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Monday, April 30, 2012

Linda Santana's Graduate Research in Mexico City

Mexico City (Post One of Three)
For the second half of my graduate research in Mexico, I visited Mexico City for three weeks from April 3rd to April 23rd.  As the plane descended into the Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, I saw curious purple dots that lined the streets.  Upon arrival, I learned that the purple dots were jacarandas, a tree that abounds in Mexico City and flowers every spring.  The jacarandas are a small example of how I felt this first week, everything felt so familiar yet strangely magical.

Mexico city is the largest in this hemisphere, a vast urban sprawl of about 9 million people, and as one of the other guests at my hotel pointed out, the city has a larger population than the entire country of Australia.  I was nervous and expecting to feel insignificant and lost upon arrival, but my stay in the historic and tranquil district of the La Condesa quickly changed my opinion.  Everyone was helpful and friendly, and I quickly learned my way around walking and taking advantage of the city’s great public transportation.
My art history professor, Dr. Kelly Donahue-Wallace gave me an incredible list of places to visit and on the first day I went to the National History Museum in the Castle of Chapultepec, the only royal castle in the Americas.  This week I also visited the central historic district including the Zócalo and the Metropolitan Cathedral,  Frida Kahlo’s blue house in Coyoacán,  San Ángel and the ex-convent turned museum of Del Carmen, La Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Diego Rivera’s Murals at the National Secretary of Public Education, the Medical History Museum at the Palace of the Inquisition, the Templo Mayor Museum and ruins, and the murals and temporary exhibit at the National Palace.