I spent my birthday this year in Mexico City, visiting a good friend who runs the cutest little boutique hotel in the southern part of the city, not far from the quaint Coyoacan district. Removed from the bustle and crush of downtown Mexico City, Coyoacan was once a separate town. Even now, after urban sprawl has enveloped it within the boundaries of Mexico City, Coyoacan retains its adorably Mexican small town charm. It’s the kind of place where, in the evening, the locals wander out to the plaza to mix, mingle, canoodle with their sweeties, let the kids run off some energy, or just watch the world go by. A place where you see guard dogs on the roofs of the colonial homes that dot the tree-lined streets, so they can bark warnings to approaching strangers, but can’t actually bite anyone.
If you’re a Frida Kahlo fan, you probably know she was from Coyoacan, and that it is the location of her beloved home, now a museum, La Casa Azul. So, my whole birthday celebration plan was designed around going to Frida’s house, to see where she and Diego Rivera lived. Plus, happy birthday to me, there is currently the most amazing special exhibit of Frida’s wardrobe and personal effects, on display for the first time since her death in 1954. This collection includes not only her signature Tehuana dresses, but also such intimate items as her decorated body casts, and her prosthetic leg. Yes, my friends, that is Frida’s leg. Fabulous, no? Chinese embroidery and jingle bells, with a platform heel — that woman had style. And really, why shouldn’t a prosthetic leg be beautiful? Like James St. James said in Party Monster, “just throw a little glitter on it, honey, and go dancing!”
Anyhoo, I ended up getting an essentially private showing of this exhibit, because I got to La Casa Azul not long before the museum was supposed to close (thanks to SOMEONE’s inability to get out of the damned house before 3pm, thank you very much), and I really had to pee, so I went directly to the baño. And got locked in. The attendant was standing on the other side of the door, hollering at me in Spanish, “A la derecha, Señora! A la derecha!” assuming, I guess, that this blonde was just too dumb to realize that the door latch turned to the right. But I was turning it a la derecha, and it was just stuck! After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only about five or ten minutes (which, in all fairness, really does constitute an eternity when you’re trapped in a tiny, smelly bathroom), they sent for the handyman, who came and took the doorknob off with a screwdriver and freed me. They felt so bad about trapping me in there, that they let me stay for almost an hour after closing, so I could see everything. That was great, actually, because I got to poke around and look at everything closely without anyone else in the way. So, I suppose, after all, I do recommend getting locked in the bathroom at Frida’s house–as long as you do it right before closing!