Friday, December 16, 2005

Que tu Quieres?

Well. Time has passed quickly and yet another crazy Christmas season is upon us here in Mexico City. The streets are plugged with all manner of stalls and crowds of people shopping for presents. As for me, I've been sick and my nose has been plugged with all manner of mucus flows. I caught what I would consider a fairly normal winter cold and was in bed for a coupla days, but upon recovery I contracted yet another flu-like sickness which lasted for another week of snotty achy misery. It's been a terrible month for my blown and battered nostrils and it seems like I haven't smelled anything for ages. At least my appetites back and I'm fully on the road to recovery.

I went to the Centro De Abastos a few weeks ago with Bernie. The Centro De Abastos, if not by sheer volume of stuff sold, then by it's massive expanse is one of the biggest markets in the world. It lies in the far reaches of the city near the Airport and is simply a conglomeration of hundreds, maybe thousands, of wearhouses, loading docks, and trucks.

Practically all the edible goods that come into Mexico City come through this place where they are re-distributed to the stores and restaurants in the city. It resembles a gigantic, prison or underground parking garage. It has it's own police force, banks, and food vendors. Inside are causeways full of men with palate jacks, carts and dollys literally running from place to place loaded with boxes of stuff.

You can shop here like a regular housekeeper, but most of the sellers are interested only in bulk purchases. As you walk around you notice whole wear-houses full of limes, or oranges, or even piƱatas. Men barter in front of walls of onions and towers of spinach.

The halls seem to go on forever; and this is just the produce section. There is a whole other building for the fresh and frozen fish. There is a flower market. There are dry goods, wet goods, spilled goods everywhere, rats probably gorging themselves somewhere, and most of all there is a never-ending sense of urgency as everything must go as soon as possible to hit the streets where again it will be hawked to the likes of me before the lettuce wilts and the papayas turn.

The market begins to receive at 3AM I'm told and it goes non-stop until 3PM when things start to die down. It's a pretty crazy but interesting place.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Driving Reforma

Reforma is a like Mexico Cities' answer to the Champs Elisee. That may not mean much to you if you've never been to France or Paris for that matter, but lets just say it's one of those big, grand, wide, boulevards lined with trees and statues and fountains. It is one of the focal points of DF and besides being lined with trees, it is lined with the tall and imposing towers of Mexico's banking, government, and business centers. The names are pretty well known: Citibank, Scotia Bank, Sears, Bancomer, Bankity Bank-etrade-dot Bank. I wish at times that there were some more interesting businesses on Reforma, but, well that's how it is. The street itself is pretty impressive though. There are some nice statues and it's pleasant to walk down at times as there are free art exhibitions quite often and you can always buy some chips drenched in Valentina sauce or something and there are lots of beautiful old stone benches to sit on. On either side of this street are nice neighborhoods with tree lined streets and fountains of their own, but nothing in DF compares to the grandness of Reforma. Oh, and usually it's totally clogged with cars from 5am to 11pm.

These pics were snapped while moving down a surprisingly sparse Reforma on a particularly dark and bronze-skied day. I'm not sure if it was because of air quality but the light was a little surreal so these turned out dark. That building is the largest in Latin America and called the Torre Mayor which can usually be seen from most areas in Mexico City.

Far behind the ever-present paper vendor is the famous Angel of Independence which is a nice sculpture sitting atop an unmodest tower and ringed with one of the most confusing traffic glorietas that I have ever navigated; in that the traffic moves alternately in both directions. Anyway, it's beautiful and well, old too; ancient even. I'm told that Reforma was one of the main thoroughfares or promenades in existence when the Spanish arrived in Mexico City for the first time, and knowing a little about the way the Aztecs built cities in those days, it was probably pretty "grand" then too. I'm just going to say the word, "grand" one more time. "grand". There. I said it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Please, sir... May I have some more?

