72 Hours in Mexico City

2017 was quite a challenging year I must say. Financially, physically, emotionally – all of it. But, as we always do, we got through it, I particularly ended it on a high which I’ve taken as the progressing mood for 2018, positive vibes all round.

I’ve always said on this blog that I like to travel to a new place once a year, and if I happen to cover more than one place, even better and thank you God. This past year though, despite the wallet being hella tight, made my one new place a year mantra still stand – planned a trip to Mexico and it actually came to fruition.

I have a friend, Isabel, who I actually met here in Nairobi circa 2012 when she was doing an internship with Zawadi Africa – I was her voluntary tour guide and we’ve been friends ever since, she’s awesome. Isabel was getting married last year and decided to have her wedding in Mexico city on the last weekend of the year because why not right? So my main purpose of going to Mexico was for this wedding and it also doubled up as a new place I had never been to so yay!

Mexico city, is the capital of Mexico and has a population of about 8.84 million people. It reminds me a lot of Nairobi but with a lot more history and culture that is clearly seen rather than having to really look for it. Museums are around every corner, beautiful cathedrals bring the people together to the central part of Mexico city and the food, y’all…. the food is everything! I had very limited time here so I had to get in what I could in terms of exploring and luckily for me, Isa had most of this covered. For the first day, she arranged a party bus for all of us – her friends to use to tour the city by night while jamming to some dope music, and eating and drinking – so different from your typical tour bus but still got the job done.

The city is just as lively at night as it is during the day, we made a pit stop at a taqueria to get our fill of super cheap yet super yummy tacos which they made for us in minutes – 100 tacos, madness. Also, as someone who really loves Mexican food, I can’t eat another taco again without comparing it to the authentic goodness that were those tacos we had on the side of the road at 9pm.

Spotted along this tour was a most stunning gold angel statue (feature image) perched high up on a pillar right in the middle of Paseo de la Reforma, a major avenue in the city. The structure is called the Angel of Independence, built in 1910 for the Centenary of Mexican independence, it makes for perfect sunset pics in downtown Mexico city.

I was staying at a lovely Airbnb right in the heart of the Historic Centre of Mexico city, locally called Centro Historico and is one of the World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO. It’s a busy, bustling place filled with vendors lining up all the streets and even more museums and great historic landmarks such as the Plaza de la Constitucion and Templo Mayor (ancient Aztec ruins) that are just a few feet from each other – I really walked everywhere most of the time because taking a cab through all the human traffic would take much longer and cost you even more. Many thanks to my hosts Beatriz and Carlos who were so gracious and welcoming. If you are ever in Mexico city, look them up on Airbnb, you won’t be disappointed!

This is the exact street where the Airbnb was! Photo credit: Shutterstock

Day 2 aka Wedding day: The wedding was taking place in the evening so I had the whole day to myself and what does one do with a sunny Saturday morning?? Look for places for brunch of course! I wanted to go see other parts of the city outside the historic centre so had to find a place to eat within that area. After much research, thanks to Yelp and the New York Times travel section, I settled on a nice little place called Fonda Mayora which has great reviews and is quite affordable – my total bill for brunch came up to a good $10. In New York, $10 can’t get you brunch ANYWHERE. Maybe just your coffee and a biscuit… so I was very pleased to be very full, having spent not as much money.

Isabel’s brother had told me of a great dish to try – Chilaquiles, it’s apparently a very popular dish for breakfast there and with good reason. It’s very filling! Had to try some Mexican coffee too but maybe it was the place I was at but I didn’t quite like the coffee, it was a tad too sweet and I hadn’t added any sugar yet. After a breakfast so heavy I could barely move, I opted to walk the rest of the time to wherever I was going just to walk off that food baby.

Chilaquiles from Fonda Mayora

Did a good 5km that whole day before getting back to the house to prepare for the wedding. I hit up the mall in the city’s more upscale areas, got some shopping in, everyone I got to engage with thought I was some runner just because I’m Kenyan – we really need to stop this stereotype guys, or I should also just become an actual athlete, not a bad compromise me thinks. Anyway, fast forward to about 7pm, time to watch miss Isa walk down the aisle! You know how weddings are almost NEVER ON TIME? Aka African weddings?? haha, well I don’t know if all Mexicans are like this but this particular wedding was super punctual.

Isabel has quite a large family and I thought, being Mexican, tradition and all that, that the mass at least may take a while – nope, exactly ONE HOUR. The bridal party were all there even before some of us, the guests. Another thing I noticed, they don’t really do the bridesmaids and groomsmen thing at Mexican weddings, the procession consists of the groom and his parents, the bride and her parents and Isabel had her little sister help carry her super amazing cape behind her that she wore instead of a veil. Interesting change from the norm.

The stunning bride – Isabel Lopez

The Lopez & Fernandez family

The wedding was beautiful, I didn’t understand anything throughout the spanish mass but being Catholic, I could tell which section was what at least. The reception was my favourite part and no, not just because of the food… Loved the simple yet really classy decor, I’ve put in some pics here that I could find, her wedding planner did such a great job – I loved the candy station the best because that is a perfect substitute for cake!

The food was never ending – I have never been full before the main entree before! Funfact: Isabel couldn’t be in Mexico to do the tasting for the food menu and entrusted her aunts who live there to sort all that out so she was also seeing & tasting everything for the first time as we were foodwise and her aunts did a fantastic job. Gotta trust family y’all, they’ll never let you down – case in point above:) And of course, we can’t have a Mexican wedding without a Mariachi band – they did such a stellar job.

Photo by Caroline Sileo

Those little balls are fried sweet potatoes – so good!

There were two different desserts, I liked this one the best

The Candy station filled with personalized Mexican candy:)

I left the reception at around midnight because I had to go home and pack, 7am flight the next day but I left when the party was just getting started, dancing and funtimes all round. Isabel and Dorian, that wedding was superb, I am glad I managed to make my way all the way to Mexico to share in this day with you and I hope married life treats you both perfectly well.

Day 3 was just me in the airport for a good 2 hours before heading back to NYC and you really can’t be in Mexico and not cop some hot sauce (yes for me) and tequila (not for me) and Mexican candy in plenty. All of which I forgot to buy while still in the city goodness, so had to gather them quick from the airport before leaving. I will say that the candy is spicy but a good sweet and spicy and the hot sauce is yet to be tried out – it’s still in my bag, get it? Hot sauce in my…  I hope you do…

That’s about it about my very short time in a city I would love to return to and really take in all the sights and sounds and food! I’m putting it out there – I will return to Mexico one day, Isa maybe have a reunion for your first wedding anniversary?? Just a thought:) Have any of you ever been to Mexico, any part, not necessarily Mexico city? If yes let me know how your experience was and what you did, would love to add more places to see when I do go back.

Until my next adventure, here’s to wishing you a super great year ahead this 2018 and to more travelling as well:)

Feature image – Shutterstock

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