Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Home Again:

After 30+ hours in the air and on the road, I arrived back in a very chilly Melbourne, it's taking a bit of getting used to. The furry ones were very welcoming and have me back under the paw with early morning walks and a 2nd walk later, so back to the old routine. They are going to get a bit of a shock next week when I head off again to Cairns for another month house sit, but I will be very happy to head for the warmer weather again.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Masterchef Australia en Español

Can you imagine my surprise when flicking through the channels to see Gary and George chatting away fluently en español. It from from series 2 of Masterchef Australia, where the eventual winner was Adam. They all looked very comfortable speaking Spanish, it was quite a giggle.
I do remember seeing McLeod's Daughters en español when I was in Peru, many of the American shows have subtitles, but maybe the older series are dubbed.

El Museo De Arte Popular:

I made sure I manager a visit to one of my favourite places here in Mexico City. the museum of popular art, it is so vibrant and colourful.
Although this visit there were far fewer articles on display, it was still worth the visit.

 El museo is the major showcase for Mexico's folk arts and traditions and the collections are displayed thematically over three levels in salas around an internal space lit
by an enormous overhead skylight.

Also featured at the moment was a wonderful photographic and art exhibition of the works of Mariana Yampolsky. Her photography is exquisite and are scenes for the life and sceney throughout Mexico. It was worth the visit just for that.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

An Unusual Task:

I have done some odd things whilst house sitting, but never before have I been asked to water a cello, yes that's correct water the cello. Judy is a cello player and because the weather is so warm and the humidity low, she asked if I could water the cello whilst they were away, Otherwise the pegs will drop and this causes problems ( I think) so I have been.

Every couple of days I open the case and take out a small container that has obviously has a sponge of some sort inside, this is popped into a cup of water for a while, then placed in behind the neck of the cello, just under the pegs and that's it - cello watered for another day.

It's Official:

I leave the wonderful Mexico City on Saturday and head straight back to Melbourne. Very sad to leave and extremely disappointed to miss out on my stopover in San Francisco. A lot of web crawling told me to change my stopover for this weekend would cost me an arm and a leg - 1 night in an hotel was the equivalent of what I was paying for 3 nights, if you could find one available that is. So I have been busy cancelling all the bookings I had, and hoping for at least a partial refund. Changing airline bookings isn't all that inexpensive either, but at least that didn't prove too difficult and there were seats available. It's going to be a long day and night!

But I haven't finished writing about Mexico City, still have lots to say, so don't give up reading just yet, and I am heading to Cairns for another house sit in a couple of weeks, so shall keep writing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

So many things to say, so little time:

There has been a change of plans, and it looks might I may head home a couple of weeks ahead of time. I still have lots to photograph and say about this wonderful city, but I shall just have to come back!
I still have a couple of days to write some more.

 Frida & Diego

Yesterday I made the trip down to San Angel again, this time to visit the Museo Casa Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, and was really disappointed that I had, although all turned out well in the end, as it does! The architect designed building contained a studio and house for each of them, the red for Diego and the blue for Frida. They lived there together for about 6 years before she returned to the Casa Azul in Coyoacán. The museum retains Diego's studio and a little of the memorabilia, but not very exciting, and Frida's house was closed. But as  said things turned out well in the end.

  There was another Aussie, Vanessa, there and we decided to return to the Casa Azul together. It is such a beautiful building and this time I decided to pay the extra and take some photos which was well worth it.

It was lovely to have company wandering through the house and to really look again at the amazing works and photographs displayed there.

I will put the rest of the pics on Flickr, soon.

Typical mexican kitchen

Frida's studio

Frida's studio

A Green City

One thing that I really enjoy about this city is the shady greenery everywhere. Many of the streets are wide and divided down the centre with a treed walkway as in the picture on the left. It's where most people walk their dogs and is a much safer and less broken surface than the footpaths that line the streets. Sometimes you will come across a flower seller or vendors with baskets or craftwork, but I have not seen many food vendors, other than ice cream or fruit stalls.

All the streets and parks are kept meticulously clean, well mostly. The streets and gardens are swept daily by the shop keepers or porters and the leaves and refuse collected with the rubbish. All the gardens are kept trimmed and the leaves all raked away. There is not much grass to be seen, so the ground is very dusty, but it's clean. It is generally a very pleasant city to walk around.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

 Mexico City Transport:

As the world's third largest city, a city of gargantuan proportions sprawling over an enormous area, it is surprising just how easy it is to get around, although I also do a LOT of walking.

