Mexico didn’t turn out quite as expected

TheEye is pinching herself. It doesn’t seem possible – Was it only five weeks ago TheEye was packing her case about to leave for a holiday in Mexico? Her only care back in those heady, carefree days (yep, 5 weeks ago) was whether she might qualify for a BA upgrade and if she had packed the right clothes – too many, too few? Priorities have somewhat changed in these new, uncertain, freaky, times when the world is upside down and we can’t predict what will happen tomorrow. But she hopes you will enjoy sharing some of her highlights of this vibrant exciting country.


Even the street cleaners are stylish and colourful

She made, I bought

Frida, Frida — you see her here, you see here there, you see her everywhere

One of the many outstanding features of Mexico City is the number of museums, contemporary galleries and cultural centres. There is a flourishing film industry (the semi-biographical movie Roma, directed, produced and shot by Alfonso Cuaron was one of the hits of 2018 ) and music from jazz to mariachi. People are friendly and helpful. The markets are fantastic and the city seems incredibly clean and (apart from the shyster cab drivers), crime in the city is low.

Spectacular water feature at the Museo Nacional de Anthropologia designed by Tomas and Jose Chavez Morado

Well, we wasted no time and hit the ground running on our first day at the National Anthropology Museum, an important ‘brutalist palace’ designed by Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, worth a visit alone for the stunning water feature, designed by Tomas and Jose Chavez Morado. The collection is phenomenal. The museum is huge and we spent all day there (getting lost at times).

In front of one of their ancestors

Mexico City is sprawling (one of the biggest cities in the world) and the traffic is horrendous. It comprises of sixteen diverse neighbourhoods all with very individual personalities from the chaotic Centro Historico to leafy Condessa and Roma Norte (think Notting Hill or Hampstead). Polanco is posh uptown for high brand shopping and many galleries and museums.      The problem is it can take about 45 minutes to get from one to another, so you have to plan your days and think out your restaurant reservations very carefully, or you would be zig-zagging around town all day. Another word of caution-  ‘taxis’ – avoid pink cabs (pink because the last mayor of the city was gay and changed them from green to pink). Pink taxis have a deservedly dreadful reputation. They speed up their meters so you end up with a crazy fare for a short journey. And don’t even think about arguing. Oh, and, whilst we are talking caution, check your banknotes. Counterfeit currency is common practice but easily detected by the size of notes, poor printing. Well, it doesn’t look right.

A friend got ‘done’ at a currency exchange at LAX and didn’t notice until she was in the hotel only to be told ‘it happens all the time’.


Luis Barragan:  Master of Modernism

‘Serenity, silence, intimacy and amazement’ are words Luis Barragan gave to describe the guiding principles of his work. Casa Pedregal (Prieto Lopez), his first house in Jardines del Pedregal was renovated in 2013 and is still a family home. Casa Gilardi was the last project Barragan oversaw in its entirety.

Casa Prieto Lopez

Casa Prieto Lopez in Pedregal

Casa Gilardi, Barragan’s last project  – Nothing short of perfection

Indoor swimming pool with contrasting walls of watermelon red and electric blue

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

What can you say that hasn’t been said a million times about these artists and their exotic, bohemian lives?

Their pro-communist politics and friends (Frida had a long affair with Trotsky when he and his wife lived in their home in Mexico for many years).

Their presence is everywhere. Tourists from all over the world flock to their museums, studios, and the merchandise is endless. How on earth would the Mexican tourist industry flourish without them?

Self Portrait – he was a God, but he wasn’t a looker!

A small detail from Diego Rivera’s wonderful mural – Sunday afternoon in the park

The home and museum of the late glamorous, almost mythical, Dolores Olmedo Patino

Showing off – one of the many spectacular peacocks in the grounds of the sixteenth century home of Dolores Olmedo Patino

Diego statue in the grounds of Dolores Olmedo museum

In the Sochi Milco district in the south of Mexico City is the sixteenth-century home of Dolores Olmedo, a fabulously wealthy woman who married well, widowed even better and was the mistress and muse of Diego Rivera. Dolores was ‘quite a gal’ – the glamorous, smart, savvy giver of lavish parties who took over her husband’s business after his death and made it and herself even more successful. The house contains the largest collection of pictures by Kahlo and Rivera (and other fine work) which she left to the nation. A magnificent place.

Palace Of Fine Arts  (Palacio de Bellas Artes) & how we nearly didn’t get there

Possibly the finest building in Mexico and outstanding by any standards.

Classic Art Nouveau combined with neo-classical styles on the outside, Art Deco on the inside. Crowned with a glittering orange-yellow tiled dome. Every detail perfect, but the piece de resistance is the Tiffany stained glass curtain that only appears briefly in the interval. This magnificent building houses a variety of shows from high culture to the popular Mexican folk dancing evenings twice a week.

