Chapulines and Chapultepec

16 Nov
I am not  trying to make your reading complicated. The two words I used for this article title are extremely important in the Mexican culture.
The name “Chapultepec” means ” grasshopper hill” in Nahuatl language and “Chapulin” stands for grasshopper.
To me,  the word grasshopper, cricket, or grillo in Spanish makes me just think of the musician Paco Fernandez’ marvellous song.
Listen to this beautiful flamenco s” grillos” whenever you want to chill out, specially at night.
I am not a big fan of this jumping animals and I had never imagined  eating them as a snack, which in mexican slang  is called “botanas”.
There is a record for spanish conquistadores to eat chapulines back in the 16th century but it is now really popular among young and old locals as well as curious and brave tourist, except for me.
 The idea of biting the insect and feeling its crunchy noise makes me not want to be opened, just on this occasion, to the mexican culture.
After being  cleaned and washed, chapulines are toasted on a comal (clay cooking surface) with garlic, lime juice and salt with extract of agave worms; sometimes they are also prepared  with chile,  lending a sour, spicy taste.
On my last day in Mexico City I woke up early in the morning to go and visit the Chapultepec park, one of the largest urban parks in the world.
Bosque de Chapultepec is considered the biggest green urban area in all Latin America: it has 40.000 trees of about 100 different kind, especially Ahueuetes, the national tree of Mexico known worldwide as Montezuma Cypress.
At the park main entrance I found a really cool art exhibition dedicated to hearts;
I enjoyed it very much especially one heart called “corazon frito“, in english fried heart. I think I felt that feeling sometimes in my life.
In the park there are two big lakes, I saw just one and it reminded me of Hyde Park. Again, a big surprise from this city.
I have to admit that at very first sight I had not liked this city at all. I had committed the mistake of judging it too much at first sight. We should all give a second chance to things or people.
I crossed the park walking towards Polanco, listening to the XX’s Cohexist album and finding myself suddenly in a beautiful area in the northern part of Paseo de la Reforma.
In Polanco there are cool restaurants, embassies, boutiques, art galleries and corporate businesses. The streets look really tidy and clean with nice trees alongside.  I found it quite different from many other parts of the city.
Avenida president Masaryk is the street with the most upscale boutiques in Latin America; a kind of Sloane Street in London, via Montenapoleone in Milan or New York City’s 5th Avenue with brands like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Brunello Cucinelli, Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tiffany & Co.,Ermenegildo Zegna, Brioni, Burberry, Bulgari, Gucci, Hermès, Frette and Marc  Jacobs.
I had a nice coffee in a cozy patio surrounded by white arches called Paseo Polanco, with smaller shops and cafes. I set a little bit there observing the people wandering through the  streets of Polanco.
It’s official: I’m in love with Mexico City!

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