"On Sundays, I just walk in the park. Half the population of Mexico City goes to Chapultepec Park with their kids to play. I went there with Melanie and the kids. They have boats, little attractions, and museums. I used to pass through there because it was on my way to the studio from the hotel. There is a fantastic roller coaster in Chapultepec Park. It's one of the best roller coasters in the world."
"I've climbed to the top of both of the pyramids in Teotihuacán and sat there for a while. It's about 30 minutes from the city, and it's very worthwhile to go there. The pyramids are called the Sun and the Moon. If you have an imagination and you stop in front of the pyramids and remember that this was once a huge avenue with buildings and houses on the side, you realize the magnitude of what that empire was 1,500 years ago. It's impressive. I was expecting just to see two pyramids among the trees, and what I saw was an entire city with houses, with streets, with squares. It's an almost spiritual place to go."
ONE MEMORABLE DAY IN MEXICO CITY
"The day that Angelina Jolie won the Oscar, we brought a huge mariachi band - probably 50 guys - to play songs for her. Violinists, trumpet players, guitarists. We were in the middle of shooting when Angelina got the Oscar nomination. She'd won the Golden Globe and had the possibility of getting the Oscar, so the production decided to stop for a couple of days to allow her to attend the ceremony in Los Angeles. I had to go, too, because I was giving the award for Best Foreign Language Film, which I gave to my friend Pedro Almodóvar. We had a party after the Oscars at my home, but since we had to shoot the next day, a private plane was going to be waiting for me at 4:30 in the morning. I was at home, no drinking, no nothing, while everybody was nuts, swimming in my pool. And there were Oscars everywhere. Suddenly, I had to leave. I got on the plane and arrived in Mexico City around 11 in the morning their time. I went straight to the studio and started shooting. Angelina got back around 4 p.m. At around 4:30, the mariachis came. We brought Angelina out of the makeup trailer and they sang for her. It was a beautiful thing. The entire crew was there, and each member gave her a rose - like 150 roses - one by one. At the end, she got a big bouquet of flowers."
ANTONIO BANDERAS’ MEXICO CITY ESSENTIALS
Casa Vieja, $259-$633; 011-525-282-0067
Four Seasons Hotel, $220-$1,075;
Best Western Majestic Hotel Terrace Restaurant, Mexican; $9 (fixed price); 011-525-521-8600
Fonda Don Chon, Aztec/Mexican;
Fonda el Refugio, Mexican;
La Hacienda de los Morales, Mexican;
La Gruta, Mexican; $3-$12;
La Petaluma, international; $9-$19;
San Ángel Inn, Mexican; $9-$22;
Mercado de Antiguedades, antiques market in the Plaza del AngelMercado de Artesanías, street market at Londres 154
El Palacio de Hierro, shopping mall;
Bar L’Opera, bar and restaurant;