Our first full day, Sunday, in Mexico City brought us to the Alameda Central seeking a late lunch and the Museo Mural Diego Rivera. We found both with unexpected pleasures.
It took us a little while to find a restaurant serving authentic Mexican food. We passed three Burger Kings, two KFCs, a Pizza Hut, and a Krispy Kreme as we walked down the sidewalks lining the Alameda Central. Finally, we spied something that looking interesting. La Trainera beckoned us into its open doors where Jimena Garcia greeted us.
“Are you open for lunch?” I asked.
Jimena answered, “Si, si.”
She brought out a large platter of seafood from which to pick our lunch selection. “I’m sorry I don’t have a menu in English,” she said in impeccable English.
We chose the red snapper, plus lots of other suggestions by Jimena.
The staff spoiled us for eating anywhere else. The minute my glass of Perrier came close to empty, a waiter materialized to fill my glass. We ate the best cerviche so far on our young trip (and still the best we ate while in Mexico). It was stocked full of shrimp, octopus, and a white fish–all cooked. They began bringing dishes of black beans, rice, corn tortillas, guacamole, salsas, moles, and chips. Then the beautiful red snapper broiled with mild crushed red chiles spread on the fish appeared. The best fish I’ve ever had in a restaurant. Jimena told us the restaurant began as a seafood market and expanded to a restaurant. We’re very grateful it did. The meal we ate there ranks as the best meal ever.
We then began our journey through the park of the Alameda Central, which takes its name from alamos or poplar trees, planted there in the Sixteenth Century. The many fountains are interspersed with trees and lavender bushes in full bloom. The park is a gathering place for families on Sunday afternoons. Many of the museums offer free admission so folks can get into see some of the best art of Mexico.
There are several fountains where children and some adults splashed while other family members looked on.
I’m impressed. Here we were in one of the biggest cities in the world, and yet folks have found their community in the middle of it. We’re not sure why, but many folks were wearing red plastic noses and Santa Claus hats. No matter to us why it was happening; it was wonderful to see such abandon by adults, teenagers, and youngsters alike. I’m not sure we have anything like it in the United States.
We continued our journey to the Museo Mural Diego Rivera where Mexico’s favorite artist painted and lived. The museum displays his Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central.
It includes two-self portraits and a portrait of his wife and fellow painter, Frida Kahlo.
As we gazed at the long mural, musicians began setting up in front of it. Eventually, they began a program of music with a flutist, pianist, and two operatic vocalists. They stood in front of the painting and serenaded us with songs all in the beautiful and flowing language of Spanish. After two songs, we went up to the second floor rooms to view paintings by other famous Mexican muralists. As I wandered, I could still hear the music as the upper floor was almost a balcony over the main gallery room.
The chords of a familiar song began, but I was certain it couldn’t really be Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but it was. I went to the balcony railing and looked down upon the two female vocalists standing in front of Rivera’s masterpiece. It was difficult to take a photo because of my tears. The women looked up at me as they sang. I threw them kisses at the end, and they bowed their heads slightly in my direction.
It was the perfect ending to our Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central.