Monday, July 09, 2018

The Market of Frogs; Museo Amparo

I had a nice, quiet weekend wandering through the market of frogs.  Yes, really but sadly nary a frog to see.  The place is called Mercado de los Sappos, the whole are is a filled with pastel alleyways with antique shops, and little open air markets.  Lots of little vendors selling crafts, books, candies and street musician performers playing all sorts of tunes ranging from traditional Mexican music to an opera singer doing bel canto.  I spent Saturday afternoon wandering in and out of the market, and had an incredible street-side flan sold by an old woman.

I also sat around the festive Zocalo, drinking coffee and reading Treasure Island and Don Quixote.

On Sunday, I made my way to the Museo Amparo. On my way, I saw a little line of people waiting outside a churro shop called Antigua Churreria.  My rule is generally if I see a line filled with locals, I get in it.  It was a wise move, the churros were excellent.  Hot and crispy on the outside but doughy on the inside and covered with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar.  Even better at 4 pesos (20cents) a churro.  I grabbed a churro and a bolo de Berlin, a tiny creme filled dough ball at the same price.  Yum.

And on to the Museo Amparo.  Thankfully the museum is free on Sunday and Monday.  The Museo Amparo hosts a stellar collection of pre-Colombian artifacts.  The museum has been restored and is quite modern and accessible.  And the collection of artifacts is profound.  The exhibits draw through the various stages of indigenous life in the region with incredible artifacts to illustrate the life cycle events, religious touchstones and daily environment of a world long gone.

I am always taken with places whose history I can still see around me, like how I can see faces in statues behind the glass then walk outside and see the same faces today.  I was struck by one statue of a person with an under-nose ring, which are quite popular these days--I don't think the fashionistas would make the connection.

The museum's collection was excellent, and it had some engaging exhibits on the second floor related to design, space and architecture from an art collective.  Also a wonderful exhibit of 19th century Spanish colonial decorative art and furnishings.

And more importantly, the museum had a stellar view of the city from above on its cafe on the roof.  I liked the view so much that I went home for lunch and came back with my camera to snap some pics.

I liked the museum enough that I returned this Monday afternoon, since it was still free today and also because it was so profound I needed another day to try to absorb the collection of pre-Colombian art.

After the museum, I spent the afternoon
wandering through the bustling streets and street fairs just flanneuring it up and people watching in passing.

In the evening, I had a nice chat in Spanish with my apartment host, Gerardo, who is a young lawyer here in Puebla.  He is involved in cases of indigenous rights and democratic activism, and we had a good chat rights here in Mexico and how Mexico's indigenous past is celebrated while at the same time its indigenous present is disregarded.

Today I just job-hunted, and did some laundry.  I forgot how fast the midday sun can dry clothes.  The highlight of my day, besides returning to the museum, was the cemita (Pueblan sandwich) I had for lunch of mole poblano with chicken in the giant seeded bun with the string quesillo cheese.  It was enormous and stellar.  The chocolate-spiced sauce with chicken was delicious in the hollowed-out brioche bun, and the quesillo gave it some added texture.  Mole mole, how well you grind....

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