Day 14 – Frida, Ancestors & Getting the Needle

Coyoacán, Mexico City – 29th June 2021

First thing this morning is to check my results… Negative of course, fabby.

I have booked an Uber for 9am as I will spend the day with Frida Kahlo. Firstly I am going back to the San Ángel area for a good look around and hopefully a visit to the Diego y Frida studio museum, I’m not sure if there will be a queue as I haven’t booked an advance ticket so just going on spec to that one. Then I have a ticket for Frida’s house/museum at 2pm, really looking forward to it.

I arrive at the Studio, it’s shut. The information outside states it opens at 10.00 but it is now 10.10 and it is shut. I can see a group of, obviously, staff standing in the courtyard clearly having a briefing so I wait to see if anyone will come and open up, they don’t. I feel a bit of a plonker standing here so I move away for a look around the immediate area and take some snaps

I also come across this

This is an example of a type of bright coloured fantasy animals called Alebrijes

Very cool I think… especially in what appears to be a very up-market area. There is a Starbucks here so of course one must partake. I go back to the Studio at around 10.45 to see if it’s now open, no they are still having a briefing, but this time a young man comes to the gate and tells me they will open at 11. Ok so off for another wee wander then

Back at the dot of 11 and they open up so I am the first one in. The cost is unbelievable just 35 pesos i.e. £1.27!!

I am directed up the spiral stairway into the first floor, this seems to be Diego Rivera’s main studio but the first thing we see is his toilet… niiiiice

I didn’t bother with a photo of his bog..

Then up a further staircase to a landing..

The out onto a terraced area.

Back down and I am directed to the smaller blue building and told “Frida”. This is actually a much smaller building and there is nothing really inside, other than the kitchen.. of course the woman would have a kitchen in her studio, and another room with a few bits of wicker furniture and some photographs, all of which appear to be men. Very disappointing, but will see more at her home this afternoon.

There is a third block, which appears to be dedicated to the architect who designed the studios.. didn’t really study anything, it was all in Spanish and there were a series of maquette for buildings I presume he designed.

I guess this must be him…. mmm an Irish name??

So, that’s that… onwards. I set off on a 15 minute walk to the restaurant AM and I ate in the other day, it was so good. On the way I navigate some really lovely, obviously wealthy streets… modern enormous houses, large traditional homes and quaint original cobbled streets… sooo beautiful

As I enter the square I see this on the corner… La Casa Obsidion… it has some crazy stuff

I love these figurines.. wish I could take one home. Also, as you can see, there’s a beautiful courtyard.

The restaurant is on the opposite side of the square. On the way I see this… mmm wonder who this is? Well, blow me down, it’s only one of my family!!

On the brass plate he is referred to as John Riley. (this is the anglesized version), but on the wall plaque opposite he is John O’Reilly, which is the modern male version of my surname… well I never. The Irish inscription reads –  ‘may his holy soul be on the right side of God’.

Well, there you go, we old families of Ireland are everywhere.

Into the restaurant and I decide to go for the chicken burger this time… It’s fantastic to look at

However, I am a wee bit disappointed… I was expecting a chicken breast, but the patty seems to be minced up chicken with breadcrumbs etc. Nevermind, it was still quite good. The roasted veggie chips were great.

Now it’s time to get myself over to the Frida Kahlo Museum. It’s quite a trek so I order an Uber, which are so cheap it really is the best way to get around in Mexico City.

I arrive and there is an enormous queue… mmm but, I have a ticket so go to the front to speak with the staff there. Well. it seems everyone has a ticket so I need to join the queue.. ok.. I hope it won’t take too long as AM is picking me up around 4.15 to go somewhere… shhhh tell ya later.

The queue actually moves pretty quickly and I gain entrance at just gone 2pm so that’s great. The first thing to note is that it’s absolutely enormous, there is an internal courtyard garden that is as big as a park… way, way better than Diego’s gaff!!

We are directed up a staircase and into the house… I’ll let the pictures tell the story

On the bed, with the black dress, is Frida’s death mask… she looks very serene.

The casket containing Frida’s ashes sits on a dresser in one of her bedrooms.

We then go out into the enormous garden.. so beautiful

Chock full of sculpture, many hidden in amongst the foliage.. and her very own Mayan temple no less.

The final exhibition is her clothes… she was a very striking dresser, mainly intended to detract from her disibility, but here the structures she was forced to endure are on full display.

And finally a collection of photographs that show only too well how beautiful she was and how she often portrayed herself in quite an ugly way

clearly giving voice to the pain within.

An excellent place to visit and very reminiscent of Barbara Hepworth’s home and studio in St Ives, Cornwall.. an intimate exhibition of a life and considerable works of a world renowned woman artist.

I have a little bit of time left so I decide to make my way to Harley Davidson for a look see. AM will come there instead to pick me up.

Well not much to say.. it was pretty rubbish actually. I did manage to pick up a poker chip and a jacket at a knock down price. The only thing of note was when they handed me the receipt they gave me two… one for me and one for the security guard at the front! Just to prove I haven’t stolen anything, well that’s a new one on me I must say.

A few minutes later and AM picks me up… so what’s the big secret? AM is taking me to her tattoo artist, Jacquline Munuz… yes I’m getting a tattoo.

I have already been in correspondence with Jackie and have given her some ideas for what I want and she has come up with a fantastic design, I am well happy. She will tattoo in a new style, the tattoo will look as if it has been embroidered onto my skin… this is gonna hurt!

We arrive and after a short time setting up and everything she begins… yes it hurt… yes a lot some of the time, but the results are amazing… here is the story

And, 5 hours later, the finished result…

‘Ireland for Eternity’

Its half past eleven by the time it’s finished and I still have to get back and pack!! OMG… but huge, huge thanks to Annemarie for coming with me and for all her support, so very much appreciated. And what can I say about Jackie.. if you ever want a tattoo, and you just happen to be in Mexico City, then she is the grrrl to see… I am so very, very happy with the results… MEGA!!

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