Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mexico City - Museum of Anthropology and A Sunday in the Park

Mexico City's Museum of Anthropology, the most important museum of it's kind in the world, is an impressive collection housed in an equally impressive structure. The central hall's main feature, which the galleries surround, is a carved pillar with cascades of water coming from a disk at it's top. Galleries have both indoor and outdoor exhibition areas. They contain more friezes, artifacts, art objects and history that can be fully absorbed in a single visit. The museum impresses upon the visitor the long history of the native people of the region as well as how large and diverse the country of Mexico is.

As I exited I came upon a group of acrobats of a sort. Several men climbed up a tall pole. At it's top was a wheel laid on it's side, it's center attached to the pole. As the men sat around the edge of the wheel they wound ropes around a central spoke. One began to turn the wheel with his feet while the others dropped backward off of the edge of the wheel. As they spun upside down the ropes, which were tied to their feet, unwound slowly lowering them to the ground head first. The sight of the men, flying out from the wheel suspended by their feet, was like nothing I have ever experienced before. Amazed, my eyes dazed and glassy, I dropped a number of pesos into the hat as it passed by me.

Unlike the peaceful, tranquil feeling of the park I had experienced during my weekday visit, on Sunday it becomes a street fair, full of color, sound, street performers and masses of people. A large crowd was gathered around a clown, laughing uproariously at his antics. As he was performing in Spanish, I, unfortunately, didn't understand a word. From carts vendors sell brightly colored toys, jewelry, balloons and Mexican wrestler masks.

This carnival atmosphere extended to the broad Paseo de la Reforma. Immediately outside the entrance to the park several people were selling odds and ends; vintage dishes, books, framed pictures, even hardware like old hinges and doorknobs, off of blankets on the sidewalks. Large dragon like creatures, art projects from a local school, lined the street on either side. A small demonstration was being held around the base of the golden angel statue protesting for, oddly, the right to protest. An American expat I met said it was even odder in that protests were fairly commonplace in the city.

My original plan had been to take the Metro to the park that beautiful Sunday afternoon. A delightful young woman who worked at the guesthouse made the suggestion that I walk there. It was a much shorter distance than I thought. She also pointed out that when you were in a new city it's always best to see it, as opposed to being whisked around underground. The experience of the walk to and from the park that day made me an extremely grateful for her suggestion.

1 comment:

  1. this museum is the reason I want to go to Mexico City. I hope I am brave enough to do so, to see this extraordinary place.