The newest addition to this transport system s the Metrobus, which have their own dedicated transport lanes over 3 separate lines. The main line travels the full length of the mighty Av. Insurgentes, the main north south artery. The buses are doubles and move rapidly along their lanes, with buses entering the stops every few minutes.
As with the Metro, there is an area reserved only for women and children and the elderly and infirm, and all the platforms are staffed by guards. As with every other public service here in DF, the buses and platforms are kept spotlessly clean.
The Metrobus is a great way to go, as above ground you see the world go by, you even get to see 5 car nose to tail accidents as I did a few days ago - whoops!!!!
 As apposed to above ground travel, the Metro spends most of it's time underground, but is vast and covers most of the metropolis, again with such frequent service that there is never the need to hurry for the train. For me hurrying is not an option, as the floors are all shiny, polished tiles and at times quite slippery, so I just amble along knowing another train is not far away.
The trains are fast, efficient and clean, but you do have to take care getting on and off. They are usually only stationary for a short time, and last week as a group of us waited for the alighting passengers, as you do, the signal sounded, the doors shut and the train left, with us still standing there looking a little perplexed.
 I was glad I wasn't the only one.

All the lines are colour coded and the transfer between lines clearly marked with the colour and the destination of the train. The passage ways between lines are ordered so that all traffic is flowing in only one direction and it all moves very efficiently, as there is often long distances between lines and platforms, and lots of stairs to go up and down.  All the stations have a symbol, so reading the maps is also made easy.
 And you can even do your shopping on the trains. At just about every station, a vendor hops into the carriage selling something. The guy below is selling CD's - a very popular item. They have enormous amplifiers on their backs and blast the music throughout the carriage, whilst at the same time yelling the name, contents and price. You can buy books to change your life, covers for your mobile phone, Chicle (chewing gum), maps of the city, geographical data, fingernail clippers, DVD's and he carries the player to demonstrate, and I am sure just about anything you can think of. I would be surprised if any of the vendors have a voice at the end of the day, as they all yell their speil continually at the top of their voice. At times there are several in the one carriage, although they seem to have an unspoken arrangement and share the talk time. I have seen a few sales, so I guess it must be worth their while.
And this is just part of the transport system. There are also small above ground buses that cover enormous areas and of course the taxis, which are everywhere and quite adequate and the best thing about the whole of the transport system is


I wonder why we can't do the same in Australia?

Monday, June 11, 2012

 Family Relations:

Olive and Desi are happy when we are out walking or when they are relaxing around the house, and for Olive there is nothing in this world better then FOOD, as Judy says, "she inhales it" in less time than it takes for me to put it on the floor.  They have been pretty easy care and after the first few days have seemed as happy as can be, although I know they will be very happy to see Judy and Cristina home
 As for this one... well every day he is into more mischief: dabbles in the loo are common, open windows are proving very interesting, the tops of tables, shelves and cupboards are being explored - I have already found a few photos and treasures knocked over. We are starting to put things higher and on a more safe surface.
My legs and arms have the scars to prove his climbing prowess, he just digs in and climbs up. He chewed his way through my headphone wires, luckily that's one thing cheap on the streets here. He has that Siamese yowl and is very demanding when not getting his own way, or just for more attention.
And then there is poor, long suffering China, it doesn't matter how many time she indicates she just doesn't want to play, Chaco just doesn't give up and provokes her to distraction. Desi will give him a run for his money, but he walks all over the rest of us -literally.
Chacho has his own special food, but happily eats China's, the dogs and has even tried mine when I was preparing it. He sleeps in all their beds, drinks the water out of the dogs' crates and sleep in them, and generally thinks that this world belong to him - and it does!

You can do anything on the street:

This gentleman was having documents copied and then sent over the internet, all from this booth on the local street. The girls had a copier and a computer set up and were sending off the copies as I watched - amazing.
There are vendors who only appear in the morning and are there until they sell out or the rush is over. I walk with the dogs around 7.30 and see all these daily. This guy on the corner has hot drinks and rolls
 Then there are the ladies with tamales and rolls who have quite a breakfast following.
This vendor down on the main street sells prepacked salads and fruit salads ready to go for lunch. There are others with sandwiches and other cooked goodies.