Well, I've been eating again as we all must, and, as you can imagine, I've been eating some interesting stuff. Mexico city is big enough that it attracts healthy amounts of people from all over the country so as the people here say, "What happens in Mexico, happens in Mexico City!" In many ways this is true despite the many people outside of DF who may despise such elitist urban chants from the snobs in the big city. It does seem that you can get almost anything you can get and experience almost anything you can experience in Mexico in Mexico City albeit with a twist; ie: there's someone stealing your rear view mirrors and smog everywhere. Foodwise this is doubly true.

There is a kind of soup called Pozole here that is very popular. There are even franchises dedicated to Pozole. It's basically kind of like a corn stew with pork strips in a broth. There are huge chewy pieces of a large variety of corn inside. This is a type of Pozole they make in Guererro state that we bought from a restaurant called Casa Licha; a hole in the wall nestled in a unassuming, almost hidden neighborhood street. My friend Bernie somehow came into knowledge of this place and takes us there sometimes as there is really no way I could ever navigate to this place without full knowledge of the city to say the least. Casa Licha serves food from Guererro. There is a green herb oil on the surface (maybe oregano?) which makes this type "verde". People eat pozole as a snack or as a whole meal and this place seems to be very popular on the weekends. It's one of those places that is known to have good pozole, but is not located in a popular neighborhood. As far as I can tell there are quite a few places to eat in DF that serve very good authentic food that can't be found easily, yet people go the distance to ferret out these places as many Mexicans seem to be pretty discerning when it comes to local fare. The pozole here is very good. I've had street market Pozole and while it fills the stomach it was full of dubious meat pieces and hard bits that were a bit too, uh, "rustic" for my taste, but I've had good stuff now and I can say I like it maybe almost as much as your average Chilango- if there is such a thing.

These are chalupitas, or small Guererro versions of the chalupa. It's basically a hard little cup shaped tortilla with pork strips on top again with some chile, onion and light seasoning smothered in a sweetish sauce. They are appetizers and super delish.

these are Tortas Ahogadas we got at a popular restaurant that serves food from Guadalajara. Guadalajara is in Jalisco state and the second biggest city in Mexico. I've heard it's a nice city and it must be full of people with iron stomachs because this dish was hands down the hottest dish I've eaten in Mexico so far. It's basically a torta (usually elaborate Mexican sandwich made from a Kaiser Roll, but in this case the bread is French style) floating in a very very hot salsa. It's messy and the salsa is so hot they give you a plastic glove! This is so you don't damage your manicure or heaven forbid have the salsa seep into a hangnail or something. I'm not kidding. I used the glove even though I felt like an employee of Subway.

When Ale, Bernie, and Josefina and I sat down to eat I was pre-occupied talking or something. As we ordered our Tortas Ahogadas I made the mistake of not paying attention to how the others were ordering. Josefina is from Australia and ordered "no ahogada" Bernie and Ale are Mexicans and ordered "half ahogada". I wasn't paying attention and just said, "No, I'll take it as it comes..." Suffice to say that while it tasted delicious and good, plastic glove aside, it was basically inedible to me. I had to rescue the thing from the pool of lava salsa it was bathing in and revert to the "no ahogada" setting. However, I've been back since and ordered it with Half ahogada which is the best compromise. No ahogada was slightly boring like a sandwich sitting in a pool of watered down Heinz, but full force... I dunno- You'd have to be a serious eater of hot food to pass that without uh... Repercussions to put it mildly. Still I highly recommend these foods as they are not only delicious, but, well, never mind... They're delicious- what more does a food need on it's resume?

Meandering profound thoughts we already know to be true

lately the house has been filling with dust. There is a lot of dust in the air here. In addition we have a cat which always adds to the general amount of dust and hair floating around. Ale's been applying to schools in the UK and Canada so I've been navigating through the somewhat complex pages of various institutions trying to help her find out all the things you need to be accepted and get scholarships etc, but it's been difficult as It's been so long since I've been in a University. It seems like it's become a lot harder to get into school since I applied. School is big business these days. Long gone are the days when people deluded themselves into thinking that education wasn't totally necessary to make a decent living. School is also big biz in Mexico where many people don't get the opportunity to go even to high school. There are many private "schools" that teach languages, computers, business, trades, or anything that seems more useful than whatever gig you happen to be stuck with at the time. Jobs that pay a decent living wage are hard to come by here and seem to be often gotten though a connection or friend of some kind. Education isn't just the key to a better life, in many cases it could be the key to the better life for the whole family. Anyway, it's not like I'm talking about anything that everyone doesn't already know so I'll just shut up about school now.

