Culture

Give Yourself The Local Taste Of Mexico City By Visiting These Often Overlooked Neighborhoods

If you’re an avid traveler like myself, it’s most likely that you have already seen notable sites including Times Square, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Grand Canyon, the Hollywood sign. Been there, done that. And, that’s just naming prominent locations in the U.S. So when I travel to other beautiful countries, I like the feeling of becoming a local, and not a tourist. On my most recent visit to Mexico City, I opted out of the usual spots including Chichen Itza, El Zocalo, Plaza Garibaldi, or Frida’s Casa Azul, because why go there again? This time around, I wanted to experience more of local culture, and what I found was mesmerizing.   

Mexico City is a lot like Los Angeles and New York City. There are pockets of flourishing neighborhoods, historic streets, and bustling boulevards that have so much to offer. To get to the heart of each hood, you have to stay there for at least a couple of days to feel it out. When you’re on vacation, that last thing you want to do is be stuck in traffic or a crowded subway. The remedy for that is to book a hotel or Airbnb and stay put. Here’s a round-up of some incredible neighborhoods in Mexico City. 

La Condesa

Courtesy of Araceli Cruz

In 2017, a 7.1 earthquake struck Mexico City (epicenter was in Puebla) and killed almost 400 people. It left several neighborhoods devastated in rubble and collapsed buildings. One such area was the neighborhood La Condesa, known for its tree-lined streets, hipster residents, and excellent restaurants. Walking around La Condesa, you can still see several destroyed buildings, but the area is back to its lively self.

I loved eating at the adorable Maque restaurant, known for its home-made Mexican bread, and Lardo, mostly for the people-watching and posh atmosphere. Other must-see stops include Avenida Amsterdam, where you’ll see stunning mansions, plazas, and lots of dog walkers, Galería Vórtice, full of contemporary Mexican artists, and Foro Shakespeare, to see the cool independent theater. There’s also great shopping, including my favorite, Carla Fernandez. One-stop that is definitely a must is seeing the house were Roma was filmed. It’s located in Roma Sur, not far from La Condesa at 22 Tepeji street. 

Santa Fe

Courtesy of Araceli Cruz

To get a state of one of the most modern and affluent neighborhoods in Mexico City, you must visit Santa Fe. Driving into Santa Fe, you’d think you were in Manhattan or Hong Kong because all you see are skyscrapers everywhere. You’ll also find a La Mexicana, a breathtaking new urban park that will take up your entire day. The grounds are very vast, so you’ll need a good chunk of time to see it all, especially if you’re taking kids with you. There’s also plenty to eat and drink there, as well as playgrounds, lakes, and sculpture art. 

At the epicenter of Santa Fe has to be the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton. The building itself stands out with its circle-shaped exterior, and the views from the top floor are magical. There’s also so much shopping around that very spot, from the Samara Shops to the Centro Santa Fe. About a 10-minute drive is also Cuajimalpa, which is home to the Museo Pedro Infante, a charming tribute museum that honors the tremendous Mexican film star. 

San Angel

Courtesy of Araceli Cruz

If you’re in the mood to walk around a quaint and historic area, nothing beats San Angel. Each cobblestone street has gorgeous homes. You may even bump into actor Diego Luna who lives there! I highly recommend visiting the Mercado San Angel (on Saturdays) where you will see unique Mexican merchandise at pretty reasonable prices. The highlight, in my honest opinion, has to be the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo — their separated/connected homes. For fans of Rivera and Kahlo, who’ve already experienced her Casa Azul, this studio visit will leave you in awe. You will see Rivera’s studio filled with his artwork and collection of Mexican antiques, as well as Kahlo’s smaller studio where she created some of her most famous artworks.

Mixcoac

Credit: Facebook / Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil

Walking distance from San Angel is Mixcoac that is true as local as it gets. I stayed there for a couple of nights and was able to take in great restaurant establishments such as Modesto Paniagua, with yummy Mexican bites. Other stops I made included visiting the home where  Mexican poet Octavio Paz once lived (now called Casa Alvarado), and the Arte Carrillo Gil Museo. You can also find shopping and nightlife, including the Cave Rodrigo de la Cadena where there’s always live music.

READ: Chefs In Mexico City Have Created The World’s Largest Torta And It’s Truly Enormous

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One Town’s Residents Made A Citizen’s Arrest Of Their Mayor For Alleged Corruption And Shoddy Construction

Things That Matter

One Town’s Residents Made A Citizen’s Arrest Of Their Mayor For Alleged Corruption And Shoddy Construction

QUETZALLI BLANCO/AFP via Getty Images

Residents of a village in Chiapas, Mexico have become so fed up with their mayor that they decided to do something about it. Eschewing long, bureaucratic legal processes to hold him accountable, residents of a southern Chiapas town decided to hold their mayor accountable for what they said was a public works project so poorly done that it was useless.