TheEye desperately wanted to see the Tiffany curtain expecting to leave after a short dose of whirling and twirling Mexican kitsch. But we hadn’t bargained for International Women’s Day, which is taken very seriously in Mexico City. The police were out in force, bearing plastic shields. Shops, statues and fountains were boarded up but still heavily graffitied.

Allowing plenty of time for the journey in order to see the building and interior at our leisure, we found ourselves in gridlocked traffic barely moving and an aggressive angry crowd overspilling into the roads. Should we turn back – we asked each other and our nervous, but valiant, driver? We twisted and turned in and out of sidestreets, made U-Turns and hung on. Praying.

With about 5 seconds to spare, we made it and in our makeshift Spanish instructed the driver where to pick us up at the end.

I loved the whirling and the energy and the fantastic costumes.

Some of my small group did not. Too noisy, too many people taking photos (me!!), too this and too that, but TheEye was in the mood to be happy and nothing would stop her.

A great evening and back to the hotel (a clear run – no traffic at all) to be up early for our last day in M.C. and off to Puebla in the morning, famous for its Colonial architecture and Cathedral. We were going to see an awful lot of Cathedrals over the next couple of days.




  1. Thank you so much – such a vibrant, visual and alternative travel guide – inspired to go to Mexico City!

    • Janice Blackburn April 26, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      Thanks Denise for your much appreciated comments and delighted your trip to India was a great success and just in time. Please follow my journeys from years gone by.
      NO PASSPORT, NO SUITCASE, NO HASSLE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL WITH ‘THEEYE’. Coming soon to a computer near you.

  2. Wow Jan- you have given us so much pleasure with your colorful stories…it is particularly interesting for me as we have just shown a contemporary Mexican artist in the gallery – Carlos Amorales…..You made his surroundings real for me. will continue to read the rest of the series – in fact, will gobble it all up!! Take care and stay safe

    • Janice Blackburn April 13, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Your words make me happy and smile. I will check Carlos Amorales out. There was wonderful ceramics in the gallery we visited in Pueblo and maybe he was one of them. OAXACA will be Wednesday or Thursday – I am still writing. I will send some great photos Josh took of London. It’s all so unbelievable. After Mexico I will have a short break and start working on past adventures going back several years. Keep well xx How is Lloyd? xx

  3. Felicity Osborne April 11, 2020 at 8:14 am

    What a blast of energy – your’s! You do get to do it all whatever the obstacles. Lucky for us. Such a wonderful tour of magnificent buildings/art & street life. All SO vibrant & colourful & uplifting . Thanks X

  4. DearJanice – what an absolute blast of colour, freshness, perspective and joy in this stuttering world. Thank you!
    very best wishes.

  5. Very interesting and colourful trip, ( no pun intended). It’s been a while since I’ve been to Mexico..looking forward to reading more. Stay healthy and safe! 😘

  6. The blog is back! And as always it made me smile, at times laugh out loud and brought some joy and inspiration. Wishing you well for the rest of the trip!

    • Carola thank you. Making you (and others) smile and laugh out loud is my purpose particularly in these grim times. I am thinking of you in the beauty and serenity of Lake Como doing your good work. How we all look forward to our happy times doing water aerobics and having coffee afterwards at 202. Was it a life time ago, did I dream it or am I dreaming this horror?
      There will be three Mexico blogs. We had such a great trip….until the end.
      But I will be re-doing all our other adventures and travels over the years – India, Japan, China and more. So you have belly laughs aplenty to look forward to. Keep happy. ‘theeyye’ x

  7. Oh Janice this is so beautiful – your photographs are so good – I can see where Joshua gets his talent from – it’s in the Genes !!

    Stay well ! Xx Cynthia

  8. felicity Aylieff April 10, 2020 at 8:02 am

    Fabulous! such energy and colour to lift the spirits in these anxious times!

  9. What a wonderful and uplifting virtual trip to Mexico City – the perfect escapism and I am already looking forward to the next part of the journey.💕

  10. Carolyn Goldhill April 10, 2020 at 7:26 am

    Really colourful, interesting blog. I’ll be visiting next year when my daughter moves there and couldn’t hope for a better guide than The Eye! Can’t wait to read more!

  11. A wonderful colourful vibrant post. A welcome virtual trip away. Thankyou.

  12. You bring it to life with your words & photos! That Barragan pink! I want more! Tomorrow! Can’t wait!

  13. Sounds like a fab trip,
    Amazing museums which are worth the detour, as the Michelin would say.

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