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Three Perfect Days: Mexico City

One of the world’s biggest cities is bursting at the seams with energy, culture, great food and enough surreality to keep it endlessly fascinating

Author Joe Keohane Photography Holly Wilmeth

Lifting the lid on an artful dish (baby corn in coffee mayonnaise) at upscale eatery Pujol

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The world’s richest man opens D.F.’s newest museum

Mexico City has no shortage of great museums, but none has inspired more buzz than Museo Soumaya, a shining, top-heavy $70 million structure in Polanco showcasing the personal collection of one Carlos Slim Helú: the world’s richest man. Named in honor of Slim’s late wife, who kindled his love of art, and designed by his son-in-law, the museum contains some 66,000 items, including Picassos, da Vincis, Renoirs and Rodins (most notably a version of The Kiss). Slim — whose net worth clocks in at more than $74 billion — claims he erected this temple not to show off that he has the means to amass such a collection, but for a purer reason. “All desirable things,” he has said, “must be accessible.”

The guilty pleasures of lucha libre

Lowbrow, melodramatic and often hilarious, lucha libre is second only to soccer in the hearts of Mexican sports fans. Of course, it’s less sport than it is frenetic, muscular soap opera. Rudos (bad guys) and técnicos (good guys), clad in colorful masks and attended by beautiful women, clash in a series of elaborately scripted battles, while a rowdy all-ages crowd representing all points along the socioeconomic spectrum bellows its support. The fans at ringside tend to go for the técnicos, while those up in the cheap seats throw their support behind the rudos, particularly when the latter gang up on their goody-goody opponents, as they’re prone to do. Matches can be caught on Fridays and Tuesdays at the Arena Mexico or on Sundays at the Arena Coliseo, and tickets (and masks) are available online.

The inside scoop from those in the know

Grant Cogswell
“Be sure to try pulque, the Aztecs’ smoothie-like sacred beverage, at La Hija de los Apaches in the Doctores neighborhood, where retired lightweight boxer Epiphanio ‘Pifas’ Leyva warmly caters to students, punks, workers and grandmothers like an extended family.”

David Lida
“Have lunch at a cantina in El Centro for a true D.F. experience. At most cantinas, traditional food comes free with your drinks. At La Mascota, children and grandparents are welcome.”

Rose Mary Salum
“One of the buildings downtown that surprises me is the Secretaría de Educación Pública. It was built during the 16th century, but between 1923 and 1928 it was decorated, mainly by Diego Rivera, with some of the most magnificent murals you can find in Mexico City.”

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One Response to “Three Perfect Days: Mexico City”

  1. Eric Mazur Says:
    November 9th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I noticed that the last three “Three Perfect Days” articles are not available in pdf format (the last one was Stockholm). I do have the Hemispheres iPad app, but I don’t usually walk around foreign cities with my iPad in my hand. It’s nice for reading, but not for sightseeing. Nor do I have international data roaming plans that permit me to pull up the web based versions while traveling overseas.

    Could I convince you to continue the practice of posting the pdf versions in addition to tall the other dissemination?

    I really love the articles and have followed the recommendations of many of your Three Perfect Days articles — with a printed copy in my hands!

    Eric Mazur
    Professor of Physics
    Harvard University

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