36: Mexico City, The Blind Date Gone Well

Some flight attendants have their traveling buddies, people they can fly with continuously without wanting to yell at them or throw them in the oven. Luckily for me, I found my buddy early. Andie ventured with me to Madrid (see previous post) and learning that we make a good team we decided to travel together more often. Though we always try to work the same shifts, her Spanish speaking background sometimes leaves me in the dust while she gets to venture off to Mexico for days at a time. This month was no different. So instead of whining about it I invited myself and my Los Angeles friend, Harley, along for the adventure. I met Harley the second day I lived in LA through our Chi Omega Alumni group and over the years have grown closer due to similar interest and our no nonsense attitude. Harley is a gem, and it helps that our names rhyme.


Luckily Andie is nice enough not to mind that Harley, someone she’d never met before, would be arriving six hours before me, forcing them to start this sort of blind date type of friendship. Once I arrived I caught a taxi by a non English speaking cab driver and waited for the girls to greet me at the door with smiles and coffee. Being that I’d never truly explored Mexico, it took us all of twenty mins to chat, change, set out to adventure the city and more importantly, find food.


Thanks to Harley’s cousin who gave us endless recommendations we caught an uber to Condesa, a hip part of the city, and stopped in Milo’s Bistro. It had L shaped patio seating, modern wooden tables, and sat just across the street from a walkable garden that served as a median between the narrow roads. The area was quiet for a Wednesday and luckily they had menus not only in Spanish, but in English. Thank God.


After we ate we went on to explore part of the area for a bit until we ventured to the Frida Kahlo museum. If you’re unsure who she is, let me give you a quick history lesson.


La Casa Azul, or The Blue House, is a small house museum that once belonged to two lovers and artists, Frida and Diego. Frida was know for multiple reasons, the most common being that she did beautiful self portraits of herself while having polio. Her reasoning was that she is often alone therefore knows herself the best. Their artwork hung like in a normal museum but every other room was a replica of what their house looked like. The building was equally beautiful as it was haunting and they lived here between the years of 1929-1954.


What I loved about the museum is not only how authentic/preserved it was but how each room catered to her condition. You could see that though their relationship was flawed, as both of them consistently had affairs, Diego truly cared for her and made sure every room and every entrance was accessible. Especially during this time, accessibility was not a known trend for disabled beings. Diego eliminated this obstacle. It was beautiful, and the love they had for each other even more so. The kind of love people like me hope for, rough and unconditional.


Exhausted, we returned to the hotel after dinner to shower and find a small, quaint place to grab a couple drinks. Harley put her research skills to use for the numerous time and found a speakeasy style bar that was within walking distance. We, Harley and I, went down the street and around the corner to the destination that seemed far too quiet, and brightly lit, to be a speakeasy. This was strange.

A guy on the street asked where we were going and when we said Parker & Lenox, he indeed pointed to this white walled diner with barely three people inside. Once we walked in, the server pointed around the corner where we trolled down a narrow hallway and pushed through a large wooden door. It spit us out into this dimly lit lounge with a center stage surrounded by plush couches and chairs and a full bar off to the right hand side. My type of place. We sat at the bar while the band set up allowing the bartender to practice his English on us as we practiced our Spanish with him.


What surprised me, but at the same time intrigued me, was that of all the bar stools available, everyone sat in the chairs and tables. I assumed this was so they could face the band rather than the bar but even as the seats filled up people chose to stand and watch. I enjoyed it. You could tell that people were truly there for the music, giving them their undivided attention. No one spoke loud while they played, people danced; everyone was vibing.

Several free drinks later, courtesy of the bartender, we decided to call it a night. On our way out, back through the wooden door and hallway, we quickly realized the effectiveness of having the only entrance and exit through the diner. It smelled amazing on our way out.

Instead of walking back we sat down to be helped by an English speaking, heavily tattooed, rad lady who happily served and spoke to us about the history of the building. Along the white walls were small framed receipts nailed from ceiling to floor, wall to wall. It turns out this diner used to be a bank, and when it was purchased they kept the old transaction receipts, framed them, and used them to decorate the new building. Awesome, right? I thought so too.

We walked back, silently got ready for bed as Andie slept before her work shift, and woke up in the morning missing our Spanish speaking friend. Needing to cater to our growling bellies, we packed our bags, found a cute brunch place to eat at, and enjoyed each other’s company before we had to part ways. This restaurant didn’t have an English menu so I did my best to order having no idea what it would be but being pleasantly surprised by its deliciousness.


 Mexico, Mexico City at that, is very different than I’d expected. The culture was so polite and gracious and much like a blind date gone well, I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to visit more places out of my comfort zone. Interested enough to maybe even go to the city again for another look, a second date. It was more city like with a ton of culture and a splash of hipster. Everyone truly worked for their dollar, hand crafting everything and selling it themselves to passers by. They all had smiles on their faces, calluses of their hands, dirt on their shoes, and everyone (I mean everyone) said thank you. And for that Mexico, I’d like to thank you. Thank you for teaching me something new about a no longer mysterious country. Thank you for being much more than just a free meal and someone to waste my Wednesday with. Thank you for a damn good time.

 

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