miércoles, 27 de mayo de 2009

Destination: Monterrey (Paseo Sta. Lucia)

Monterrey is not much of a tourist trap, and there are many good reasons for this. It is one of the biggest industrial centers in Mexico. Therefore, large factories and pollution often dominate a drive through Monterrey. Furthermore, the city is freakin' hot. While there, I often wonder if we're not really just a block away from hell. It's that hot.

However, Monterrey boasts some nice areas in order to make up for all its industrialization and to make it livable for its millions of inhabitants. The Macroplaza (I believe it would be Monterrey's zocalo, except it stretches through the entire downtown area), is green and fresh and is bordered by nice restaurants, stores, and museums. I wish I could say more about their museums, but I know that my 4-month-old daughter would not be a happy camper if I were to introduce to her to a museum, Jill-style (aka read every word printed), any time in the next ten years or so. So I'll just look at them longingly.

But the entire Rodriguez-Douglas family is a big fan of the Paseo de Santa Lucia. The Paseo is Monterrey's canal walk. It begins on the edge of the MarcroPlaza, between the Mexican history museum and the museum of the Northeast, and winds its way for about a mile to the Foundry Park (a much nicer place than the name implies). The popular pontoon boats cram at least 20 visitors onboard for their guided tours. Given the lines for these boats, it must be a good tour, but I don't know that I'll ever experience it--the line always looks too long. Walking is pleasant though, as the canal is decked out with public art, fountains (which kids are encouraged to enter), and tantalizing cafes. On weekends, children's theater takes over a few of the sidewalks, which are thankfully wide enough to admit the stage, bleacher seating, and plenty of room for those of us who are just cruising past.

As Monterrey is so notoriously hot, the crowds really come out in the evening and at night. Families pull out blankets near the playground areas and listen to bands play. Soccer games are televised on huge screens, so many, many Tigres fans can celebrate or commiserate together, outside, in the nicest area of their city. Someday, I'll be occupying a table at one of the cafes near the entrance. Sipping a beer while watching people on the canal sounds like an excellent evening to me. Ah, Santa Lucia!

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