Friday, May 5, 2017

Cinco de Mayo in Mexico City

Avenue Cinco de Mayo on...Cinco de Mayo

I realized last week that I was going to be in Mexico on Cinco de Mayo and I hadn’t extended my reservation. Not wanting to be thrown out on the streets during a major national holiday, I went to the front desk of my lodging and explained my fears to the young woman who had been extending my reservations for the last 5 weeks and she basically said, “No problem.”

Turns out that I needn’t have worried, because Cinco de Mayo is NOT a national holiday. Who knew?

While I never need an excuse or occasion to enjoy Mexican food, even the smallest towns in the United States that boast a Mexican restaurant seem to get into the spirit of margarita pitchers and tables full of food on May 5. Not here in Mexico City, however.

May 5 is not, as many Americans suppose, Mexico’s Independence Day – the equivalent of our 4th of July. No, it is the date in 1862 when Mexico won the Battle of Puebla against French troops. Puebla is about 80 miles south of Mexico City.

There is a street leading right off the zocalo, the city’s huge main square, called Avenida 5 de Mayo, so the battle is not entirely unimportant. In fact, a nearby street is named 16 de Septiembre, which is the actual date celebrated for Mexico’s Independence from Spain, and another in the general area is 20 de Noviembre for the Mexican Revolution.

So it’s obviously one of the top few heavyweight important dates in Mexican history, it’s just that Mexico’s citizens aren’t celebrating it with nachos and margaritas in restaurants all over town. Except, presumably, in Puebla.

The street itself wasn't that busy when I passed by it in the morning, though there were multiple police directing traffic at the intersection, as you can see in the photo at the top of this post. However, it did get backed up a bit at one point, as you can see here. 

Because there was actually something going on in the zocalo, as it happens.

There was a protest, with banners telling the
President of Mexico to resign because he has raised the price of gas by 20%. This has led to prices of goods like food and clothes being raised due to higher transport costs, so it is having a significant effect on a lot of people.

Other than that, though, the city seemed much the same as usual. I walked around a bit in my usual radius, and did come across one unusual sight, but I don’t know if it had anything particularly to do with Cinco de Mayo. It actually reminded me more of a tiny replica of those Chinese New Year dragon things.

So, no celebrations that I could see. But the time wasn’t wasted, it’s always a pleasure to look at the local art and architecture.

The side of the Army Museum is pretty cool, it’s got statues and busts right outside next to traffic.

I love the Museum of Economics building. 

And the Palace of the Mines, which is one of my favorites.

I even love the random buildings that are down side streets.

Some because of eye-catching decorations on the exterior…

…or because they look like they’d be great places to work or live. I like the windows on this one.

Although, I have to say, they do colorful modern decor very well here, too.

In other words, just another nice day in Mexico City. It’s
been particularly great lately because the temperatures have dropped for what is supposed to be a rainy several days. It’s still hot enough in the sunshine, but the air is much cooler, so it’s a lot more comfortable.

Which just gives me all the more reason to continue hanging out here. And so I shall.

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