It's cold and grey today. I was over at a friends house last night and we had a few beers and I talked about Guatemala with a friend who'd recently been there. There are a few towns that were completely buried by mudslides during the hurricane season. Apparently some houses and people are too difficult to dig for so the entire area has become a grave. It's cold in here when there isn't any sun. I actually feel a little vulnerable. In Canada it never really mattered for me how cold it was outside because I always felt I could run somewhere warm like a coffee shop or exactly like a coffee shop, or simply turn up the heat, but as most dwellings here lack insulation or heating it gets chilly in the winter sometimes. Many businesses have heating but many also don't. The other night we were way out near the freeway at this Taco place. Taco places are generally like a lunch counter and totally open to the outside so it was cold. I found myself actually wanting to be seated near the giant, rotating hunk of meat because occasionally they fire up the propane burner and these gusts of heat would come out even though you always smell like a huge greasy taco after. I never thought I'd feel comfortable and familiar sitting next to a dripping, rotating hunk of meat under harsh fluorescent light, watching a dubbed Steven Segal movie on a black and white TV while huge double trailers kick up dust near the Ford plant - Or did I? As we all know - standards change and why not?

Friday, November 04, 2005

El Dia de los Muertissimos!

This week was the fun and colorful DAY OF THE DEAD celebration in Mexico. Many people even get a day off work on the 2nd. so that tells you something about how serious it is. Basically, the idea is that your dead ancestors and relatives are honored on this day and will return to take part in the festivities.

Many people make altars of candles, elaborate seasonal flowers, photographs and candy skulls to attract them. Some offerings are more elaborate and have food dishes and other things the dead may have liked while alive. On the Day of the Dead Generally there is a party on the night of the 1st followed by a day of eating and general holidayness on the 2nd. In places like Oaxaca and Michoacan, (where I've read that the thousands of years old celebration originated) the festivities are even more elaborate. People go to cemeteries and pay respect to relatives or friends who have passed on over the years, maybe have a party and then many stay the entire night in a vigil.

In Mexico City there are many huge offerings made by institutions, delegations of the city, Universities, and other groups. Many were on display in the Zocalo which was packed with onlookers, performers, and offerings. There were free concerts and some cultural centers had art shows and performances dedicated to the day.

Here's an offering with a skull made of beans - How much more Mexican can you get?

After wandering around downtown, we went to our friend Bernardo's place and made a small altar. The orange flower petals are called the Flor de Muerto or zempoalxochitl in Nauhuatl and are generallly part of every altar and can be seen all over the place in the city on this day. It was a good time and a uniquely Mexican holiday. Next time around I'd like to go to Patzquaro in Michoacan or Oaxaca for the Day to see how it is they do it there.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Posting when life seems unpostable

Well, there have been some developments here and there. I can't say life is entirely un-postable, but it is getting hard for me to come up with new material. Lately, I've been thinking of actually, "producing" something like a post that was actually planned and then posted to, but in some way that's a bit un-bloglike or something. I dunno- I do know that there are a few out there who do check in semi-regularly so I will attempt to cram something in this post that you can while away the next few minutes looking at even though my upstairs neighbor is blasting techno- and I'm not talking Glastonbury the-latest and greatest techno but an endless mix of "I'm too sexy for my shirt.." fare, but maybe that's better...

Uh, a couple of weeks ago Ale and I volunteered for the annual food drive for the Mexico Cities food bank, known as "Alimento Para Todos". We were volunteers along with thousands of others nationally who participated in the day long drive.

