Looking at my last post, I'm somewhat tempted to spend some time addressing the massive shift that has happened to my life between then and now. To me, it's been nothing short of incredible. Not writing here in this blog form for such a long period of time might seem to beget trying to shoehorn (does anyone use those still?) a lot of different subjects and thoughts into one big blob of a blog.
Maybe I can just say that I'm happier than I can remember being in my life. Yes, I'm going to talk about love – it's the beautiful center of this newfound and welcomed feeling of happiness. Maybe happy isn't a complex enough word to describe it. Grateful. Strong. Calm. Inspired. Smitten. Clear. Stoked.
I've moved out of Los Angeles, and I'm now living in Ojai with the girl I adore. I've left the band that I have traveled the world with for the last five years, and I'm working on new music, a new musical production, doing yoga, dancing, cooking, gardening, and living "in the flow", a wonderful term my love, Daron, has taught me.
I had my 39th birthday two weeks ago. A couple weeks before that, we were sitting on the couch talking about things to do for a celebration.
"Have you ever been to Mexico City?" she asked.
And so, two weeks later, we landed in Mexico City for one of the best weeks of our lives.
Now, this is a humungous city. 7th largest in the world I believe. So we hardly made a dent in the door of all there is to do there. Our goal was simple: Enjoy and Eat. I refrained from taking many photos of food, but mostly because being present is a practice that has healed quite a bit of unrest and pain in me this year. Our food tour was unbelievably delicious, with almost every culinary stop turning into a highlight. We had heard it was a big foodie city, and it's all so, so true.
What struck me the most is the people. The demeanor of the locals. They were all so welcoming and helpful. Again, I'll deliver with a bit of a caveat – we had a pretty small sample size of interactions. Still, it was striking. And goodness, was everything inexpensive.
The city has a vibrancy that is deeply inspiring and refreshing. We had rolling thunderstorms for most of our stay, usually in the late afternoon and evening. It seemed to keep the infamous pollution at bay, and made the already colorful palette of the city even more beautiful. Also, it made for such a deep and unforgettable vibe everywhere we walked.
We snagged a perfect Air BnB room, with a roof deck, loft with a spiral staircase, right in the heart of Roma Norte. It was almost 5 flights up, and at over 7,000 feet elevation it winded us a bit every time, but we were able to work off all of the tacos pretty well that way. Balance.
The city is full of museums, and though many came highly recommended from multiple friends and sources, we only made it to one, the Museo Nacional de Antropología. It's situated in a huge central park known as Bosque de Chapultepec, which we walked to after landing on our first day. It was about 7 am, and we had about 8 hours until we could check in to our place. After wandering around looking for an open spot, we happened upon El Hidalguense for a little desayuno of chilaquiles, barbacoa, and molletes. Perfection.
It was about a mile and a half to Chapultepec, through tree lined streets, bodegas, botiques, bike paths and a couple busy main drags. We walked through an extensive history of the Buddha at the Anthropology museum, and then found ourselves alone in a peaceful courtyard with a little deserted amphitheater. Naturally, we broke into dance. This was a celebration, after all.
The day before we returned home, we took a cab out to the ancient city of Teotihuacan. Also known as "The City of The Gods", it's origins are still largely mysterious, which is obviously super fucking cool. Around the year 1400, the Aztecs arrived and started naming the existing structures. The Pyramid of the Moon, the Pyramid of the Sun, the Ciudadela and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. It's most definitely a tourist destination, and there are trinket sellers galore lined throughout the complex, but it's undeniably fascinating to explore and walk on and around. We had big plans of getting up super early to beat the madding crowds, but a delicious mezcal experience the night previous suggested that we sleep in a bit. The Gods could wait until after a leisurely mexican coffee.
I have always loved to climb. This is one of those places that you can climb all over almost everything. The top of the moon pyramid was closed off, but pretty much everything else was fair game. A worthwhile adventure should you find yourself in the area. There's a little museum nearby if you're an artifact nut, and it also runs you through the history of the construction, expansion, and population timeline of the city and structures.
We hitched a ride back into the city in the back of a rickety old bus, and I tried to grab some photos of the outskirts but admittedly it was pretty fucking bumpy. I managed to get a few in focus, but these don't even begin to tell the story of the hillsides just covered with colorful houses, wild dogs stretching in the streets, and clothes hung out to dry. You get the sense that the count of 21 million people seems conservative. I really can't wait to go back for a proper photographic adventure.
We didn't see a whole lot of the hardest hit areas from the recent earthquake there, but there were certainly some condemned buildings and piles of rubble yet to be removed and attended to. One apartement complex in particular in a densely populated area looked like it could topple at any moment. We gave it a wide berth while I quietly felt very good about my recent move out of Los Angeles. Of course I hope it isn't catastrophic when "The Big One" actually hits (if it ever does), but I certainly worry for my home city should it start to shake like Mexico City did. Gnarly stuff.
All in all, an unforgettable birthday in one of my new favorite places in the world. Hasta que nos encontremos de nuevo, Mexico City!!