Thursday, March 08, 2007

i walk the line

Mexico City is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mindboggingly big it is. I mean you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to Mexico City.

Ok.. Mexico City is big, but thanks to it being wedged between a few mountains, it doesn’t feel as infinite as Tokyo or Shanghai. The smog also keeps things in check, becasue once you get up high enough to get an overview of the city, the chances of seeing any further than about 10km is pretty slim. I’m really loving it though, but it’s weird not having my camera to record stuff. There is so much to see and do here, and the people I’ve been staying with have been awesome. I continually find myself staying with females with this couchsurfing thing, but I assure you, I am asking an equal number of guys as I am girls. Girls just seem to reply more often. Must be my charming photo on my profile.

The first day in Mexico City was a blur.

Having caught the plane from Havana at 6am (with a 3am checking and an 11pm mugging beforehand), I made my way to the Australian Embassy to fix up the lost passport issue with only a 20 minute nap on the plane powering me through. I had some help from a British guy and his Austrian girlfriend who had caught the same flight as me. They had a map of where I wanted to go and about 8 times more brain power than I was able to muster, so I followed them into the centre of town assuming the embassy was there. Sure enough, it was in a satellite centre about 6 metro stops and a transfer from where I thought it was. We swapped email addresses and I floated my way to the embassy through the city’s vast metro network. I arrived at the station, got out my compass and headed west. I heard that life was peaceful there. I trudged through a few food markets, walked across a rather nice park and briefly shared directions with a really attractive Mexican girl. I fall in love really easily.

The guys at the Embassy noted that I looked a little strung out and took pity on my updated situation. “So let’s get this straight, you lost your passport 2 weeks ago and were mugged last night? Right. Cuba wasn’t so good on you then?”. I assured them that I had been travelling for almost a year with no issues and that Cuba seemed to be where my number was up. While waiting for the paperwork to be processed, I found my way to a Starbucks for coffee and internet. Oh my. What a difference a day makes. 24 hours earlier I had drank an espresso (one of three things on the menu), in a central Havana restaurant where the phrase “you want flies with that?” wouldn’t have seemed out of the ordinary. Now I was in Chai Latte with skim soy milk land, where 5 types of chocolate cookies are for sale and the girl behind the counter smiles as she gives me my change (correct). I called my sister. I tried to call my mum. I sent some emails. I read lots of news. It’s weird to describe the most polluted city in the world as a place that feels like a breath of fresh air. I’m totally convinced now that communism doesn’t work and never will. Self interest, nepotism and greed will always be its downfall, where as these things drive capitalism. Sure, some people miss out, but they should stop being homeless, disabled and dumb and stuff. Unless we have robots and computers organising society and telling us what to do, communism will never work. And I don’t care what Red Evan says, even if he does agree to watch the Matrix with me.

I returned to the Australian embassy and found myself waiting a little bit longer. I flicked through their copies of The Australian and cringed at the tourism video playing in the corner featuring our fearless leader spurting off some bullshit about how Australia celebrates its multicultural way of life. Just as long as you don’t look too foreign. I tune out and amuse myself by making an impromptu “DUNNY” sign for the toilets. Got to make fellow Aussies feel at home when they go to lay some cable. Paper work gets sorted, I need to return in a couple of days to pick up my Emergency Passport and I go hunt down some food. I then call Violeta and organise where to meet up with her. Other side of town. Great.

I arrive at the Metro station and walk out into the middle of a pirate dvd and taco circus. Fuck. I’m so not ready for this. Ducking in and out of first person and recollective tenses, I find my way to a clear bit of footpath and look for the Telmex sign Violeta said would be the first thing I see as I left the station. Nope. Not there. Two girls, one with curly blonde hair and another with straight dark hair approach me. “Hi. How are you?” I assume this is Violeta and her friend and ask “how did you know it was me?”. “umm.. We didn’t”. It wasn’t them. I ask a few people where the Telmex place is and the point across a road which is 4 lanes wide in each direction with a 100 metre strip of grass and trees between. Sort of like a big version of Port Road back in Adelaide, but with the chaos of 1,000 Japanese butterflies fluttering their wings. Someone is waving to me. Yep.. There is certainly someone waving at me. Ha.. So that’s what a Mexican Wave looks like. I get back to Violeta’s place. Conversation consists mostly of me recollecting the previous night’s events and me expressing my interest in showering and passing out somewhere dark and quite.

Today I head to Coyoacán. I went there last week with French Sarah for some funny looking interpretive dance and yucky tasting drink. I was stopped in the street by a bunch of men dressed like mosquitoes, who then interviewed me in Spanish. I think I minced my words and said "penis" rather than "I'm having a lovely day, thanks for asking". This got a laugh and was considered ridiculous from a bunch of guys standing around in full body lycra suits, with tea strainers for eyes. There was a camera involved and according to the people I'm staying with, the likelihood of me popping up on some random Mexican cable channel is quite high. Frida Kahlo's place is out that way, so is Trotsky's. There are also some cool clothing stores where I'm hoping to refresh my wardrobe.

PS - is this not one of the best festival line ups you've ever seen?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i usually read your jokes and cringe and shake my head, but that mexican wave line was so good. Made me giggle all morning. Sorry about your camera mate.
Say gday to andy and laurie!