I didn't know this before but conscription is mandatory in Mexico and all eligible, young males must do a year long military service where you receive the mandatory amount of getting yelled at, push - ups, and target practice in order to become a real man. Fortunately for the Food Bank these guys are also available to do some useful community service in the form of door knocking and collecting non-perishables from the locals cupboards for the food bank.

It was a pretty amazing haul. The food bank was completely full of sacks of rice, beans, tinned food, and other stuff. I believe it was a pretty successful campaign.

In other news I got lost driving in the city the other night. It was a bit stressful. I was supposed to be miles away picking up Ale at her mother's place but i took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up going in circles in one of DF's less desirable "hoods". There was crazy Saturday night traffic all over the place and all these street markets folding up for the night with garbage and people spilling out all over onto the confusing streets. Soon friends knew that I was lost and were calling me in the car and telling me to do this or do that which made it more crazy. Luckily, I managed to find a street I recognized and got back to my part of town, but I was really lost for a little while there. It's not always easy to know what part of the city you're in unless you can drive somewhere where you can get a view of things, like up on a freeway ramp or something.

Because much of the city is flat and the buildings tend to be similar heights and designs it can easily be confusing for a spaced out guy like me. I should try to get out more and navigate the city on my own though. I realized that while I've been to many places in DF, I don't really know the city well enough to just venture out unless I have a clear idea where I'm headed and how to get there. DF is not like North American cities that generally have "turnaround" routes. If you drive in the wrong street you could easily be piped miles out of your way before a route to get back to where you left off becomes available and the whole time the traffic rivers will be moving just a little faster than is comfortable and people will be weaving and honking and cops will be blearing out of their loudspeakers to "move on" etc...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Here we go again...

The familiar sight of poor people wading though water. As many know from the news Mexico and Central America have been badly hit by tropical storms and hurricanes. Chiapas and Oaxaca have some bad flooding too. Hundreds of thousands have been effected, roads are blocked, and I think some people have died.

In lieu of the above paragraph, the weather has been cold and stormy in DF with a lot of rain rain rain. Here is a dramatic photo out the living room window of some storm clouds rolling in.
Well as you can see I'm back in the thick of things here in DF. The Distrito seems to be much the same since I left. The next important holiday is El Dia de los Muertos or "Day of the Dead" and some stores seem to already gearing up in anticipation. There is no thanksgiving in Mexico I'm told nor is there any Halloween so i won't bother anticipating the Turkey and scary pumpkin stuff although pumpkin is popular here along with zucchini and squash so I'll be getting my fair share of my deadly nightshades or whatever people are saying about those gourd vegetables now. Wasn't eggplant supposed to kill you or something? oohhh scary vegetables!

This blurry photo was taken out the window of one of our friends who just moved in down the street. Sometimes Napoles has a nice quiet neighborly feel for being right in the thick of things.

Ale had a birthday on the 28th and she and a friend who share close birthdays arranged to have a joint party at a local bar. It was a great night of dancing, singing and general party stuff. She even hired a couple of "band in a box" style performers who put on a pretty good set of Mexican classics to salsa the night away to.

A good time was had by all- and I'm glad to be back.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Way out Here, Way up there...

Well. As I said before I was planning a trip out to Canada and after a few mellow and sunny days in Vancouver,

I now find myself in the Slocan Valley, a community of 600 or so sipping tea in the cold, rainy morning next to a crackling fire in a house surrounded by lush, moist greenery in every direction. If Mexico City has an opposite, it is somthing similar to this. Nevertheless, it's a great opposite at the moment and it's also good to touch base with all my old friends here and see my Ma and Pa. It's colder than I expected for my home town considering it's often sunny and hot right up until the end of September, but then again, I've been away for awhile. The air is so clean and pumped full of sweet nourishing oxygen in Canada I can hardly believe it. I didn't realize how my body'd adjusted to the high altitude and pollution of DF. Vancouver has so much room on the streets it's hard to believe I ever felt crowded there. Now I know why people from other places are always remarking about the neatness and cleanliness of the place.

