Today we said goodbye to Mexico City and goodbye to Diego Rivera who seems to have been with us for most of our time in the city.
We started off with breakfast, trying a few words and pointing at things on the counter created a very tasty bean, cheese and avocado sandwich.
We had another quick look in the cathedral but it still didn’t grab us; the main targets this morning were murals. The Supreme Courts of Justice are a large four storey building with a large stair-case in each corner. The walls of each staircase have been painted by a different artist. The first two are large-scale historical works, the third has huge faces of people, particularly children which are both simple and poignant at the same time. The faces are those of people struggling for justice. The most impressive was the last, it mixed themes of revolution, the holocaust, imprisonment and torture, the top floor windows were blocked by representations of riot police. Unfortunately no cameras were allowed.
Next was the Ministry of Education which has 120 wall panels by Diego Rivera. The scale of the work and breadth of subjects is incredible. Each image deserves close study, his style is flowing and fluent, figures appear out of almost abstract swirls and curves. His politics are never far from the surface, red stars and hammers and sickles abound; one image of a ‘Capitalist Meal’ leaves you in no doubt where his sympathies lie.
Time for a quick coffee before returning to the hotel to check out and catch a bus to Puebla. It seems to take forever to leave Mexico City, the traffic and endless small houses eventully petered out and we climbed into pine covered hills, in the distance dramatic clouds swirled around snow-peaked mountains.
The traffic was bad on the way into Puebla and the subsequent taxi ride which took us to our hotel.
Short walk to the Zocalo to get our bearings and time for a quick meal. We had a couple of local specialities. Tlacoyo are fried corn cakes with avocado, cheese and red or green chilli sauce and some fried cheese. The guide also asked for a couple of samples of local mole sauces for us to try. These are rich dark sauces that meats and vegetables are roasted in; each area has its own versions. Dinner was washed down by some local craft beers – very fine.
Finally the highlight of the day – Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling). The Puebla Arena holds about 300 people but it sounds like 10 times as many. The wrestlers are in teams of three and the bouts last three rounds each. For each fight one team of three are Tecnicos, skillful and playing by the rules, the other are the Rudos, the bad guys who cheat the most and seem to win more often (it seemed like the referee is on their side). One side of the arena roots for each team. Rules seem to be vague at best, the number of fighters in the ring varies from two to six and sometimes there are multiple fights going on at the same time inside and outside the ring. It’s very well choreagraphed and executed and great fun.