Mexico – Day 10

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The main retable behind the alter of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, in Mexico City.

The silence in the raking morning light of the cathedral is a rich treat. I went again this morning, just as it opened. To my surprise (I guess it shouldn’t have been) they serve matins everyday. Today I didn’t have the fortitude.

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Templo de San Francisco

But Templo San Francisco was on my list, and so I went there instead. I was told it was one of the oldest churches in Mexico City. After meeting Carlos Dominguez Corona, I realized that I was told wrong. Knowing this really made me feel better because its a very strange place. Essentially it is two separate churches – a baby church and a momma church – cuddled up side by side, and connected together by a passage way through the southern transept of the smaller church. But then the alters are on opposite ends of each other (from one church to the next), and the entry doors to the building didn’t align with an altar (you just walked through the transept).
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My sketch of the floor plan for the two conjoined churches that make up Templo San Francisco.

Which was the old part? I spent a lot of time scratching my head. But then Carlos came into my life. The man was a full time civil engineer and a part time walking encyclopedia of Mexican history. A quick conversation turned into a 5 hour personal walking tour. He took me through churches, and random stores that just happened to be in amazing 18th century mansions, explaining everything as we went along. I bought the man lunch, but he clearly was doing it for the fun of it. At the end he kept prompting me for more questions. He answered everything down to a level of nauseating detail. In short, the church I was looking at was the third built on the site. The others sunk into the ground (Mexico City has some of the worst soil conditions in the world) and had to be demolished, or were destroyed by earthquakes. Good to know.
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I was able to get a picture taken with Carlos. The best part about travelling alone is when locals adopt you!

Later in the day I was lost looking for a museum and got startled as I turned the corner: A phalanx of bloated, intimidating Mexican women with plastic strips stuck all over their faces, sitting out on the side walk. As I ran the gauntlet I realized they were having their eyebrows and facial hair waxed! I couldn’t tell if one woman was angry at me or if someone did a bad job!
Yesterday I saw a pick up truck with a megaphone mounted to the top of the cab. The guy on the other end of the speaker was yelling about something. I looked back and realized it was fruit. He was selling fruit. Right next to a big fancy hotel.
There are 152 museums in Mexico City. One of them is dedicated to shoes, and has pairs ranging anywhere from the 16th century to the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Mexico…. I can´t get enough of this place.
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