you can run…but you can’t hide…

courtesy of flickriver.com

courtesy of flickriver.com

So for many months now, I’ve been walking by a particular statue by my job downtown. I never really gave it much thought until the other week because I noticed people kept taking their photo by the statue. Normally, I just wind my way around tourists taking pictures of the skyscrapers and the ‘Horses of Honor’ artwork decorating Michigan Avenue. I learned how to do that exceptionally well when I lived in playa.!! But for some reason, I was intrigued. Who was this man.? Why were people taking photos with him.? And so, on a rare warm day as I strolled by, I stopped to read the plaque affixed near the statue. The plaque read – Benito Juárez.! Are you kidding me.?!? Benito Juárez.!

Are you telling me, there is a statue of the former president of Mexico right outside my job.?! I’m sure I’ve mentioned several times in this blog that one of the main streets in Playa del Carmen is called Juárez. But who knew, Juárez would be so close to home too.!! The statue was sculpted by Julian Martinez and it is located on the Plaza of the Americas between the Realtor Building and the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago. Wow.!

courtesy of stevendahlman.com

courtesy of stevendahlman.com

Benito Juárez (1806-1872) was president of Mexico for five terms from 1858 until 1872.!!! According to Illinois.gov, he had a very warm relationship with Abraham Lincoln. And this positive relationship was instrumental in creating a 150 year friendship between the state of Illinois and the country of Mexico.! Wow again.!! Sometimes, you really have to travel away to see your hometown in a different light. If I had never lived in Mexico, the statue of Benito Juárez would definitely be less significant to me. But because I did live there, I feel not just a connection back to Mexico from Chicago, but I also feel a little more global 🙂

street of dreams…

5a Ave hacia Ave Constituyentes

5a Ave hacia Ave Constituyentes

I love Quinta Avenida or 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen.!! It’s one of my favorite streets.!! So many shops, so many restaurants, and people watching to the max 🙂 The above photo is a balcony view of Quinta Avenida and Constituyentes. It marks the halfway point between “old” 5th Avenue and “new” 5th Avenue. Please note the Olmec stone head and fountain in the center of the intersection.

Quinta Alegria courtesy of everythingplayadelcarmen.com

Quinta Alegria courtesy of everythingplayadelcarmen.com

Recently, they opened a new shopping plaza at Quinta Avenida entre Constituyentes or 5th Avenue and Constitution.! It’s called Quinta Alegria or Happy Fifth. It’s a three story plaza featuring a Sanborns department store. It was under construction when I lived there, but has recently opened up and it looks beautiful.!! I can’t wait to visit 🙂

5a Ave desde arriba hacia Ave Juárez

5a Ave desde arriba hacia Ave Juárez

Fifth Avenue technically begins at Juarez. Juarez is considered 1st Street even though all the streets after it are even numbers. The majority of bus routes begin on Juarez. One of the main taxi stands can also be located at Juarez and Quinta. As well as, the ADO bus station which services the Cancun airport, tourist sites, and other cities in Mexico. Two blocks from the same corner is the entrance to the Cozumel ferry. Juarez also contains a plethora of Mexican stores that cater to locals; while, Quinta is more focused on tourists.

Calle 12 y Ave 10 (parte trasera de la Plaza)

Calle 12 y Ave 10 (parte trasera de la Plaza)

The picture above is the back of Quinta Alegria at the corner of 10th Avenida and Calle 12. 10th Avenida is a little quieter than 5th Avenue. When I was in a hurry to get home and wanted to avoid tourists and/or didn’t have time to converse with locals, I would take this street home. Unlike Quinta, it is not a pedestrian street, so you have to navigate cars and bicycles. But I still felt like it was a quicker walk. 10th Avenue also has some nice restaurants like Sushi Ken, Como Como, and Don Sirloin just to name a few.!

Calle 12 y 5a Ave

Calle 12 y 5a Ave

Finally, Quinta Avenida and Calle 12 is on the world famous 5th Avenue, but somehow manages to be a quiet haven among the chaos. It’s near a hotel and some residences, but it’s claim to fame for me is the beautiful trees that dot the middle of the street. At night, flickering lights hanging from the trees illuminate the walkway. Calle 12 is also sometimes called Calle Corazon or Heart Street. It’s very beautiful and very romantic 🙂

Calle Corazon courtesy of  playa.info

Calle Corazon courtesy of playa.info