This morning we took a little walk to the botanical gardens in Chapultepec. Chapultepec is pretty much the source of all things recreation for us right now and we love it. The gardens were not huge like some others we've been to, but we loved the stained glass in the greenhouse.

We're not really sure what the function of this little pool along the side of the main greenhouse is, but it's pretty. Perhaps its function is to be pretty.

Nopalo cactus. The locals love to eat the tender young parts (after stripping the thorns of course). Brian had some in a quesadilla on the street with some of the Mexicans in the cast, but we think it may have been the source of some recent gastrointestinal distress- nothing too extreme though.

The color of this water has not been digitally enhanced. Perhaps the algae growing in this stream is being farmed by the botanical garden.
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Our new apartment is a very easy walk to Mexico City's great, free zoo. It really is a wonderful zoo with pandas and condors, and great habitats for the animals. We have spent the last two days at the zoo, and Colin loves it (although the for him the animals are classified only as doggies, kitties, or birds.)

When this monkey saw us, it came and crashed into the glass in front of us so he could see us better. It was quite shocking.

Colin likes asking for more animals.

He loved the active spider monkeys.

Very sweet baby monkey.

The baby is on the stomach of the monkey on the right.

I got to hold and feed a rare white baby chimp.
Colin is actually like another exhibit at the zoo. Little girls especially like to stare at him.

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On our walk home from the zoo we saw several groups of these guys in Chapulpetec. Hmm. . . no idea. Since they were running there was no stopping to ask them questions.
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Huge flag

We already posted the second photo, but I think it is better to see just how huge the flag in the middle of the Zocalo really is. Huge I tell you.

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Brian has kept his long hair for opera productions recently. They did not want him to cut it in Tel Aviv, so long it stayed. It probably got even longer than this, since this photo was taken in April. We had heard that the current Barber of Seville he is working on was set in the 70's, so he was going to keep it long to see if he could avoid performing in a wig. But we since found that the opera is set in the 50's, and since Brian wanted shorter hair again anyway, he let the make-up and wig people at the opera cut his hair to look 50's yesterday. Brian thinks it makes him look more Mormon. It's also interesting for him because the cut is designed to be parted only on the left (there is almost a kind of combover element)- Brian finds this perplexing as all of his other haircuts have been bilateral. He can't really complain though because he gave them carte blanche.

The opera should be lots of fun. Brian enters for his first aria by driving a vintage car onto the stage. The Barber is a sort of Elvis character and there are lots of poodle skirts. I'll have to have Brian comment more since I am only hearing things second hand. Brian is the only native English speaker in the whole production, and they have had two weeks to get the show up. He says things are going well and they open July 1.
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We spent our first week in Mexico in one of their more upscale hotels, the Gran Melia on Reforma. Again, there are a few political things we do not understand because all around the hotel there are people having political camp outs. You can see the improvised protest shanty town at the bottom of the picture. The hotel was always surrounded by police. We did not feel unsafe, we just do not understand. It was a beautiful hotel, but on the weekend we were able to move into an apartment, which is nice for our little family. Now we have a kitchen and a washer/dryer. (We have not had this since March.) And we have free internet now. The hotel charges $15 a day for their wireless internet. That made me very mad.

The view looking up from the lobby of the hotel.

As our hotel room was on the 20th floor, we had some good views of the city. Sometimes you could see the surrounding mountains and sometimes not.

Colin loved the pool. He liked to scream a lot in the pool for the echo. We need to not say the word scream around him because he knows what it means and gladly demonstrates. Brian is jealous that he can get such perfect resonance first thing in the morning without warming up.
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Palacio De Bellas Artes. The production opens here in a little more than a week.

The angry sugar workers are out again. This time not a single one seemed to feel underwear would be warranted.

Colin thinks naked bums are funny.

tee hee...
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This is the Palacio Postal, which is still a working post office. There was marble everywhere and it is very beautiful.

In the top floor of the Palacio Postal they have a Naval museum. Here is Brian with the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

The top of the Palacio de Bellas Artes as seen from the Naval Museum.

We are on a quest to find the most tasty Tres Leches cake. We have had it twice this week, and we have liked the Tres Leches we got in Dallas, TX the best so far. This was a lovely store in the historic district.
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The Metropolitan Cathedral- Begun in the 1500's and finished maybe 300 years later. It's more of a church complex than a single edifice.

There's a huge flag in the center of the Zocalo. Viva Mexico.

Colin had fun watching these traditional dancers on the square. They had some great percussion going on.

Not something you really expect to see in the center of what may be the largest city in the world. I wish I had the camera ready to shoot when the goose was crossing the road.
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Front altar in the Cathedral. A mass was being held (it was even well attended). The churches here have a much different feel than Europe- we think it's because they're used.

Brian supposes this organ, which looks cool, probably doesn't sound very good.

This is the chamber where the Bishop puts on his vestments. Brian's never had a dressing room like this.

The altarpiece in the rear of the church. Mexican+Baroque=out of control.
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A few more views of the Historic District

The Casa de los Azulejos- AKA the House of Tiles. It was built in the late 1500's. Apparently some nobleman wasn't very impressed with his son's lack of ambition and told him he would "never build a house of tiles" (I guess tile decor signified wealth). So when the son found success he stuck it to his dad by building this huge tile encrusted home- or so the legend goes.

I love the guy on the right. I think he was probably staring at Colin, as pretty much everyone does. Welcome to Stuckihouse, guy on the right!