There are those in Mexico who will tell you Coyoacan is ‘too touristy’. They’ll usually turn their noses up at such places. They’ll tell you Frida Kahlo isn’t a real artist and is just laid on for the tourists. They’re usually gringos. They are usually a little bit up themselves. What ‘too touristy’ means exactly, is up for debate in my opinion. The aforementioned will roll off vocab such as ‘tacky, expensive and not reflective of the real Mexico’. All true, probably, although where anyone hopes to find the ‘real Mexico’ wrapped up in one little town is a mystery to me.
I’ll add a few more words that aptly describe ‘too touristy’. Let’s start with ‘clean’. (And therefore definitely not the ‘real Mexico’.) I think ‘safe’ is another good word. Organised. Well maintained. All good words that describe the ‘too touristy’ areas of Mexico City. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that Coyoacan is the finest place in the city, nor would I suggest that visitors go nowhere else. Just that it’s a perfectly pleasant place to spend a Sunday morning or afternoon. And that, contrary to scurrilous rumours, it most certainly is Mexican. As are most places in Mexico, to the best of my knowledge…
The coffee shops and restaurants are often spacious with comfortable seating. And despite the rep, there are plenty of establishments offering decent fare for a price that’s fair. There are musical notes floating in from all directions, from guitars to Harmonipans, trumpets to flutes. The odour of human faeces is delighfully absent, and instead the wind wafts around the mixed aromas of coffee, grilled corn, tacos al pastor and other pleasant culinary smells.
The town bustles, without ever becoming too raucous, and there is also something on, something new to see or something waiting to be experienced. There are even some nice museums. Aside from Trotsky’s house and Frida Kahlo’s ‘Casa Azul’, there is a very nice place which, I believe, calls itself the National Cultural museum. I could be wrong though, and really must check up on the name. At the moment it’s home to an exhibition all about sugar and Mexico. Something very much up my street. I might let the British side down when it comes to drinking gallons of tea at four o’clock in the afternoon, downing pints of beer in the evening and vomiting pools of spew up come night time. But I more than make up for it with my very typically British sweet tooth.