A concha bread and two mangoes. I love how when you buy bread or pastries at the panaderia, each individual piece is wrapped in a square of thin waxy paper, which the clerk folds once around the bread, holds by the two open corners and then deftly spins to create a wrapper that won't unwind until you get home.
I was hoping to find time to draw in Mexico City - on other visits it's been pretty spotty, because there never seemed to be enough time. But I think another advantage of staying in an apartment, as well as having been to the city quite a few times before, was that we took more time to hang out at home and in our neighborhood or in cafes. I tried to take my sketchbook with me all the time, but I actually did more work at the apartment, continuing the still life drawings I've been working on for several years. Here's a first installment.
A rooftop terrace cafe overlooking the Templo Mayor - I need to add some color to this one.
We had intended to visit the archaeological site of the excavated Templo Mayor, just to the northeast of the Zocalo, on this particular day but it was hot, closing time was near, and rain threatened, so we opted for a rooftop beer and chips with guacamole; we stayed for an hour on this very pleasant terrace, with its own rooftop garden of cacti and succulents, watching the storm clouds advance over the city from the west.
Still life with agapanthus and the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Flowers are incredibly inexpensive in the city, and available from kiosks on many neighborhood streetcorners. This was a huge bouquet of blue agapanthus and orange astroelmaria; it cost $6.00 and the vendor mixed the two types of flowers and cut the thick stems for me with a machete -- it lasted the entire two weeks we were there. The Virgin candle was a little metal tin filled with pink rose-scented wax, since roses were the sign by which she manifested herself to Juan Diego in 1531. I bought it at the supermarket and lit it during the surgeries of two friends back in the U.S. that took place while we were there; it's a ritual of ours to light a candle when remembering friends or family in particular need, and since the Virgin is sacred and omnipresent in Mexico City, it seemed appropriate.
A garden at the Castlillo Chapultepec, with a giant agave, and the city beyond.
Although we'd never been there before, we visited Chapultepec Castle -- former home of the ill-fated Emperor Maximilian -- twice. On this first visit, we climbed up the winding path through the woods to discover a rather unattractive castle on spectacular grounds, with a commanding view of the city. I had wanted to do a lot more drawing there but it didn't happen until I returned to Montreal; I'm working on some now. I do have some good pictures to show you - it was a fascinating place.