After DF, I felt like I could eat tuna sashimi off the streets. It's so relaxed and easy to feel relaxed in. But like many things, it's easy to miss what you don't have and then grow to hate it once you've had it for too long. (I just realized that this is a more complicated way of saying, "You don't miss it til it's gone." but who cares? I still expect you to find the observation intelligent and thoughtful.) Anyway, Van Can is crisp and clean and no caffeine - well actually it has lots of coffee drinkers and a much more developed coffeehouse lifestyle than DF. I guess that can only be expected when you're living in a "coffeehouse lifestyle developing nation". Well I did miss it while it was gone but I now I am more familiar with why people flock to Vancouver to get away from some overstuffed megapolis and why some from Vancouver might rush to overstuff themselves somewhere. I noticed that things in Vancouver seem to be much the same. There are still condos going up everywhere and basement suites galore to fill with English language students. I ate affordable Thai, Chinese, and Canadian fusion fare. The drive to the interior was nice.

It rained and fogged but I did ride a short ferry and the whole, big world seemed to stretch on forever. I didn't get to see and greet all the friends I wanted to, but, well, there's always next time.

For those of you in Canadian climes, it looks like winter's already on it's way. I won't miss skipping out on the below 0 temps but i do feel nostalgic about the cold at times. Don't forget to repair your roof, flash your nationality, and keep a thermometer handy for judging weather, latte temperature, and possible flues. Hope to see all whom I didn't get chance to next time around.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Chiles calientes, Friends calientes tambien!

This is a Mexican specialty dish called, "chiles en nogada" and it's unique, beautiful, and super delish. It's basically a stuffed green chile covered in a special sauce made with seasonal nuts and other goodies, and topped with pomegranate seeds. Mmm - mm. I had this dish along with other adventures in a small town outside of DF called Tepostlan. It's a beautiful, small town nestled in a valley surrounded by some amazing rock formations. I believe I have mentioned this place in an earlier post, but it's a great place to go for a weekend adventure. Had the use of someone's house for a day so we had a fun get-together there for a night. The main attraction of this place was the high roof terrace where you could get a 360 degree of all the beautiful, surrounding mountains while sipping a cuba libra or a glass of beer. It did pour rain on us for most of the night though, but you work with what you have.

This shot shows the main cathedral with the mountains in the background and here are a few more i took from the terrace.

On another note, I'll be returning to Vancouver in a week or so to sort out some of my stuff there and visit with some friends. I expect it to be weird for me as I haven't been back for awhile and now I no longer have a place there. Picking up and dealing with some of my junk will kind of signal a detachment from the place for me, but maybe I'm over-dramatizing. Cardboard boxes full of junk strewn about the planet are one of the many signs of having lived for 34 years - soon to be 35! I look forward to dealing with it though as it is also an opportunity to catch up with my family and friends. Mexico City is much the same as the last post at the current time, but it seems to have warmed up a bit and I'm told this is because while the hurricanes are spiraling out there in the gulf Mexico City is always colder and rainier than usual so at last I understand.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Now settled in new server to serve you.

OK. I'm back in the blogging biz once more. My friend Adad who hosts my blog was helping me move my files and configure my account so's I could post from another server. Now it's all ironed out and I can post easier. To those who forsook me, please accept my apologies and welcome to the new and improved blog. I hope you continue to check regularly for updates. Uh, that said. There isn't much to tell but here are some more pics.

Dentistry, as in other places, is big here in Mexico. Mexicans are apparently the highest per capita consumers of Coke and like to eat sweets too. This pictogram is a perfect way to say, "not only am I a dentist, but you are going to enjoy the experience!"

This is an interesting building in the Chopo area of town. It's the Chopo Museo and it's basically a huge art gallery which shows contemporary works and is part of the UNAM University. I've only had a peek inside but it's a neat building having been fashioned from an old steel factory from the 20's or something. I've been trying to get my visual arts friends to jockey shows here as they could come visit.

