Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without Hyde Park in
Across the entrance to the Museum of Anthropology, you can watch the Voladores (flyers) perform an ancient ritual where five men in colorful traditional costumes and headdresses climb a 150 ft. pole, tie their ankles to ropes wound around the top of the pole and then throw themselves backwards into the air.
While the rope unwinds and they slowly “fly” upside down and in a circular motion towards the ground, the 5th man who is left at the top plays the ceremonial flute until the voladores reach the ground. The rope unwraps itself 13 times for each of the four flyers, symbolizing the 52 years of their century.
It is almost hypnotizing to watch them circle the pole in a kaleidoscope of color accompanied by the haunting tune from above. I watched the whole "dance" twice, once before entering the museum, and again before continuing on to explore the rest of the park.
A volador in traditional garb accepting donations
After we watched the voladores, we strolled around the park in search of the Castillo de Chapultepec, an 18th century castle which sits on the summit of a hill which was once the home of Emperor Maximillian of Hapsburg and now houses the Museo Nacional de Historia. Along the way we passed vendors selling all sorts of stuff: food and refreshments, balloons, toys, cotton candy, souvenirs, tiny potted cacti and even flip-flops.
We watched boaters on the lake and munched on cheese puffs with chili sauce. The locals love to squirt chili sauce on everything, even popcorn. There were stands that offered munchies that came in all shapes and colors (see bottom right pic on the collage below), which were popular among the young folk. The climate couldn't have been more perfect, it was sunny with a crisp cool breeze. The park was abuzz with people but there were also many quiet pockets here and there. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we didn’t notice the time and when we finally reached the Castle, it was too late go in. Again, something left for the next time. :)
Up next: No quiero taco bell! (the food post)