mardi 21 octobre 2014

New York City: The Ultimate BFF Trip

My boy BFF Cisco says I am a Professional Chair Spinner which is kinda true. The reality is that I am a reverse procrastinator; I do all of my work as soon as possible in order to mazimize my chill time. So there I was at work, minding my own business when I got a last minute call that nearly made me faint- "Do you want to come to Fashion Week?"... UM, DUH. Did I mention that the trip was 3 weeks away... and all expenses were paid?! To quote 21st century Philosopher Kim Zolciak, "Thank you, Poppa!"* I have wanted to go to a real show during Fashion Week for as long as I can remember. I have been in Paris during Fashion Week, but I was really just trying to bump into Kanye, not actually get into a show. I have been to London Fashion Weekend and their awesome shows/parties, but I still wanted to go to that one big show. Now it was here and I couldn't believe it was really happening! A few emails back and forth to figure out who, what, when, and where and we were all set. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I enlisted my girl BFF Sonia to join me on this crazy whirlwind adventure.

*Not actually a real person, gross.

We touched down in NYC and met our driver. I totally felt like Izzy Bradshaw being scooped up by Big. My sister has lived in New York for years, so I have been here plenty of times. However, this was the first time I would be in the city and not stay at her place. It felt so weird! I hate change, but this time I let it slide. The hotel we stayed at was the ultra-chic Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC. I totally LOVED it. I mean, look at this view!

Obviously we were starving, so we headed out and had a delicious early dinner at Móle. What about dessert? Ladurée had just opened their new salon in Soho and I was dying to take Sonia! We had already been to Ladurée on a previous trip to New York, back when they had just come to America and opened up in the Upper East Side. I wanted her to have the real experience, though!

Let me just begin by saying that we are complete opposites and somehow this totally works. I could literally eat garbage all day while she is a legit foodie. I sleep on "standy" for like 5 hours, but she needs a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every single night. We are a weird pair, but we are the best. Anyway, I told her about how I lived on champagne and pastries on my last trip to Paris. Now I could finally show her! We both love chocolate and desserts in general, so I knew this would be great. We had their chocolate chaud to warm up. Ugh, it was truly divine! I felt like Willy Wonka in a river of chocolate. It was the creamiest hot chocolate to ever grace my tastebuds. Of course we decided to go ahead and get chocolat wasted and had a Plaisir Sucre. It was so beyond! It's an almond meringue sandwich cake with crushed hazelnuts, crusty praline, thin milk chocolate leaves, chantilly cream and milk chocolate filling. We had to drink tons of water because we had finally met our match.

 That night, we learned that there is indeed a limit on how much chocolate we can consume. Thanks, Ladurée!

Back to our wonderful hotel we went... 

... and the view was even better at night!

They even had a card on our bed when we came back that let us know what tomorrow's weather would be. Ugh, I love them. Can I just live in luxury hotels forever? I was definitely in my zone.

Upon closer inspection, we realized that this said a high of 32 degrees, and a low of 25. Excuse me?! It doesn't end there... you mean to tell me there would be SNOW, too?! 32 degree weather (when I'm freezing at 80), experiencing real snow for the first time in my life, and finally getting into a show... what in the world was going on?! Of course, this is my life and nothing is ever easy. Off to bed we went, bracing ourselves for what the day would bring.

dimanche 19 octobre 2014

Pikachu's Postcards: Moulin Rouge, Paris

My niece loves Pokemon and I said I'd take her Pikachu on my journeys, too. This is a series called Pikachu's Postcards and I will be posting random snaps periodically! Today we travel to the City of Love, where Pika does his best can-can impersonation.

samedi 11 octobre 2014

Teotihuacan: The City of the Gods

Finally! After 20 million posts, we have arrived. I have to admit that I had literally never heard of this place or these pyramids. They were really impressive! Mexico truly has it all. It was really hot and humid, and this place is enormous. We literally spent hours here. There was so much detail everywhere, and it was crazy to see. We also had to go up and down little pyramids just to GET here. Don't they know how lazy I am?

We walked and walked... and walked. Finally, we got to the Pyramid of the Sun aka the Ancient Stairmaster. 