A mayor in Chiapas was tied to a tree by his own residents for a job done badly.

Residents from eleven neighborhoods of the Chiapas town Comalapa held their mayor accountable for his inaction on a public works project. According to reports, the residents arrested Mayor Óscar Ramírez Aguilar to a tree in a public area to expose him to the rest of the town. They told the newspaper Diario de Chiapas, that they wanted to expose him for the “bad public servant” that he is and that he shouldn’t be reelected.

The townspeople say the municipal water storage cistern — whose installation they say was a campaign promise — is in such poor condition that it does not comply with water safety requirements. It currently has no water, they said, due to leaks, and the residents accuse the government of merely patching the tank — badly — to stop them.

In a video on social media, residents showed how the concrete patch job is already chipping away and easily crumbles.

“He promised us that this would be a public works project worthy of Comalapa residents, but [this tank is] a farce; the water system doesn’t work well. It’s an old problem that he should have attended to properly and should have been a priority during his administration because he came to see us in our homes with this promise, and now he doesn’t want to live up to it,” a resident told the newspaper.

But the mayor is denying what happened in a social media post.

The mayor though has a totally different version of events. After he was released, Ramírez posted a video on his official social media account to counter the residents’ version of the story.

“They did not tie me up,” he claimed. “The meeting was with 11 representatives of Comalapa neighborhoods in order to agree upon details regarding a major public project, the introduction of potable water.”

However, photographs clearly showed the mayor standing before a tree with his hands behind his back.

Three years ago, another local official suffered a similar fate after allegedly failing to deliver promised funds. He was bound to a post in the the central plaza of Comalapa.

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The Mexico City House From Netflix’s “Roma” Is Up For Sale And Could Be Yours For The Right Price

Entertainment

The Mexico City House From Netflix’s “Roma” Is Up For Sale And Could Be Yours For The Right Price

Rodrigo Arangua / Getty Images

Every so often the locations filmed in some of our favorite movies become famous in their own right. Think about the dinosaurs from Peewee’s Big Adventure, the Circus Liquor store from Clueless, or the San Francisco mansion from Full House, close your eyes and you can probably picture them crystal clear.

For the Netflix film Roma, one of its biggest stars has been the house in which many of the film’s scenes were shot. In fact, it’s become a bit of a tourist destination in its own right. And now, as it comes on the market, people are flocking to the property for a chance to see it up close.

The house from Roma is on sale and people are flocking to see it.

Besides being a chronicle of a family during a turbulent moment in history and conveying a complex look at class and gender, Alfonso Cuarón’s award-winning Roma is also that rare film where its primary location feels like a character unto itself. In this case, it’s the Mexico City house where the film’s characters live; over the course of watching, you might feel like you live there yourself.

Now, the house in question is on the market — and cinema buffs and architecture fans alike might be intrigued.

The now famous house doesn’t really standout among the neighboring homes – except for a commemorative plaque.

Credit: Rodrigo Arangua/ Getty Images

Although the house is located in one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods – Roma – it’s located in a quiet corner of the colonia and doesn’t really stand out from any of the other houses. Although upon further inspection, you’ll see a plaque that commemorates the most celebrated Mexican film in decades, Roma.

In the 2018 film, Tepeji 22 stood in for Alfonso Cuarón’s boyhood home, and its facade and patio featured in some of the most memorable scenes.

Cuarón spent the first years of his life in the house across the street, Tepeji 21, but preferred the light in the house opposite to shoot his film and the family agreed. The production designer, Eugenio Caballero, changed the window grilles and retiled the patio, which serves as the set piece for the film’s first scene introducing the film’s protagonist, Cleo, the family’s maid, as she washes dog waste from the floor with soapy water.

The home was painstakingly recreated a set to match Cuarón’s memories.

Credit: Carlos Somante / Roma / Netflix

In a Netflix documentary about the making of the film, Cuáron describes how he tried to find as much of the original furniture as he could, contacting relatives across Mexico to ask them to borrow pieces. And it worked, since so many people who saw the film spoke about its authenticity and beauty.

The home’s owners have put it up for sale but aren’t publicly disclosing the price.

When Roma was nominated for 10 Oscars – and won three, including one for Best Director – the Monreal family (who own the property) welcomed tourists who tracked the movie’s locations through Roma and the rest of the city.

“It hurts,” Monreal told The Guardian, of the decision to sell the house, preferring to keep the reasons for the sale private. “It has given us great satisfaction, we love it. You can’t measure everything that we have lived through here, everything this house has given us: shelter, closeness, a united family.”

Despite the rumors that are swirling across social media, the Monreal family has not publicly shared the asking price for the house. A listing for a four-bedroom house on the same street, which is only two blocks long and not much changed since the 1970s, cited an asking price of about US$760,000.

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