Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mexico City, Day 15: Chapultepec

Greta woke up at 2:30am last night. We moved her crib to our room since she was crying, gave her some water, and she promptly went back to sleep until 8:30am. Not bad, comparatively.

For our last day in Mexico City, we set out in the morning for Bosque de Chapultepec, to absorb the vibrant Sunday life in the park and visit the Castillo de Chapultepec. The park was absolutely packed today--vendors lined every pathway, shouting endorsements of their wares. Chips of all kinds, toys, hats, shoes, glassware, belts, candy, soda/water, beef jerky crusted in chile powder, balloons, inflatable toys, cotton candy, stuffed animals, elaborate face painting, temporary tattoos, wigs, cinturons de securidad (security belts, i.e. leashes for kids)--it was an overwhelming assortment. Families were all out together, and though young kids and babies were everywhere, I was struck once again by how few strollers and baby carriers we saw. People carry even the smallest babies in their arms, a blanket slung over them.

It was a hike to get up to the castle, and, once we got there, we had to leave our stroller in a stroller-parking area. This was challenging for a few reasons: it was crowded; Greta was ready for a nap; there were lots of things that couldn't be touched; and nowhere had there been any thought of baby safety. Railings overlooking dramatic vistas had wide gaps that a baby could easily fit through--I barely saw any of the castle or view because I had to keep my hands on Greta the whole time (of course she had no interest in being carried). Lucia found a couple of things to interest her, particularly a Cinderella-esque coach and a black-and-white tiled terrace that looked like the perfect princess ballroom.

Greta fell asleep in the stroller not long after we left the castle, and though we'd half-thought we'd attempt the Modern Art Museum, we decided instead to just stroll back through the park and people-watch. We bought the girls some small plastic mermaids and wire monkeys that we saw lots of kids wearing on their heads. I bought some green chips. We all got a little sunburned.

When we got back to the apartment, we all went for a swim (mermaids included). The water was pleasant; the sun was warm; and the New Jersey winter seemed very far away. After that, it was time for naptime and Quiet Time.

We spent our final evening saying goodbye to the playground and Lincoln Park; and even though the girls were wiped out, we took them to dinner once more at Bellopuerto. It wasn't as relaxing this time--we really had to hustle, since both girls were restless and fraying--but the food was delicious, and it was a perfect last dinner to celebrate our two-week experiment.

And now--time to pack up and get ready for our flight tomorrow, the final tough stretch. Andrew and I both feel a little melancholy. It is nice here. Very nice. And, sleep difficulties aside, we consider our first big family trip a success. What a lucky and lovely break from winter--and a perfect way to start skipping town with the girls. Traveling with such little ones wasn't easy. But it's nice to think that it only gets easier from here. Different ages bring different challenges, of course; but anything's got to be easier than traveling with a sixteen-month-old.

Pictures from the day are below. Not sure why they're not in order, but I have to pack so they'll just have to stay a little chronologically scrambled.


Hello! I'm ready to swim! I'm also a handful!


Ready to swim, with new mermaids:


Dinner at Bellopuerto:



Goodbye to the park:


Bellopuerto:


After dinner:


Dancing to street musicians:


Lucia refusing to be photographed by our doorman:


The Castle:





At Bosque de Chapultepec:













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