Do you see those specks on the pyramid? Those are people. Hell nah! You know what I didn't do? Climb these pyramids. The steps were very narrow and steep. I don't think so, Tim. I knew that if I climbed to the top there would be no way I was gonna be able to climb down. Why didn't they build a slide? Was I really going to need the aid of a helicopter to rescue me? Yes. So me and a few other in the group sat down and watched everyone else climb up. I wanted to come back alive. Later, we walked down the Avenue of the Dead. 

People in our group decided they still felt like climbing (why?!), so off they went to the Pyramid of the Moon.

No one really knows who built them (aliens), but it doesn't really matter. They are still really awesome and I'd recommend all of you to scope them out. I guess this is where they held ceremonies and stuff, too. To be honest, if there was any place for human sacrifices to happen-- this place was the gnarliest. The Pyramid of the Sun is made of volcanic rock, I mean how cool is that? It is also one of the biggest structures of it's kind in the Western hemisphere. How did I not know this existed?

This was my last day in La Gran Ciudad and I really wish I'd stayed a few more daysMexico City is the safest and friendliest place I have been to, ever. I really enjoyed my time here and can't wait to come back!

vendredi 10 octobre 2014

El Tepeyac: Not Just a Restaurant

Next we went to the Tepeyac. Who knew this was a real place? I just thought it was a restaurant. Terrible Mexican... I really am serious. There is a huge Basilica here and Catholics come from all over the world to visit it. I don't really want to get into what I saw here, but when I asked my mom about it she looked at me like I should have known. Apparently it was common knowledge? I am talking about religious rituals-- nothing creepy, just something I had literally never seen anywhere else. I'm sorry, I am from South Central LA and went to Mexico once when I was like two years old. I never went to church either-- and by that I mean I'd go and play with my Tamagotchi the entire time.  Then, on the way home, I'd buy a soda with the dollar I was supposed to put in the donation hat. Anyway, the Tepeyac is the place where Juan Diego (allegedly) saw the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531. This is why this is such a sacred site for many. Well, I didn't see anything wild like that-- but it was really nice to visit.

jeudi 9 octobre 2014

Stop Ruining My Life

Maria and I got back to the hostel around the same time and she pressured me into joining her at the rooftop bar. I was just gonna have a Coca Light, but she insisted I splash some rum in there. The hostel was having salsa lessons that night. I hope you guys know I can't dance to save my life. Anyway, the hostel had tons of fun things to do. Some nights they had classes to teach you how to make Piñatas or to make guacamole. It was really cute! They also had walking tours-- all free! While I was at the bar I started thinking about the logistics of the concert. It was not as close as I imagined and I didn't want to take a taxi back at night by myself. What was I to do?!

The next morning I woke up super early and guess what! It was raining. Morrissey had cancelled. FREE DAY! I walked back to the store to inquire about a refund and swung by Bellas Artes again. It is still just as pretty in the rain.

I spent the rest of the day chilling extra hard. I didn't really want to do anything or go anywhere. I did end up going shopping at Zara, though. On my way back I saw an ad that said the King Tut exhibit was in town. I had been wanting to see it forever, and to see it here of all places?  I ended up getting lost trying to find the museum because there was tons of construction going on. No King Tut for me! Maria told me she was going to Teotihuacan, so I decided to join her. We had dinner and bought our tickets. She was writing a book about Teotihuacan and had come to see them because she read about them in a book. That is so amazing to me! Off to bed we went, cause we had a long day ahead.

The first stop on our long ass tour was to Tlatelolco, specifically the Plaza de las Tres Culturas. It is called the Plaza of the Tres Culturas to mark the three different cultures juxtaposed here: Aztec, Spanish, and Mestizo. What was amazing to me is that we were able to literally just pull over and walk among ruins. Tlatelolco was a pre-Columbian town and was found buried underneath the grounds of the 17th century Church of Santiago de Tlatelolco. The excavation led them to uncover the remnants of pyramids, platforms, and staircases. It is said that this is the very place that the Aztecs made their final stand against the Spaniards on August 13, 1521. Many of the stones on the pyramids depicted animals, and the trash ass Spaniards destroyed some of the pyramids and used those very stones to build their church. HOW RUDE!

Another important event was the Massacre of 1968, when Mexican soldiers strapped with machine guns and tanks fired into a crowd of 14,000 unarmed students who were protesting the spending on the 1968 Summer Olympics.  The government has only admitted to killing around 40 students, but more reliable sources say the number is in the hundreds. Check out the first name on the list!