I ride the metro to teach a class early in the morning and here's a picture took as the sun was coming up over one of Df's less glamorous neighborhoods. I know it's small but maybe you can make out the mountains in the distance.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Emily has been slamming all night long!

Hurricane Emily is "rocking" or "slamming" the Yucutan coast. I guess it's usually earthquakes that "rock" and hurricanes that "slam". I think only a few people have been killed, but the news knows more. But on the brighter side, things are relatively nice and uneventful here right now. The sun is out and it seems a little less rainy than it has been of late. I went out on the weekend to a friend's birthday party and my friend Steve made an impromptu appearance in town last week. We got a chance to hang out for one night though so it was nice to get an update of events in VanLand and see someone from the Old Country.

I saw a dog get crunched in traffic the other day. That wasn't so nice, but it seems to happen a lot here. As most know, Mexico is famous for it's populations of wild street dogs, so it's pretty common to see them wandering around or decidedly not wandering around in a gutter somewhere. Kinda sad though, but Mexico has bigger fish to fry than worry too much about animal rights. Nevertheless it hasn't stopped many from mentioning to me the sort of recent Canadian reputation here as seal-clubbing blackhearts. I guess the seal kill in northern Quebec or wherever had gotten quite a bit of publicity here. I blame a propensity for newspeople to dig up the dirt on places that are supposedly "perfect". "you think Norway's paradise? Well you should know they want to fry up Free Willy's loins and eat them with onions!" Nonetheless I didn't show anyone my monogrammed, government approved seal club for fear it would provoke an argument. Sometimes I scan around in the Canadian press to see what's up and cool etc... I noticed that spoken word will be at the folk festival this year. It seems like the folk fest has been getting more and more incongruent as time moves on. Now they have Punk Rock, World Beat, and spoken word? I thought Folk Music was about smiling guys with beards and mandolins and stuff. How will Jericho beach accommodate all those genres? The thought of someone spouting pissed-off diatribes about society framed by the Jericho beach sailboat sunshine, the gleaming green towers of the west end, and the majestic Cascade mountains makes me laugh a little actually. But maybe that's the point. Maybe that will be the theme. It reminds me of the time I spotted this uber-goth character clad in black vinyl and lace with a walkman on, clawing the air with one hand and screaming about gorgons and witches and stuff meanwhile, it's a beautiful east end spring day with the cherry blossoms in full bloom all along the street, kids playing, sprinklers etc... It's not always easy being a Dark Waver. Anyway, blah blah blah. I should go. I hope you've enjoyed the diatribe.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sunday Market & Scanners in the casa

There is a large market in the neighborhood on Sundays where you can get just about anything- even a haircut. I'm not sure what the quality of the cuts is like, but this guy seemed to have all the fixins' of any salon. We went for tortas and quesadillas, but I did not get a haircut.

A friend brought over a video projector and we watched the film, "scanners" with some friends. Not a bad film actually and it's Canadian too. Only one head explodes though. I thought there were going to be more exploding heads but the interesting part is that the guy whose head explodes I believe is the same actor who saw things in "Seeing Things" another Canadian show I sometimes watched as a child. The ending was pretty good, although dated. The best part is how much seeing a movie on a projector and with friends is like going to the real movies. I wish I had one all the time.

Friday, July 01, 2005

I want a Helicopter! Helicopters for everyone!

Hi everybody. guess what these are-

No it's not some guantanamoesque prison camp, it's government housing Mexico City style as seen from the air. Aerial photos are cool and aerial photos of Mexico City are even better. I was googling around (yes, I am ashamed to use the word "googling" but I guess that's what I was doing.) for material for my blog having no good stuff to show and I happened on this amazing photo .mac page. Some dude with tons of spare gas money or a job in a helicopter took some great shots of Mexico city. The photos are particularly interesting to me because it's hard to get a good look over the city as it's mostly flat and so huge. Some crazy sites to see though. These photos have been scaled down quite a bit, but if you go to his page;
you will see the photos more clearly and some other great ones too.