After the breakfast rush they disappear and another group of vendors take their place.
These stalls are in our local fast food alley, at the other end of the side street, and yesterday, Sunday, most received a make over. These guys were spray painting and the vendors were cleaning and polishing ready for another busy week. Every afternoon after business the stalls and the surrounding street area are washed and scrubbed down and the cooking pots and implements are left gleaming. They certainly work hard.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

 What You See When You Are Walking:

One of the main purposes of yesterday's outing was to visit the city's Monumento A La Independencia, the "Angel", which forms a roundabout in the middle of the multi-laned Paseo de La Reforma. As usual, still not accustomed to traffic direction, I was nearly eliminated by multiple lanes of traffic belting around the roundabout. Took me a while to work out the flow before I managed to get back from the middle again!
After that little adventure I stopped  for a drink break only to see hundreds of naked and near naked cyclists riding along the Paseo. I guess they were protesting something, some were painted with slogans, but they weren't that easy to read!. Most of the men were totally "starkers" and the women mainly topless.  It was a hot day, I only hope they didn't get too sunburnt!!

Another day: more markets

Yesterday I headed to the Zona Roza area, and again discovered more markets.The first at the Plaza del Angel, which is full of Antique shops, but on Saturday also has dozens of individual traders selling everything from books and paintings to jewellery and silver ware. There were some great things, but as usual all spread so close, it was difficult to get through and to see things.

Then heading back to the Metrobus I visited the market in Calle Oro, which sells mainly clothing and handbags etc, although I did manage to also supplement the DVD collection. There are so many sellers with all the latest movies at incredibly cheap rates.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

 Funny the way it all works:

The world is such a wonderful place. I have just returned from a delightful lunch shared with the owner of another potential  house sit opportunity, in the very same suburb that I am in now. When he listed his property - those are his views - I couldn't resist writing and say here I was right here on the spot. So we exchanged a few emails and today I went to see his apartment, 16th floor with spectacular views, meet his dog, very important, and then we went to lunch and a chat at Los Primos. Lunch was great, not the cheapest meal I will have here in DF, but well worth it and always great to have company when eating at such a nice restaurant.It wouldn't be half as much fun eating there alone. Los Primos is very  popular with the locals,and was completely full by 3.00, the usual eating time here.
Whether I get to housesit for the owner or not, it was great to share a meal and some time and make a new friend.


Are a very popular Mexican vegetable made from the young pads or paddles of the prickly pear.

 The are covered with spines which are deftly removed by the sellers and are sold fresh in large quantities at all the markets. The smaller paddles are the most tender. Nopales are slightly tart in flavour with a mucilaginous texture when cooked, this liquid then becomes part of the dish being prepared. They form large part of the Mexican cuisine and are widely used. I have been including the raw flesh in with my juices  prepare, it's supposed to be very good for you. The fruit of the prickly pear is also sold in the markets.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Polvos & Pociones

 Authentic dusts contained in these sachets provide all these amazing results.

In the single sachet with the brown picture is Authentic dust from Cuba, doesn't say what it does and in the other white sachets you can find the Authentic Dust of Witches

Authentic dust against dangers 

                  Authentic dust to bring Them to Me

And this one I really liked Authentic Dust to Clean Houses, I should have bought a truckload! I                                        wonder how it works?

El Mercado Jamaica:

In addition to being a normal mercado selling everything from fruit and vegetables, meat of all types, household goodies to magical curative herbs and sachets to help with just about every problem imaginable, el Mercado Jamaica is also the city's wholesale flower market. Here you can find all varieties of beautiful flowers, armloads of gaudy gladiolas, orchids, buckets full of multicoloured roses and you can even but rose petals by the kilo. There are lilies, babies breath, piles of greenery to be mixed with the flowers and the fragrance is wonderful.
In addition to the bunches of flowers you can also find all types of flower arrangements, from the sombre wreaths to the gaudy animal posies and even some containing bowls with live goldfish. I noticed that many of the flower sellers seemed to be men, and many were young men who got a little techy with me taking photos. They communicated ahead with whistles  and many didn't want their arrangements photographed -  fair enough I guess.
Goldfish anyone?
Rose petals by the kilo