Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Mexico Journal--unedited from hand-written notebook, parts I and II

Mexico City, Part I
January 4 - 6, 2012

What can I say about the city?  In the Zucuro, the center, there seems to be a constant flow of people, like in any city.  Still it doesn't feel like NYC--not quite so many people or maybe it's just spread out more.  Downtown, there are high class shops like Manhattan.  There are several ornate cathedrals constructed in the 1500-1600's well kept and being renovated.  The architecutal & art are detailed & amazing. Inside, in spite of tourists like us, you can hear people saying the rosary.  The words echo off the high ceilings.

The people here are warm and friendly or they don't seem to notice us even though we're obviously gringos and minorities.  Even when we go to the open markets, the people are courteous and patient with my poor Spanish skills.  There are ingeginous women sitting on the ground, weaving colorful bracelets, belts, hats & other garments.  The elderly people are so cute & appear content.

I am writing this on a bus to Valle de Bravo where Jorge's aunt Paty lives.  We will spend the rest of our time in that area.  Jorge says it's tranquil and rural as opposed to Mexico City where it's easy to get sensory overload.  The bus is hot and airless, which is uncomfortable, but the seats are soft & wide.  Our luggage doesn't fit in the overhead storage, so I'm in the seat next to the luggage.  It's a good thing the bus isn't crowded.  If all the seats were crowded, I don't know what we'd do.

Near the bus station, there are many slums.  The buildings are peeling cement & have a lot of graffiti.  Clotheslines are strung across porches & due to the dump that closed recently, the trash has piled up.  It's going to take awhile for it to be cleare, the schedule is so far behind.  Still, many of the building are painted in bright blues, corals & pinks.

As we leave the city, we see many modern condos & apartment buildings.  These are the wealthier sections.  Like any other city, there are good & bad sections.  We walked through a lower class neighborhoods & were safe.  There is one neighborhood where a cult has started.  The member pray to a saint that supposedly gives good luck to drug dealers.  The churches do not recognize this cult & condemn it.  Though it would have been interesting to see, it would not be safe so we stayed away.

I have to take a  break from writing now b/c I'm getting bus sick.  : )

Mexico City, Part II

The bus ride took about 2 hours.  Slowly, the inner city became the outer city, became the suburbs, became the farms, where dilapaded buildings of brick or cinder blocks are topped by tin or terra rooves.  Some of the buildings--you wonder how they even stand, but smoke comes through the chimneys and men roam the fields with lamas, horses cows and/or chickens.

I am reminded that while in the city, a group of young girls and a boy approached me & said they were doing a project for English class.  They asked if I would answer some questions.  I was so flattered and said "Yes!  In fact, I'm an English teacher!"  They introduced themselves and asked me what my favorite place in Mexico was to which I replied, "So far...here!"  Then they asked me what I thought of Mexico and I said, "I love it!  I love the history and the people and the art."  They asked me what I knew about Mexican culture.  This made me nervous b/c I felt a little on the spot.  So I told them I knew about El Dia de las Muertas (I don't even know if I said it right).  I know about a few other things, too, but I couldn't get it out!  Through all of this, one girl was taking a video of it with her little camera.  I must have sounded like an idiot. 
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