This is over the Central De Abasto in the east part of the city which is where Ale used to work. It's one of the biggest markets in the world and it is the central market for wholesalers in Mexico DF. All the food, and many other things are schlepped here starting at 3 in the morning. I'm told it's a pretty amazing place. Those long things are trailer trucks and the wear-houses go on forever.

This is the bull ring and the soccer stadium near our place. On weekends people park on our sidewalks and in the middle of the street to see bulls, or possibly, matadors, get killed and Cruz Azul score a few. I like all the excitement, but sometimes there are drunken goons.

This is also near our place. Looking north up Insurgentes past the WTC on a particularly clear day.

Typical Mexico City sprawl. It's easy to get lost in these kinds of Neighborhoods. I'm not even sure where this is. Many of these kinds of neighborhoods were built by the people who live there I'm told. The story goes thus: You move from the country with almost nothing to find fame and fortune, or maybe just a job in the big city. You can't afford rent or land so you start about building your own little home from grey concrete and other cheap, simple stuff. Meanwhile millions of others around you are doing the same thing. Eventually the city grows, fills in the gaps and hooks the neighborhood up to the grid, sort of and voila! Mexico City just got bigger.

These are the famous Pirata taxis. Most of them are VW Beetles and almost all are green and white. I'm not sure why they are called Pirate Taxis. I guess because they are unregulated and a few are unscrupulous and evil even. Just like Pirates. All I know is that I had no probs paying 5 bucks to go ten blocks in Canada and that'll get you halfway across the city with these guys so whose robbing whom? Of course you're not going to be pulling any zingers like that out of your mouth when your moneyless and shoeless in the factory district. Well, like most visitors I avoid them when I can, but sometimes you have to use them and there's usually one around on most major streets. Luckily, I haven't had any bad experiences yet. (knock knock) If I had my choice I'm sure, just like heads of state will tell you along with uber-rich oil execs, armed helicopter is the only way to go.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

cold, cars, and parties

It's been fairly cold here over the past few weeks. Where's all the heat? I'm surprised. I thought the city would be sweltering in June, but it's mild and rainy here. I guess people weren't kidding when they told me this was the rainy season. Mexico City has a wealth of things to do, but when it's cold and rainy, often you just want to stay inside like anywhere I guess. Not a lot different and new is happening right now. Uh, there's an election here next year and people are getting pretty anxious about it. The "old guard" party known as PRI who were taking care of business for nearly 70 years without change until the PAN party and El Presidente Fox was sworn in took power 4 years ago. Now it's time to vote again in 2006 and people are worried there is going to be a reactionary swing back to the more conservative and historically controversial PRI party who would love to sit in the drivers seat again. There is also another party, the more left leaning PRD who are getting more and more popular. Anyway, the billboards and the television have started to swell with those tacky political ad's designed to appeal to everyone's knee-jerk reflex. Families eating dinner and talking earnestly about taxes, health care, jobs, schools, etc...

The other night we were on our way to a fiesta and the car we were driving in began to stink and smoke. We pulled over in a gas station and investigated. Something electrically wrong was going on in the trunk. Some kind of electrical problems. It passed though and the car seemed to work fine afterward. Like I said I can't really think of anything else to say, but I had these photos. It can be pretty dangerous to get stuck in some places in Mexico City so it's always best to check out any car problems you might have on the road before you have to pull over in an unknown area far from a gas station. Of course that didn't stop this car from stranding me and Ale in the middle of nowheresville DF when we were supposed to be receiving my friends at the Airport.

We were actually on the way to this party which turned out to be pretty good. One thing I've noticed about the circles I've been moving in is that there are often organized parties where you pay an initial entrance fee and then you get the use of a host bar. Often it's a pretty good deal. This one was exceptional in that you also got to help yourself to the booze. Needless to say the alcohol was already in danger of running out when we arrived, but it was fun and the music was good. Well, til next time-