Less Chaotic and easier to navigate than I imagined, Mexico City was full of surprises.
This first thing I did right was to take a walking/eating tour that allowed me to sample the local street food.
Although handicapped by my Pescetarianism, I was able to take full advantage of the city’s classic popular dished like, tamales, burritos and tacos that were better than what you can get at the best Mexican restaurant in America. I got to see the blue and white corn tortillas and tacos handmade in their full traditional glory and the experts combine the fresh ingredients like, cactus, octopus, lime, queso fresco, beans and sauces that seem to just taste better since they came from a plastic bucket. And, while I ate (and I ate it all), I got to walk and tour the city while listening to my guide bring me through the regional food history from what the Aztecs ate to how the Spanish invasion changed their diets forever. I did my tour with Eat Mexico and I would definitely check it out if you find yourself in Mexico City.
The Frida Kahlo house and museum, the Art Deco buildings of the Condesa neighborhood, the cafes and restaurants in La Roma, and the splendid Eurpean-ish historic downtown were some of the highlights, but I only spent a few days in the city.
And, of course, the reason why I went there: The world-class antique flea markets.
I found these weekend markets bursting with inspirational artifacts with backdrops literally glistening with game-changing mirrors and chandeliers, folk artwork specific to that small part of the world, doors from what I imagine would have been to open grand and historic abodes, plus all the mundane objects that have been woven in and out of Mexican lives throughout the last 100 years.
I found what I was looking for the first three minutes I entered the antiques flea market that is held on Saturdays at the Plaza del Angel, Londres 161. I went to Mexico searching for Milagros (also known as an ex-voto or dijes or promesas), which are religious folk charms traditionally used for healing purposes and as votive offerings in Mexico. Brought from the Spanish to the New World, they can be found attached to altars, shrines, and sacred objects found in places of worship. I immediately saw these tiny representations of people’s prayers and snatched as many as I could.
My favorite two, so far, are the heart and the eyes, which I think of as symbolic of love and insight. Their strong historic and cultural significance meshed with the mystical, spiritual and talismanic properties will fit nicely into our jewelry line. The other flea market, La Lagunilla Mercado, offered a bevy of keys and lace that are also being re-worked and will make the Mexico collection deep and rich, like the country itself.