Mexico D.F. Coyoacan: Peace at last!

Mexico City wasn't all madness. One day I caught the metro to visit Frida Kahlo's house in Coyoacan. Here's a short story from my time there. To check out my other short stories about Mexico have a look here. 
Frida's House in Coyoacan
Photo by kudumomo
I loved the hustle and bustle of downtown, but I fancied getting away. The difference in a short metro ride to Coyoacan was astounding. As soon as I stepped out of Viveros metro station the tension oozed away. The air was fresher, less people filled the streets, and I felt free.
Why had I been in the centre for so long? What had I become accustomed to?
As I wandered through a park, young adults jogged along the gravel path and black squirrels scurried about in the fallen leaves. They were braver than the grey squirrels in England. One came right up to my feet for a sniff before darting away.
My main aim of the day was to visit Frida Kahlo’s house on Calle Londres. Finding the artist’s casa azul – blue house, was easy. Blue and green should never be seen wasn’t an expression that Frida stood by; the thick green wooden door, now the entrance to the museum, contrast against the Chelsea blue exterior.
“Welcome to Frida’s house,” said an elegant lady as she gave me a map.  
I felt eerie being inside a house where Frida was born, lived, and died, but for Mexicans it was lucky. Paintings hang up on the walls, dusty ornaments rested on wooden shelves and cupboards, and glamorous dresses hung up for all to see.
As I strolled round the small courtyard I imagined her painting. She must have loved creating her images while surrounded by smell of tree blossom and flowers.
The Elephant Man and the Caterpillar
Photo by libbyrosof
Frida was married to Diego Rivera, or the Elephant Man, according to her father. If I had been Diego’s father, I would have called Frida the Caterpillar Woman because of her dark, bushy, mono-brow that hung over her mysterious eyes.
The poor woman had a hard life. When she was six, she caught polio which left her right leg thinner. She wore long skirts to disguise the catastrophe, but other kids teased her. At eighteen, she was in a tragic bus accident and damaged her spine, collarbone, ribs, pelvis, foot, shoulder, and an iron handrail pierced her abdomen injuring her uterus. Frida was in and out of hospital more than Michael Jackson. Perhaps that’s why she seems so miserable in her self-portraits, or maybe because of her rollercoaster relationship with The Elephant Man.
Frida had lesbian experiences, which Diego didn’t mind so much, but her affairs with men, including Leon Trotsky, left Diego mad, jealous, and twisted; forcing him to have a fling with Frida’s younger sister. Apparently, one woman was with the Elephant and the Caterpillar. I wonder whether the trunk of Diego was more effective than the soft, seductive, wriggling movements of Frida.
Plaza Hidalgo. Never saw it at night.
Photo by Juan Lujan
I meandered towards the centre, rested on a bench in plaza Hidalgo, and let the sun warm up my face. Locals seemed friendlier, happier, and cleaner than downtown. An artist stood painting in one corner and young kids ran about a podium in the centre. I strolled round the markets, checking out the clothes, smiling at the sellers, and smelling the candles. Gringos sat outside cafés sipping coffee. Hidalgo was a sunny, chilled out, and bohemian square.
The Museum of Popular culture had a display on their staple diet, maize, still popular now. Corn has always been a vital crop for Mexicans and explains why the smell of it burning on barbeques fills the city. Recently, local Indian families, who rely on maize for income, have come under threat because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Cheaper genetically modified corn is replacing the standard crop, ruining some families’ lives.
As I watched locals roam about nattering in Spanish, I wondered if Coyoacan would be a good place to set up an English language school. The barrio was a lovely peaceful, romantic, and quaint part of the capital. I would love to have stayed there, learning Spanish, reading and writing in the square, and jogging with the squirrels every morning. What would Coyoacan be like in the winter when the rain came, would the place become deserted or would locals dance and splash in the puddles?
Frida may have had the pleasure of living there, but I had to keep searching for my new home.

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