After day two breakfast, we left for our ‘dérive’ through the neighborhood. The term dérive (which literally means drifting) was first coined by Guy Debord, a member of the Situationists International art movement. The Situationists International was formed in Europe in 1957 and was made up of avant-garde artists, intellectuals and political theorists. Of a dérive Debord says, “The most fruitful numerical arrangement consists of several small groups of two or three people who have reached the same level of awareness.” The point of a dérive is to let go of your intended direction and walk towards whatever catches your attention. You can direct your dérive by flipping a coin to decide which way to go when you reach the corner: heads means right, tails means left, which is what we did.
Our goal was to take note of the doors or “portals” in the neighborhood, as once we dérived our way to Sandra’s house, we were making our own clay portals. The streets and sidewalks of Coyoacan are cobbled and uneven and you look down as much as you look up. There are bolts sticking up on corners and holes in random places. I was surprised by how much Coyoacan reminded me of Morocco, with living areas kept secret behind tall walls and impressive gates and door. Occasionally, we were lucky enough to get a peek past the gates and into a courtyard or two. We wandered for two hours and then pointed our dérive towards Sandra’s house.
We managed to dérive ourselves right into Frida Kahlo Park. Off the middle of the park, large statues of Frida and Diego stand. Diego is gazing adoringly at Frida. Frida is a bit larger than you imagine her in real life and yet very life like. The topiaries in the park have all been shaped into animals and in the middle of the park, there’s a fountain with a statue of a woman crouched. Around the fountain, young girls in Tehuana skirts were practicing dance. We walked the rest of the way through the main plaza of Coyoacan and over to Sandra’s house where we worked on our clay portals while drinking mezcal in freshly made watermelon juice while enjoying the grazing bar, salads and paninis for lunch.
After we were done playing in clay, we went downtown to the Museo de Arte Popular. This is their folk-art museum, one of my favorite kinds of museums. The Museum of International Folk Art on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, NM is a museum I make sure to go to every time I’m there (much to my sister’s dismay). Museo de Arte Popular had various arbols (Tree of Life sculptures), alebrijes (brightly painted sculptures of fantastical creatures), devils and skeletons. The timing of this museum visit was perfectly planned. The next day we were scheduled for a skull weed pots workshop. The display of alebrijes, along with a wall of hanging devils, were my favorite display until…I went up to the textile exhibit which made me want to change my entire wardrobe. We went down to the gift shop (my favorite place to buy books) and it was closed even though the museum stayed open for a few more hours. We were bummed!
Back to Sandra’s house where a pitcher of tamarind juice was waiting. I love tamarind! After I’d finished my large glass, she alerted us tamarind has the same effect as prunes and go lightly! Oops. Luckily, none of us had ill effects. We had more quesadillas in addition to an amazing pasta dish made with mushrooms, squash blossoms and a heavy (and I mean heavy!) cream sauce. Back to casita by 9:30 after a fulfilling day.