One of Mexico City’s sixteen boroughs, Xochimilco is, in some respects, the heart of the city. The vast lake that once covered the Valley of Mexico—including the entire site of today’s Mexico City—was tamed 1,000 years ago with a network of canals defined by artificial islands, called chinampas. Canals were once the main mode of transportation throughout the valley. Since colonization, that vast network has shrunk to what remains in Xochimilco. Today, it’s not more than a remnant, an endangered World Heritage Site. Yet what is left is a remarkable, enchanting place.
Today, Xochimilco is best known as a playground. This is where Mexicans come on Sundays and tourists come at all times for an entertaining afternoon ride along the canals on colourful trajinera boats.
But, for Gail and me, the goals for our journey to Xochimilco have been deliciously disrupted. This is November 1, the first of two Days of the Dead. (more…)