We were off to a great start and I was excited for what lay ahead-- PYRAMIDS!

dimanche 5 octobre 2014

Night at the Museum

The next day, I woke up and found that I had a dorm mate! It was a girl from Holland named Maria who was writing a book about Teotihuacan. She didn't speak a word of Spanish but had managed to get to the hostel on her own via the Metro. Girl, what?! Anyway, we decided to get back on the bus and made our way to visit the Museum of Anthropology. I hate anthropology. I know I'm uncultured, but when I go on vacation I'm not interested in dirt and clay pots, bruh. Actually, I'm not interested in that stuff at home, either. It all looks the same to me. I was here to see the Aztec Sun Stone aka the Aztec Calendar aka what all of your cholo cousins have tattooed on themselves. 

They had a kid section that explained what the rings on the calendar represented, and I was shocked to find out the face in the middle (the god Tonatiuh; please don't name your kids this -__-) is holding two hearts! His tongue is a knife, too. This thing is rated M for Mature! It's also not really a calendar. It was a lot bigger than I imaged, and the detail is amazing. I can't even carve a pumpkin! I have truly failed my ancestors.

Maria headed off to Coyoacan to visit the Frida haus. I'm generally not a fan of Frida's art, so I skipped it. It just isn't aesthetically pleasing to me; I do love her story though. Didn't I tell you guys I was a terrible Mexican? It is what it is. So I passed on that and headed to the Museo Soumaya. What can I say about the museum? Um, the building is nice. No, really- see for yourself.

It also has a really nice bathroom.

Mexican Billionare Carlos Slim, who was the richest person IN THE WORLD until very recently, built this museum for his wife Soumaya. His wife was super into art, and he amassed huge collections of various sculptures and paintings during the time they were married. The museum is not all that great, to be honest. Quantity does not equal quality.

"The difference between Carlos's taste in art and mine is that I have some."

Did you know this museum houses the largest Rodin collection outside of France? Apart from Rodin, there are many works by van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Monet, and my fave- Dalí. One of the wings in the museum is almost all Rodin and Dalí, so it was my favorite part.

The next day was my concert! Of course, things always seem to work out for the best (at my expense!).

The Tourist

My first full day found me downstairs having “breakfast” (orange juice) with my fellow hostel mates. In front of the hostel was a stop for a hop on/hop off bus. I only had about 2 full days to explore and wasn’t about to brave the Metro, so I bought a 2 day pass to tour all of Mexico City. I was so excited to see the awesome Palacio de Correos, but we only drove by it. I made a mental note to go back (but I didn’t cause I’m dumb). I love art deco and was happy to see the Palacio de Bellas Artes with my own four eyes. It was a lot bigger than I imagined and soo pretty. I got off here to drink a big bottle of Cielo, people watch, and pick up my festival ticket at Libreria Gandhi. 

I got back on the bus and continued to make my way around the city. To paraphrase French poet André Breton, Mexico City is the most surreal place on Google Earth. I really love people from Mexico, and like a mega creep I follow them around Disneyland just to eavesdrop on their conversations. I really wish my Spanish was on their level. Maybe one day. On this particular trip, I was joined by a group of guys who inexplicably rode this train for fun even though they lived there. I was trying my best not to laugh at the things they said, but failed miserably. 

Mexico City has tons of great architecture and it is really beautiful in general. I really wanted to see El Angel, and it was just as dope as I imagined. One thing about traveling that I enjoy the most is being able to see iconic places and things that I have seen in movies or on TV in person. I have seen the Angel on countless shows in Spanish about chismes, the best kinds. Here I was seeing it in the middle of this crazy intersection. I couldn't believe it. We also drove through Polanco, the ballerific borough. I saw the usual stores- Tiffany's, Vuitton, Cartier- but I was most excited for El Palacio de Hierro, Mexico's version of Le Bon Marché, Saks, Harrods, etc. Basically, I probably couldn't shop here on the regular. I love the building, though. It's the weird triangle shaped one, the one that looks like a piece of cheese.


I still had tons of sightseeing to do, and I realized that I severely underestimated the time needed to scope things out.  I still had one more day left to sightsee, and storm clouds started brewing... literally and figuratively.