Phillip Smith

Mexico: Day Two, Mexico City. San Angel, Coyoacan, and La Condessa.

A park in the San Angel district of Mexico City. Photo: Phillip Smith.

Zona Rosa never sleeps and neither did I.

I'm up, but Saturday is already half over. Yikes! Gather my belongings and my wits, consult my options for the day – today is the day for markets in Mexico City. I'm off.

The first destination is the San Angel district for the Bazar Sabado in Plaza de San Jacinto. It's a lovely spot full of rambling cobblestone streets and a large central plaza full of vendors selling mostly art and hand-made crafts. I duck into a little taqueria and over lunch I make a note to come back again and to bring a camera.

Next, I'm off to Coyoacan. There is a rumour about good artisanal markets there too. I ask for directions. Nothing is as close as it looks on a map in Mexico City. The directions involve at least one minibus, if not two; I think about it for a minute, then I take a taxi.

The taxi drops me in front of a huge shopping mall. Not quite what I was looking for… but, hey, why not? I take a spin through the mall. It's very upscale. I think I saw a Prada store on my way out. I get new directions and head along Calle Mexico toward destinations unknown.

It's a sunny warm afternoon and the city is still quiet from the Christmas holidays. I pass the Viveros Coyoacan, another of the enormous and well-appointed parks that I've come across. A wrong turn here and there and I stumble on La Casa Azul, the birthplace of Frida Kahlo. I take a break in the courtyard and absorb some sun before heading off in search of the Leon Trotsky museum (which I'm not destined to find this day).

A short walk away along Avendida Miguel Hildago I find the centre of Coyoacan, near Jardin Plaza Hildago. Old narrow streets open into several blocks of connecting squares and gardens, all of which are filled with activity: vendors, musicians, food stands, an open-air theatre and much more. I spot a congregation of tents and political information – perhaps part of the Occupy movement here? I'm not sure. At the far end of all this is the Kiosko de Coyoacan, a two-floor building filled with crafts and food shops. I could easily spend a whole day exploring this part of Coyoacan, but it's dark now and I head back to Zona Rosa.

Old friend from Argentina, Clare, tells me that, similar to Buenos Aires, people eat late in Mexico City. We arrange to grab a bite at 10 PM. I walk from Zona Rosa to La Condesa along Avendia Oaxaca passing several hopping "Cervezarias" as I skim along the edge of Parque Espania. The streets here are not on a grid and it's easy to get turned around; I end up on Tamaulipas, a long stretch of "fresa" (slang for roughly 'hipster' and 'posh') bars and restaurants. I wind my way back to Nuevo Leon and to the small oasis that has been built at the corner Mexicali in front of the restaurant Bacan.

A bottle of Escorihuela Gascon brings back memories of Argentina and sends me on my way home.


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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