What’s Happening in the Square

Wednesday after class, we made plans to go to the Zocalo -Plaza de la Constitution.  We hailed a taxi in front of the school.  It took an hour across the city to get there – a lot of traffic around that time.  Myself, Genita, Kathy and Larissa (friend that Kathy met in the dorm) piled into the taxi.  I sat up front.  I always enjoy practicing my Spanish with the taxi drivers. We finally arrived and got out of the taxi and walked toward the square.

We saw a huge white tent – I think it was some kind of promotion where you paid to look at new electrical equipment.  The tent was so big, it took up part of the square. Kind of spoiled the affect of it all.  Then as we went past the tent, we saw a ton of police in riot gear.  In the center of the square was someone speaking on top of a bus with a microphone.  It was a teacher strike that had been ongoing for several weeks.  There were lots of people milling about. I have never seen so many police gathered together.  We were kind of nervous and walked in front of them to get to the Catedral Metropolitana.  Every side street was also filled with police and most carried their plastic shields. We managed to get into the Catedral but I don’t think it was the main section.  We walked around and then went out the back door.

We went into this part of the church.

Time To Eat

We were looking for a restaurant as we hadn’t eaten lunch yet and it was about about 3:30. After going back and forth about where to eat, we decided on a place called, “Pata Negra” in English – black duck.  There was hardly anyone there – which wasn’t a great advertisement but we were happy to be away from the what was going on in the square. I ordered a calamari sandwich on a baguette.  I put a lot of hot sauce on it and it was pretty good. It was a very warm afternoon so it was nice just to sit and relax while we ate lunch.

Kathy, Ginita and Dianne at the Negra Pata

While we were eating we saw police putting away their gear and many were walking down the street in normal police uniforms. We guessed the threat of riot was over.


We finished up lunch and headed back toward the square. We wanted to see Diego Rivera’s murals in the Presidential Palace. When we got there we were told that it was closed.  Museums are suppose to stay open on Wednesday but they might have been closed early because of the strike.  Here is a little information about Zocalo:


Zocalo was once the main center of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. It takes up the whole city block and is among the largest square in the world where people gather for civic and cultural events and celebrations throughout the year. The National Palace  lies east of the Zocalo and is the very site where the palace of the Aztec ruler, Montezuma once stood. It also houses the president’s quarters, the treasury and a botanical garden.

The National Palace

After we found out the national Palace was closed we walked over to the information booth to find out about the Templo Major.  The Templo Major is an Aztec temple discovered in the heart of Mexico City. This was the most important religious area for the Aztecs. The historic complex of the Temple Major and its museum is a  UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, the museum was also closed. We did take a few photos of the site from the outside.

Ruins of the Templo Major
Beautiful door on the square
Colorful buildings near the Temple Mayor

Next Street Over

From there we could see there was another side we might be able to photograph so we walked down a main street and went up the side street.  There were lots of people just sitting and looking at their cell phones.  We walked to the end of the street.

We walked down this street behind the Zocalo
Back view of the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

I took a photo of the Cathedral from the back which was across from the Temple Major ruins. We discovered an interesting building which was originally a convent.  We were allowed to go inside.  Evidently the building use to be a convent but there were only ruins left in the courtyard..


I took a few photos then the guard came running out and told me I couldn’t use my camera but I had already taken a few.  We left this building and went to the next building and from there you could go upstairs and see the courtyard from up above.

We continued our walk back down the street and came upon an art building.  When we went inside we saw unusual wolf marionettes and one deer marionette.  They were made from all kinds of scrap materials.  I took a close up of the face of one of the wolves.

The art of the wolves are connected to conservation efforts to save them.
Wolf marionette hanging from the ceiling.
Ceiling design inside the building entrance
This bell was in the entrance of the building

Returning To the Homestay

We finished exploring the building and Ginita  and I decided we had to leave.  We said good by to Kathy and Larissa and went down the next street trying to find our way out of the tourist area.  There were a lot of people and vendors.

Lunch time on the street.
Beautiful church dome

We continued down the heavily populated street  and finally found a cross street where we could hail a taxi.  We tried hailing several taxis and they all said no but finally we found one willing to drive us to where we needed to go. We were happy to be on our way back to our house.  At this time of day there was a lot of traffic.  Everyone trying to get home after work. According to the Traffic Index of 2016, Mexico City is ranked #1 in traffic congestion. Supposedly our house was only 6 miles from the school but most of the time during rush hour, it would take more than an hour to get back. It certainly limited our sight seeing time because we didn’t want to be late for dinner which was 7:30. We got out of school at 2PM and to get anywhere it usually was 30 minutes to 45 minutes.  We always had to start leaving around 6:30 to get back by dinner.

It looked like  rain and by the time we got back inside the house it was beginning to rain.. Looking out of the window, I saw all these little birds sitting on the wire and hiding in some nearby trees. I thought it would be interesting to get some shots of all the birds on the electrical lines. I ran up to the roof and got this photo as well as the next ones from my window.

Birdie togetherness on the wire
clinging to the tree.


Two little birdies

It was time for dinner.  Our hostess was late but finally arrived at 8 pm. I remember  we had spaghetti soup and vegetables . The soup was unusual as it was like eating spaghetti in a runny red sauce. Ginita and I bought some French rolls and so we enjoyed those with our dinner. Well, it was time to work on my blog and hopefully a restful night.  Much to my dismay, I woke up at 4am with mosquitos buzzing around my ear and my hand itching. I got up and put repellant on but then could not get back to sleep. So I was up by 6 am not not feeling my best for another full day of class and sight seeing activities.

5 thoughts

  1. Great post and excellent pictures. To help your Spanish “Pata Negra” can also mean “Black Paw”. I’m not sure how it was used in the restaurant. “Pata” can be the feminine of “pato” which is duck or it can refer to the foot of an animal. Some people use “pata” to describe a human foot, but it’s usage is incorrect and can be considered an insult to some people. 😉


  2. Sounds like busy days Dianne. I want to know how your Spanish is coming along?? Sounds like Norbert knows his stuff!! Rhe pictures of area buildings are very colorful and interesting. I liked to hear about the history of some of the places you visited too. Of course the photos are marvelous. Keep ’em coming. Judy


  3. Did your home stay host eat with you and Kathy? Great photos of Mexico City. There’s a restaurant in Charlottesville called Zocalo where we’ve eaten a couple times.


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