They wanted to make sure I got to see lots of Mexico while I was in the country and once the Dexterity training started, there would be very limited time.
The day started a little later, which was good after such a busy day yesterday. José and I walked from the hotel to the park in front of Chapultepec Castle where we met Mariano. We then walked through the park and up to the castle which is situated on a hill.
The castle is the only royal castle in North America that was actually used as the residence of a sovereign: the Mexican Emperor Maximilian I, and his consort Empress Carlota, lived there during the Second Mexican Empire.
It is now the National History Museum and contains lots of artefacts and information about the turbulent history of Mexico.
Just a quick side note, if you saw Baz Luhrmann’s movie version of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet you might recognise this beautiful building as the Capulet Mansion.
After viewing the castle we walked along the wide avenue which runs from the castle through the city, the Paseo de la Reforma. This took us to the stunning Angel of Independence monument which was created to celebrate the centenary of Mexican Independence. There is a mausoleum at its base which we were able to walk through to pay our respects. It is possible to get to the view platform at the top, just below the golden angel, but that must be organised in advance with the authorities.
That completed another day of sightseeing and now it was time to get some rest before the Dexterity training started on Monday.
On Tuesday night, after the training, José decided to take me and a couple of the out of town attendees from the training course to soak up some real Mexican culture…. in the form of Mexican Wrestling. My prior “experience” of Mexican Wrestling was entirely based on the Jack Black movie from 2006, Nacho Libre. This was not the best movie ever, but at least I knew a hint of what to expect.
I had seen Mexican Wrestling masks for sale and I knew that the character portrayed by the wrestlers is probably more important than their technical skills in the ring (which is a boxing type square).
To give you a taste of the mayhem and noise that makes up Mexican Wrestling here is a video from the night. There was a lot of acting and some fantastic choreographed sequences in what was a fun night.
Mexican Wresting in Mexico City (direct link)
On Wednesday night we had a change of pace and visited Coyoacán. This is an historic town which has a very strong Spanish heritage. It actually felt like you were walking through the streets of Barcelona (except for the odd Mexican flag).
The fountain and the park in the centre of town depicts two drinking Coyotes, which is what gave the town its name. While there we went to a food hall area where there was a gentleman making pancakes. The difference was that you could ask for him to make anything with the pancake.
Check out the video of the pancakes being made:
Fancy Pancakes at Coyoacán in Mexico City (direct link)
On Thursday night (1st October), we visited Tlatelolco in the north of México City. We went to an area called Plaza de las Tres Culturas. The square is flanked by three cultures: Aztec, Spanish and modern Mexico. There are the remains of Aztec temples on one side, with the Catholic church of Santiago de Tlatelolco on another and a modern era housing complex on a third side. The church looks like it was built to match the Aztec temples as it is built from the same stones…. exactly the same stones. Sadly, much of the Aztec ruins where dismantled to built the church.
This area also has significance in modern history as it was the site of a student demonstration in 1968 which ended in a massacre by the authorities which hundreds killed and injured. There is a memorial on the south side of the plaza, to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the events of 2nd October 1968.
On Friday, we finished the class materials and had time for questions and answers and also to review any topics the attendees wanted. We also took a photo of the attendees outside the office building.
Attendees from the Dexterity training.
From left: Julian Olave, Alberto Rodriguez, Gilberto Sosa, Marcos Cristales, Mariano Arias*, Karina Zapata, David Musgrave, Deneb Ortega, Jose Ramirez, Mario Rodriguez.
Absent: Horacio Tena
The next day was Saturday morning and time for me to leave Mexico and return to the United States for the next part of my trip. After being dropped off at the airport by a taxi, I caught a flight to San Francisco.
Thanks to everyone who made me feel welcome in Mexico and especially my hosts, Mariano Arias and José Ramírez from Axentit.
* Mariano did not actually do the training, but wanted to be in the photo. 🙂
This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.