Mexico! Part VI: Cuernavaca

Reading this week:

  • Who Killed Hammarskjöld? by Susan Williams

So far on our adventure in Mexico everything had gone perfectly smoothly. Astonishingly smooth. We swung big and hit it out of the park on every attempt. However on this day when we were off to Cuernavaca things got a little shaky. We were off to Cuernavaca because that is where our friends’ wedding was going to be and the wedding was the whole reason we were in Mexico. So we woke up early and had breakfast and packed and called a ride and head off to the World Trade Center very early. Good thing we head out early too because we did not accurately predict how long the traffic would take. But with our buffer, we were fine. Or so we thought.

I had thought the World Trade Center was going to have a bus-stop looking thing but it did not. We talked to our driver about this and he said the busses were in the back, which confirmed my impression from looking at the map and stuff. So there we waited and no bus ever arrived and we were very confused. I tried to find the bus office and failed and we missed our bus. This was very frustrating but eventually we went around the front of the building and with me watching our stuff my super amazing wife finally found the bus office and got us new tickets and figured out where to go. Meanwhile I stewed at my own incompetence. We had Starbucks sandwiches for lunch (surprisingly good) and caught the noon bus and had a perfectly pleasant and scenic ride to Cuernavaca, where we arrived at around 2:30 in the afternoon. From the bus stop we took another ride to the Holiday Inn Cuernavaca, which frankly I can’t recommend enough. Beautiful pool, colorful greenery all around the grounds, and slightly confounding windows lodged in spacious and comfy rooms.

Severely behind my mental schedule, I convinced my super amazing wife that we should try to accomplish in the remaining two hours or so of the day everything I had wanted to do with a full day in Cuernavaca. This we largely pulled off! The first place we were off to was Museo Morelense de Arte Popular, or MMAPO. I had seen MMAPO in the travel guide and thought it was going to be a little rinky-dink place, but it was in fact fantastic. It was pretty small but had a great selection of local art. We of course loved the textiles and I was also drawn to several different versions of a granary which was apparently a local style. When we visited they had a photo series of traditional crafts which included some ceramics. This was nice because my super amazing wife is into ceramics, which is the reason we were at MMAPO. One of the big draws of the place is its gift shop, which features actual local handicrafts. By this point we had been to a couple different markets in Mexico City, and frankly a lot of the stuff was same-same and clearly meant for the tourist trade (we were of course tourists looking to buy tourist things, so this isn’t a criticism). But MMAPO had much more unique stuff and while she got a cool little pot I got a nifty little clay jug. Fun!

From there we went to the Robert Brady house which, wow, talk about gorgeous. Oh to be rich and have artist friends. I think his house is about how I would decorate if I had unlimited funds and also if I could get it all done while my super amazing wife was gone for a week or two. Just jam-packed with different art pieces from around the globe arranged into different thematic rooms with different colors where he housed various visiting friends. Sunken bars overlooking pools and airy bedrooms that were cool and inviting on a hot day. Works by Frida Khalo crammed into corners and recesses filled with statues and tile bathtubs to die for, all surrounding a garden courtyard thing. Ugh fantastic. Well worth the price of admission and if only I could live there. But I could not so next we went around the block to Jardin Borda. More just fantastical and fantastically laid out gardens in picturesque pathways and the tree nurseries of my dreams. If you climbed the back wall you got a fantastic view over the town and across to the mountains that lined the valley, providing a backdrop to the jacaranda trees blooming while we were there. I also almost got attacked like a duck and had to dance like in an old western movie to avoid being nipped until I could run away. We sought refuge in the art display they also had in the grounds and then head out.

Robert Brady’s poolside lounge.

We were off to take a glance at the Palacio Cortes but then noticed the Cathedral was actually open so I dragged us in there. There were some murals I had wanted to look at but as we were wandering around we were accosted by a tour guide. I did actually want someone to show me around so I took him up on the offer, thinking he would ask like 20 pesos afterwards and I would kindly give him 50. The actual price was 300 pesos, but I have spent more money on dumber stuff. It was an alright tour. I think he was a little drunk but he was enthusiastic about the place and it was very cool to see the indigenous influences on the Cathedral (and other associated churches? Very confused about how they are all related, seems like a colleges/university thing, but I dunno, religion is weird, and hoo boy did the Spanish like putting up churches) and also they had some sheep there mostly as a display but we always like sheep. So that was a nice time.

Jardin Borda

After exiting the Cathedral we finally glanced at the Palacio Cortes and after much effort got a ride back to the hotel where we recovered from a very interesting day. There was great food at the hotel and we collapsed asleep. The next day would bring more wonderful if trying adventures.