featuring the work of Rivera and Kahlo, as well as Olmedo's vast collection of pre-Hispanic, colonial, folk, modern and contemporary art. 

Diego Rivera loved hairless dogs (called xoloitzcuintles) and gave two to his friend Olmedo.  The dogs on the premises are now the ninth generation.  The peacocks strut all over the grounds, fanning out their colorful beauty for great photo opportunities.

After they fan out, they turn slowly like a showgirl exhibiting her costume.

Like the Casa Azul I wrote about in the last entry, this museum is alive with the sense of creativity, of someone who lived a lively, expansive life.   It was an otherworldly feeling walking the grounds and rooms with light rain drifting down.  What an amazing multitude of statues, pottery, paintings, photographs, furniture, and various other objects.  I was especially struck by how prolific Diego Rivera was; he worked in such a wide variety of styles and media.

When our eyes were starting to cross taking it all in, we went to the cafe, which is the former greenhouse.  The only customers, we sat in the glass building, watching the soft rain.  As we sampled cappucinos, hot chocolate, chicken tortas, and orange cake, we agreed this was best museum food we've ever had.

Our next stop was the Xochimilco canals a few minutes drive away.  I had no idea Mexico City had an old canal system you could take a boat down until Dave found about it online prior to our trip.

Similar to our boat.  We have a ton of pictures I'll upload later.
I understand the canals can be very crowded with tourists on weekends.  We hit it right on a Wednesday with very few people around.  Paul, our resident Spanish speaker, bartered the guys down to a reasonable price--and we were off for two hours on the water, just the four of us in a very colorful boat.

As you float down the canals, other boats approach selling beer, food, and handicrafts.  My favorite boats were filled with musicians.  For a few pesos, they'll play you a tune.  I loved singing "Guantanamera" with the band, one of the few songs I know in Spanish.

Paul opened a bottle of Veuve Clicquot he had generously bought and that Dave had hauled to the boat in a backpack.  Sipping champagne, we watched the shore life drift by:  modest houses with dogs lounging around, elegant houses with tiled patios, and many nurseries abundant with colorful flowers.

Another dreamy moment brought to you by Mexico City.


Holli said...

I'm loving experiencing all of this through your blog... thank you! Hairless dogs... wow... I knew about hairless cats but had no clue there were dogs as well!

Kate Evans said...

The hairless dogs look like statues when they are standing still, which is often. I can see why an artist would love them.

kras said...

I love your writing Kate! I feel like I'm on vacation reading your blog. Where did you learn the words to Guantanamera? I only know the chorus :)

Kate Evans said...

Thanks kras! I learned it in Spanish class in high school. :)